In this day of rapid digitisation and fragmentation of media, technology and consumer attention spans, what does it take for a brand to connect with the hearts and minds of consumers- that too for over a century?

For Coca-Cola, the secret ingredient has always been to be part of peoples’ lives- their moments of joy, laughter, music and celebration. And arguably, no other spectacle ties these poignant moments of human emotions together better than sports. Which is why, Coca-Cola has always associated itself with major sporting extravaganzas around the world. Whether it is the company’s eight decade long association with the Olympics, four decades with FIFA, or a quarter of a century with World Cup Rugby, the brand has been a part of fans’ greatest moments of passion, every step of the way.

For India, cricket is perhaps one of the strongest threads that bind the nation together. The hopes and dreams of millions of fans around the nation are tied to the performances of their favourite teams on the pitch. With such a strong connect to the emotions of consumers, it is little wonder that Coca-Cola is now partnering with the International Cricket Council (ICC). With India being well on its way to becoming the fifth largest market by volume for The Coca-Cola Company globally, the company is looking to drive a deeper engagement with the Indian consumer by offering more exclusive, authentic and in-depth experiences. And through what better means than associating with one the nation’s favourite sports!

Connect with the consumer is also the driving philosophy behind the company’s vision to create ‘Beverages for Life.’ The result has been a massive expansion of the portfolio to include more consumer-centric categories- from sparkling to hydration to ready-to-drink teas and coffees, dairy, juices and many more.

With ICC’s global fan base touching the 1.5 billion mark, and Coca-Cola- with 500+ brands, serving 1.9 billion serves a day, there is opportunity for both century-old organisations to therefore build deeper relationships with today’s cricket fans. For the ICC, the partnership translates into reaching more audiences to expand the sport’s footprint globally, and garnering key insight into these audiences. For Coca-Cola, a company that offers beverages for every occasion and every person, it opens up an opportunity to be a part of consumers’ greatest fan moments - as they enjoy their sport of choice. Further, for cricketers, this means getting best-in-class hydration options, and more opportunities to engage with their fans. A hat trick indeed!

Reinforcing this vision, T. Krishakumar, President, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia said: “Cricket is a global sport and a passion shared by more than a billion people across gender, generations and cultures. In-line with our long history of partnering with major sporting events globally, our strategic partnership with ICC, reinforces our long-standing commitment to refresh sports fans and enhance their entertainment experience.”

As part of the partnership, The Coca-Cola Company and its brands will become the official soft drinks for the ICC over the next five years. It will also be the exclusive beverage partner in the non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink beverages category. Initiated from the India and South West Asia region, the scope of the deal will expand globally for the company. Part of the partnership are key events, such as the ICC World Cup in England & Wales, the T-20 World Cup in Australia in 2020 (men and women), the upcoming U19 World Cup, the ICC Women’s World Cup, and the ICC Cricket World Cup in India in 2023.

This ultimately spells great news for fans, who will have an array of engagement options to choose from, ranging from exclusive behind-the-scenes content to opportunities to engage with their favourite teams and players, and more. Vijay Parsuraman, Vice President- Marketing, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, shared some news which surely knocks it out of the park for fans: “As part of our partnership with ICC to inspire moments of optimism and happiness amongst consumers, we will also offer fans a chance to watch the 2019 ICC World Cup matches live.”

The consumer is where the heart is for The Coca-Cola Company, and this is a way forward in our endeavour to be a part of the hearts of consumers in India and worldwide.

Howzzat!