Channel Seven’s new promotional campaign to introduce its on-air cricket team is being belted mercilessly amid calls for it to be sent back to the pavilion.
The campaign ahead of Seven’s $450 million cricket gamble sees former stars Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Michael Slater all staring down the barrel of a camera and offering up the same catchphrase.
“Hold on,” the men repeat one after the other.
Damien Fleming, Simon Katich and Brad Hodge also have a crack at the phrase. Spared the words but included in the clip are commentators Bruce McAvaney, James Brayshaw, Andy Maher and Mel McLaughlin.
the phrasing of this is…… unfortunate pic.twitter.com/JzAc7spXq9
— Tom Lloyd (@tomwLL) November 14, 2018
Designed to showcase Seven’s free-to-air coverage of this summer’s cricket season, the promotion has drawn responses ranging from mirth to disbelief and questions about who came up with and approved the concept.
“Sounds like there were no female eyes in the room,” a network source told The New Daily.
On Thursday afternoon, former Melbourne player David Schwarz and sports commentator Mark Allen were left gobsmacked by the ad when it was played on their Macquarie Sports Radio show.
“What the hell was that? That’s not a real ad, is it?” said Allen.
“No. I am staggered.”
But a second Seven source said the promo was the opposite of a blunder.
“I’d say it’s very clever,” the source told The New Daily.
“They are going for reach and anything you can do to get tongues talking is a good strategy.
“If anyone’s suggesting the promo team didn’t see the innuendo and are using it to create a bit of fun and draw audiences then they’re mad.”
The promo then drew a fast response on Twitter. One user said they hoped the Seven team wouldn’t experience premature pronunciation on the job.
“Disappointed. That ad really needed to finish with Warnie,” said another.
“It’s the most disturbing ad I’ve seen for a while,” said a third.
Channel 7 having Ponting say "Hold on. I’m coming" is probably not their best piece of promotional work.
— Dennis Maxwell (@DennisCricket_) November 16, 2018
In a joint bid with Fox Cricket, Seven grabbed the free-to-air cricket rights from Channel Nine earlier this year.
Their promotional spots were seen as crucial in winning over fans for whom Nine’s Wide World of Sport cricket music had become iconic.
“I’m not trying to stick the boot into Channel Seven, but you would think in 30 years we might have learned,” Schwarz said.
“I’m a little bit flat after that. Now I know Channel Seven will do a great job of their coverage, but far out, that is not great.”
The response to the controversial campaign comes days after Seven West CEO Tim Worner told The West the network’s cricket foray has already boosted its advertising arm with strong financial results forecast for December.
Seven kicks off its cricket coverage on December 6 with the First Test against India.
The network was contacted by The New Daily for comment about how the promotional spot was conceived and who signed off on it. It did not respond.
Two weeks ago, it posted a less unusual promo clip to its Facebook page, heavy on sausages being sizzled and beach cricket.