Goal of the Project
Diageo owns over 200 brands and operates in over 180 countries. The business has been working to accelerate gender equality in both its content and creative teams. This includes rolling out a comprehensive progressive gender advertising framework to its 1200 marketers and agencies around the world, co-authoring the Unstereotype Alliance industry wide playbook for gender portrayal in advertising and sponsoring the Creative Equals Creative Comeback scheme to support women returning to the creative industries in the UK, US and India.
In India, research by Kantar and Diageo in 2019 into the top 150 Indian adverts across sectors found that 29% showed outdated gender stereotypes or needed improvement in terms of gender portrayal. Diageo’s Royal Challenge whisky brand is also strongly associated to the Royal Challenge Bangalore cricket team, who play in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Cricket is the most-watched sport in India and Diageo set out to leverage Royal Challenge to challenge gender-based stereotypes in cricket and spotlight gender equality in India both on and off the field.
Diageo produced a short film asking India’s millions of cricket fans a crucial question: given the enormous talent of India’s women cricketers, why shouldn’t they play in the same top sides as men? The campaign called #ChallengeAccepted shows India’s leading women cricketers and captain of the India’s men’s team demanding change and calling on people to support the first ever mixed-gender T20 cricket match by voting on its website.
In the film, Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy from the Indian women cricket team and Virat Kohli come together to say that ‘A day is coming where the world needs to become equal’ and urges fans to accept the challenge to break the barriers in their mind and to see men and women’s cricket as one game and team which is not divided by gender. The campaign aims to challenge beliefs in India that women and men’s cricket are not on par because of a perception that women are not as strong, as fast, or as fit as their male counterparts who rally bigger crowds and fanfare.
Voicing his support for the campaign, Virat Kohli says “Be it men or women, cricket is one game and I want to urge the fans to break the boundaries that exist in their mind that divides the sport by gender. Equality in sports is ultimately a reflection of equality in life and if we want a better tomorrow then we need to say #ChallengeAccepted and start breaking down all stereotypes.”
Talking about the campaign, Julie Bramham, Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo India, says, “Cricket has historically been considered a man’s game, but there is amazing action happening today in Women’s cricket which doesn’t get the same spotlight. Through the #ChallengeAccepted campaign we wanted to challenge gender stereotypes in cricket as we believed that the game is being divided by gender and not skills and prowess. The campaign caused lot of conversations in culture with support pouring in from the cricketing community across the globe and we believe we helped nudge the fans of the game to have a more balanced view of women’s cricket.”
The campaign got a fantastic response. There was a 300% increase in engagement in the brand’s social media channels in the first four weeks of the campaign, over half a million votes in favour of holding the a mixed-gender T20 match and nearly 4.5 million views on YouTube.