If you watched the thrilling Test and ODI series between the England and New Zealand cricket teams, you will have noticed the Hardys Wine idents. Sponsors since 2014, the brand were announced as the Official Wine of England Cricket in a three-year deal.
And, unless you’re a complete philistine, you will know that 2015 is an Ashes year; the 69th to be precise. This is the most famous Test series in cricket, where England face off against their old enemy Australia. The connection to Hardys Wine? The fact that the brand is Australian.
To celebrate this deal and 2015 as an Ashes year, the brand has launched a campaign depicting how wrong it will seem to the Hardys team when they find out they’re sponsoring the Three Lions. The campaign, by McCann, explores this through humour and even includes star England bowler Stuart Broad:
This tongue-in-cheek tactic in the advertising works well, with the brand poking fun at it’s heritage and the potential sentiment shared by its workforce in what they might consider to be a sacrilegious-like sponsorship agreement. Humour can be a tricky tactic to use in marketing, particularly if it isn’t embedded as a core brand value from the outset. Wine in general lends itself to sophistication in advertising rather than humour, but on this occasion it’s great to see Hardys Wine adopt a different approach. You can view more of these adverts and idents on the Hardys Wine UK YouTube Channel.
Focusing on the commercial angle for a moment, the deal itself of course isn’t such a shock. Hardys was the largest wine brand in the UK in 2014 and the seventh largest alcohol brand overall, so partnering with a brand as strong as the ECB was a smart move. It’s unclear how much the deal is worth, but it gives Hardys presence at all of England’s Test, ODI and Twenty20 matches, as well as significant digital presence. Reinforcing this agreement with an amusing campaign entertains the TV viewer, particularly during the advert breaks (and there are many in cricket), and encourages a stronger connection to the brand.
However when you consider one crucial fact about the founder of the brand, perhaps there’s no need to play up this rivalry?
Thomas Hardy was English.