Sujatha V Kumar, Head of Marketing, India and South Asia, Visa, talks about their ‘A Million Cheers’ campaign for Tokyo Olympics 2020
For the recently launched ‘A Million Cheers’ campaign, we wanted to reach people across the length and breadth of the country, and encourage them to support PV Sindhu,” says Sujatha V Kumar, Head of Marketing, India, and South Asia, Visa. Therefore, Visa India went heavy on television advertising, with the target to promote the campaign across 70+ television channels and reach over 700 million people in 60 days through a high visibility media activity. “Apart from television, we leveraged YouTube and leading OTT platforms to reach our audiences. Digital media and social media activations also played a major role in driving the campaign, with leading influencers from sports and Bollywood driving the ‘Tap the Shuttle’ challenge,” shares Kumar.
After winning a bronze medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020, ace shuttler PV Sindhu created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win two individual Olympics medals. Though Sindhu endorses an array of brands like Bank of Baroda, Bridgestone India, PepsiCo’s Gatorade, she became the first Indian athlete to become a part of the ‘Team Visa’ family when she joined them in 2019.
Kumar elaborates, “We see sports as a uniting factor across the world. In India, our association with the Olympic Games got a significant fillip in 2019. Ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we signed on our first-ever Team Visa athlete from India, PV Sindhu, and created a well-rounded campaign around her participation in the Olympics, engaging consumers on social media and helping cheer for her as well.”
She goes on to add, “This unique edition of Tokyo Olympics 2020 saw the largest and most diverse athlete roster for Team Visa with 102 athletes from 54 countries. In the absence of spectators at the games, we wanted to support PV Sindhu in her endeavour and decided to get a million cheers for her, paving the way for ‘A Million Cheers’ campaign.”
The campaign has received an overwhelming response from fans and crossed the million mark within eight days of the launch. “What started as a project to curate 1 million cheers, now stands at over 5 million cheers from fans who earnestly wanted to cheer their favourite sportsperson at the Games in the absence of spectators. On social media, we have been seeing record numbers – in July alone, our total reach on Facebook and Instagram crossed 22 million. Twitter has garnered nearly 62K organic impressions,” shared Kumar.
Visa looked at innovative ways to provide support to Sindhu prior to her leaving for the games. “We looked at ideas around our ‘A Million Cheer’ campaign and centred it around Sindhu, not brand Visa.” The campaign had three different legs- first, the countdown to getting a million cheers; second, the unique challenge started by PV Sindhu herself - the ‘tap the shuttle’ challenge, where she asked people around the country to tap the shuttle for 30 secs and win something special. “Third, we leveraged a roster of renowned personalities-- footballer Sunil Chettri, cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Mohammed Siraj, shooter Gagan Narang, and actress Huma Qureshi – to take forward the challenge that Sindhu had started and garner more reach and engagement,” says Kumar.
Visa usually does a mix of traditional media, social and digital platforms for their campaigns. On an average, Visa looks at a 50-50 split between the two, but it is also subject to what goals of each campaign are - who they want to reach, when, where, and how to reach them. Kumar says that sports has always been an integral part of Visa’s brand and marketing strategy globally.
Visa India’s media strategy has been developed to reach a large Indian audience to drive optimum media efficiency and higher ROI, says Kumar. “We leveraged 45% of total media budgets on live streaming of the Olympic Games 2020 across TV and digital platforms. TV is the primary reach driver for this campaign, accounting for 70% of spends, while OTT and other sport genre sites comprise 30% of media investments,” shares Kumar.
Speaking further on the ROI, Kumar says that despite there being a sea change in the format of the games this year, Visa stayed committed to the spirit of the Olympics. “This edition of the Games, held in rather unique circumstances, does not directly affect our ROI as we do not measure ROI for a particular sport or event. The engagement happens across a much larger platform – prior to the Games, during the Games, as well as after the conclusion of the Games,” she says.
Visa has been a worldwide partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1986 and will continue till 2032.