Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back to the drawing board for “Cricket United” ?


This was the scene at “The Oval” on the Friday of the “Ashes Test” when spectators were asked by “Cricket United” – an alliance of Britain’s three largest cricket charities – to wear a blue shirt for the day. As you can see there were quite a few of us who did this and some can be spotted in the crowd. But many either ignored the message or were unaware of it. And the choice of the rather boring and non-particular colour blue didn't help either. I saw every shade of blue from very light to Navy and that is why there was absolutely no huge splash of blue that the organisers were looking for. The photo above is very typical of the ground as a whole.
“Cricket United” said that they were “inspired by The McGrath Foundation” who have had “Pink days” at international matches in Australia to promote the McGrath breast cancer charity. The initiative at The Oval could not be seen in the same light as the McGrath Foundation’s initiative for a number of reasons which should give the organisers food for thought.

1. The Choice of Blue
As I say above blue is an unspecific and rather generic colour. Most of us wear blue as a matter of course from time to time. Unlike Pink it’s no big deal. This is so much the case that if you showed the above photograph to somebody and asked them what was unusual about it nobody not “in the know” would spot the Blue shirts. Not because there aren't quite a lot of them, there are if you look closely, but because they are so unremarkable and so diversely blue.

2. The Focus of the appeal
The Brand here is “Cricket United” a made up name to bring three separate charities together for fund raising (They are “The Lord’s Taverners”, “Chance to Shine” and the “PCA Benevolent Fund”). These are indisputably good causes but there is a very unspecific focus to the appeal. I asked around at The Oval and even many of the Blue Shirt wearers were not quite sure what charity they were supporting or what they did! Compare that with the unequivocal focus of the McGrath Foundation. Every single wearer of a pink shirt in Sydney would have know without a shadow of doubt what they were supporting.

3. Learn for the “Broad Appeal”
At Trent Bridge earlier in the summer the charity run by Chris and Stuart Broad and their family, the “Broad Appeal”, had a fund raising day for Motor Neurone Disease – the illness that killed Chris’s wife Miche. It achieved its purpose of raising awareness of the disease and raising funds for research. It was a focused initiative with a single beneficiary (like Glenn McGrath’s charity) and no confusion about what the fund raising was for.

I have to say that I thought “Go Blue for Cricket United” admirable though the idea was was comprehensively botched in execution. There was no “sea of blue” – just sadly deflated expectations. Must try harder.

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