June 8, 2011

Offbeat

Cricket's new six-legged ambassadors

Liam Brickhill
The England and Wales Cricket Board unveils its new Twenty20 advertising campaign, June 8 2011
ECB unveils unique adverts on live crickets to celebrate this season’s 2011 Friends Life t20 competition  © ECB
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Twenty20 cricket has brought all sorts of wild and whacky novelties into the game, changing the way it is presented, played and marketed, but the most recent innovation by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s PR team could well stump the lot. To promote this year’s Friends Life t20 competition, the ECB has created a unique marketing concept called ‘cricketvertising’ which sees branding transferred directly onto live crickets - of the insect variety.

Miniature artist Aidan Campbell has been commissioned to paint the crickets using water-based transfers, and each of the 18 counties involved in the competition will have their colours painted on a handpicked selection of the game’s smallest six-legged ambassadors.

“I’m used to painting on canvases no bigger than a 1p piece but to brand a cricket was a whole new ball game,” said Campbell. “I had no idea how it was going to work to begin with but it’s been a lot of fun.”

“The Friends Life t20 is a smaller but more exciting game of cricket which is full of energy,” said Sally Brooks, the ECB’s t20 event manager. “We were considering how to get this message across to cricket fans and the humble cricket acts as the perfect metaphorical ambassador.”

“Obviously no crickets were harmed in the making of cricketvertising but I can confirm that they requested we stop for tea and their batting skills weren’t a patch on our boys,” she added.

Following their photoshoot, the logoed crickets were re-released back into the wild outside the stadium of their representative team. The organisers of the stunt hope children and adults will find the brightly-coloured insects – presumably before any birds or insectivorous mammals spot them - and ultimately get behind their county.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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