How Razorfish and Future Group took Kabaddi mainstream

India is a cricket-crazy nation, everybody knows that. Football, too, has a fair share of fan base. But kabaddi? The age-old game, made recently popular under the aegis of Pro-Kabaddi League, needs some young blood around its identity.

It’s an impossible feat to take away cricket as the ‘favourite’ game from Indians. So when it came to popularising kabaddi amongst the masses, Razorfish decided to grow a fresh crop of fan base – children.

The agency went about this by first creating dynamic superhero avatars of all the players in the Bengal Warriors team. Secondly, the agency nicknamed the players with names like ‘Tornado Tomar’, ‘Solid Shakti Shinde’, ‘Bahubali Bajirao’, etc. Thirdly, a website was created, which brought the game to life when a user placed the cursor at certain sections. Fourth was the launch of a film that captured the surprise and delight of four unsuspecting kids who were big fans of the players. And lastly, Razorfish built an innovative game app that got the nation chanting ‘kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi’.

From increasing the overall fan base to creating a furore on social media, Bengal Warriors has come a long way. Over 4,700 app downloads have been seen, besides the website has also seen a 48 per cent increase in traffic. 2.67 lakh views and 2 million impressions have been seen for the branded video content – #ILoveMyWarriors. Moreover, the Facebook page has received 1.78+ lakh Likes.

Agency Speak:

Dinesh Swamy and Bharatesh Salian of Razorfish on the ‘Aamra Dekhiyo Debo’ campaign:

What does ‘Aamra Dekhiyo Debo’ signify?
Bengalis are assertive, but not aggressive. Because, they choose not to be. With ‘Aamra Dekhiyo Debo’, we got the Bengalis and the rest of India charged up with an attitude that matches the pulse of the sport – Kabaddi. By the way, Aamra Dekhiyo Debo means the challenging statement of ‘We will show them!’

What is the insight behind the campaign?
Most of us watch a sport, because we like someone in that sport. You watch cricket because you love Tendulkar. Now that Tendulkar has retired, your enthusiasm in the game could have taken a hit.

We wanted people to connect with the sport and the team. So we created superhero characters based on the Bengal Warriors players, and it turned out to be a super hit with the kids. We even ran contests asking our fans to give them a “Dak Nam” (Nick Name) for the players which was a super success. Star players like Nilesh Shinde became “Solid Shakti Shinde”, Nitin Tomar became “Tornado Tomar” and Jang Kun Lee became “Kung Fu Lee”.

What kind of integrated advertising have you done as part of this campaign?
First, we developed a highly interactive and engaging Kabaddi game app that captured the raw essence of the sport. Then, we had a branded content film that had 4 unsuspecting kids being surprised by the Bengal Warriors players.

To engage with the fans on social medial, we created Live scorecards, twitter contests, and even set up a full-fledged IVR system for people without access to internet.

The entire ecosystem of all the elements was then orbited on an aesthetic and interactive website.

What is the media mix?
We had the right targeting on Mobile and Desktops with a major focus being on Social Media. In a period of one month, we had more than 6,000 downloads of the mobile app with almost 35 per cent of the downloads being organic and more the 2.7 lakh views on our branded film #ILoveMyWarriors. All this was done a shoestring budget of approx Rs 15 lakh.

To target the non Internet users we also had a missed call number using which the fans could send their cheers directly to the team during the matches in Kolkata.

What kind of activities have you lined up during the duration of the Pro-Kabaddi League?
We had enabled live tweeting for all our followers during the match with important updates being posted on Facebook. Our players also started engaging with their fans on Instagram and Periscope which further enhanced the team’s engagement with the fans.

Client Speak

Sandip Tarkas, CEO, (Sports, Media & Special Projects), Future Group, on the association with Kabaddi, the marketing drive and more.

What made you associate with a low-key sport like Kabaddi?
It’s an Indian sport and we wear our Indianness on our sleeves. Plus, it was an opportunity to help an Indian sport achieve its true potential and we were happy to be associated with it.

What potential do you see in it?
It is potentially the second biggest export from India to the world – after Yoga. It’s an amazing sport unlike any other. It is very frugal in terms of its requirements of space, resources and equipment, and it is a restlesssport – once you start watching it, you can’t take your eyes off it.

How is your association with Bengal Warriors panning out?
We are really enjoying the association with the game. We are taking it deeper with activities like an Inter-school tournament – a first in 30 years in the City of Joy!

We are also planning to start a Kabaddi Academy in Kolkata to give back to the sport. A scholarship programme that helps talented children play and take Kabaddi seriously.

How are you creating a brand connect?
With various activities – targeting children (the primary influencers and fans of the game), school contact, mall activations, and inter-school tournaments.

Social media is a huge priority and keeps the fans engaged with the team even during the off-season.

What marketing and promotion activities have you drawn up for this season’s Pro-Kabaddi League?
A media tie-up with The Telegraph and Friends FM.

What was your brief to Razorfish for the ‘Aamra Dekhiyo Debo’ campaign?
Finishing in the bottom half, we had not done too well in the first two seasons. We were confident of a better show in Season 3. The brief was to create a customer engagement platform with Amra Dekhiye Debo as a central thought. Idea was to instil a sense of Bengali pride in the team and to engage them in the various activities of the team and to get them to experience the whole joy of Kabaddi in the stadium.


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