Think of the quintessentially English/colonial sport of cricket and musical theater isn't immediately what comes to mind; it's more usually associated with gleaming white outfits, pavilion teas and immaculately mown grass.
But the first new ad for next year's Cricket World Cup puts former England cricket captain Freddie Flintoff center stage in a scene from a musical that celebrates the "carnival" atmosphere of the tournament and aims to engage new fans.
"The Full Monty" director Peter Cattaneo of Academy helms the film for sports creative agency Matta and injects it with his trademark joie de vivre. Flintoff is clearly having a fantastic time as he leads a chorus of Imagine Dragons' "On Top of the World," while marching through south London (including multicultural neighborhoods such as Brixton Market) to the famed Oval cricket ground. It's feelgood stuff, and if you're a fan of cricket and cheesy musicals, you'll probably love it.
As well as celebrity cameos (DJ Greg James, cricket player such as Charlotte Edwards, Phil Tufnell, Kumar Sangakkara, and influencers) the film also features as professional dancers and over 100 real cricket fans from the official fan clubs of all 10 competing nations. Cattaneo says in a statement that he was adamant that "to capture a genuine enthusiasm for the game, the fans had to be authentic in order to create a real global celebration."
Matt Campbell, executive creative director at Matta, adds: "The challenge in the brief was to sell cricket as more than just the game on the field. It's the whole colorful experience, the national costumes, fancy dress, musical instruments in the crowd and the infectious passion, particularly of South Asian supporters, that create a unique atmosphere and experience that British sport's fans will love."
Adrian Wells, marketing director of the Cricket World Cup, adds: "Seeing Freddie sing and dance is not what you would expect from cricket, and that's the point--we hope to show cricket in a new light and engage new fans."