Hockey India League beats a league 20 times its size

Deepak Gopalakrishnan

Campaign details

Brand owner: Hockey India
Agency: OgilvyOne Worldwide
Brand: Hockey India League
Country: India

Executive summary

This case study tells how a forgotten sport with a shoestring budget took on a giant with an unlimited budget. This is the story of the launch of the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) on social media and how, through the creation of 'The Social Brand Ambassador', it beat a league 20 times its size to make it the most engaged sports league in the world. If ever there was a David taking on a Goliath…

Market background and business objectives

Cricket's a religion. But hockey?

Due to the miraculous 1983 Cricket World Cup win, the proliferation of high-quality satellite broadcasting, and protagonists who were accorded rock-star status by both fans and brands, cricket had become nothing short of a religion in India. In 2008, cricket had fired a fresh salvo in the form of the Indian Premier League (IPL), capturing mindspace for two months a year with a heady mix of cricket, money and Bollywood.