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#BleedBlue: How Nike's campaign became a part of every cricket fan's vocabulary in India

The campaign was created in 2010 by JWT

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MUMBAI: Nike’s association with popular sports teams has been central to its brand strategy since almost always. It has been associated with some of the top teams and players across continents for various sports, including the Indian cricket team. It signed an association with the ‘men in blue’ in 2005 and extended the deal after the men’s cricket team lifted the World Cup in 2011. They still are one of the prime sponsors of the team and have been investing greatly in the sport.

The campaign that has been at the tip of the tongue of every cricket lover in India has been #BleedBlue.

Launched in the run up to 2011 World Cup, the campaign was created by JWT. It integrated the newly digital-savvy generation and their cricket sentiments with the tournament frenzy and since then never left the pop culture. Be it the world cup or any other tournament, including Champions’ Trophy and T20 World Cup, which India plays, #BleedBlue is the trend that you will find escalating on Twitter and other social media platforms.

During its launch, it was probably one of the few initial interactive digital campaigns as it created digital handprints of the fans through Facebook and Nike’s official website. These digital handprints were used as a symbol of support for the cricket team, who also ended up winning the World Cup after a gap of 28 years. On the site, users were offered interactive product experiences to explore the new Nike Cricket kit in 360-degrees and brush up on their knowledge of Indian cricket history by watching videos.

Then Nike India marketing director Sanjay Gangopadhyay said about the campaign, “There is no better voice to speak to the fervour and love for cricket held by this nation than that of the incredible athletes of team India. ’Bleed Blue Pledge’ is unique because it allows these players to express their passion and commitment to the game in their own words. They are testifying to what they believe in.”

As the team won the world cup, the #BleedBlue sensation became a part of the folklore. The campaign was then carried on for the 2015 World Cup as well and got as much attention as it did the previous time.

This time, the campaign included popular faces like Kapil Dev and Deepika Padukone and also common people to reflect what #BleedBlue means to different people from different walks of life. The campaign was once again a big hit, partly because of the new frenzy and partly because it had never left the cricket fans’ colloquial.

This year, the campaign has not been revived by Nike, but you will see Twitter abuzz with the use of this hashtag during team India matches. #BleedBlue has become synonymous to passion for Indian cricket and the nation’s love for the game.

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