Television

SPN launches first campaign for FIFA WC 2018 Russia

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MUMBAI: Despite losing several big ticket sporting properties to rivals in India, Sony Pictures Network (SPN) is gung-ho as it gears up to showcase the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. With just about a month left for the action, it has unveiled a new campaign titled ‘Meri Doosri Country’. The campaign was launched in the presence of India’s football icon and former national football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia.

Culture Machine is the brain behind it with a creative team of five members. The production house involved in the making was Radhika Produces Films. The campaign is directed by Jigar Fernandes and produced by Radhika Sawhney.

Telecast will be in four languages: English, Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam. The world feed in English will be on Sony TEN 2 SD & HD channels, the Hindi feed will be aired on Sony TEN 3 SD & HD channels while Bengali and Malayalam feed will be available on Sony ESPN SD channel. Adding to this, a fantastic line-up of renowned international football panellists will hone in on their knowledge and insights to enhance the viewing experience.

SPN India president, sports and distribution Rajesh Kaul said, “Sony Pictures Network has been associated with FIFA, one of the most prestigious sporting bodies in the world, since the last world cup in 2014. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is definitely one the biggest and most exciting sporting events this year, and we are extremely proud to bring it to the football fans across the Indian subcontinent. Our campaign #MeriDoosriCountry, captures the ethos of how Indian football fans root for their favourite country as if it’s their own. With multiple language feeds and unique programming initiatives, we are committed to giving our audience a truly holistic 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia experience.”

As seen from the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, football continues to grow by leaps and bounds in India and is the second most viewed sport in the country after cricket. While football viewership is already high in India, FIFA-led events tend to enjoy an increased viewership due to their enormous popularity. The FIFA World Cup is one of the few sporting events that draws in both fans and fringe-viewers to root for their favourite countries, which temporarily become their ‘Doosri Country’ (second country).

SPN senior VP marketing and OAP Kedar Teny told Indiantelevision.com, “If you look at the data, four markets that obviously consume football are English speaking markets from the North East, South and Goa. Hindi is only to bring in new viewership from Hindi speaking markets (HSM). The sports genre isn’t strong in the HSM, but the campaign is nudging you to be a part of the party.”

"We have been holding the rights for all the premium football tournaments and known as the home of football. The campaign will be on all 31 channels of SPN. The feel and look of the stadium will be done in VR to enhance the viewers' experience," Kaul added.

The #MeriDoosriCountry campaign film has been inspired by countless Indian fans who exhibit their undying passion by adopting their favourite football team once every four years during the World Cup. The film showcases snapshots of fans cheering and flaunting their support for their ‘Doosri Country’ by wearing the team jerseys, waving their team flags and even painting their faces with their team colours.

The master brand campaign highlights the passion and excitement with which Indian fans support their favourite teams at this mega-event. The brand campaign also explains what really happens to the football fans in India when the World Cup kicks in and how we pledge loyalty of another country. The film was shot across the country, especially in football-crazy states like Goa, Kerala and West Bengal.

The campaign will entail a 360-degree approach, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. It will also be spread across TV, digital, print, and radio.

Indian Football team former captain Bhaichung Bhutia said, “The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is one the most awaited tournaments for all of us and I am excited to show my support for the #MeriDoosriCountry campaign. The film gives Indian audience a sense of belonging to one of the most significant sporting events in the world. While I am confident that we will see our football team in the World Cup one day, Meri Doosri country will be Argentina this year.”

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