The Indian Premiere League (IPL) is fast turning out to be the festive season for brands. In spite of several controversies like the betting scandal leading to the ban of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the tournament and Pepsi backing out from the title sponsorship spot, the popularity of the franchise continues to soar.
According to sources, for IPL this year, 10-second TV spots to sponsors are being sold for Rs 5.5 to 7 lakhs and brands are not hesitant about spending the big bucks. In spite of a hike in ad rates, the total ad inventory for the tournament has already been sold out.
Till now we have seen brands like Vivo, Housing.com, LYF and Havmor use the platform to launch their maiden television commercials. There are also few smartphone brands like Gionee and Micromax which are using the IPL platform to reveal their new identity post their rebranding through new TVCs.
Hitesh Gossain, Founder & CEO, Onspon.com says, “The timing of IPL is very appropriate, the advent of early summers has led to buoyancy in consumption categories such as FMCG, air-conditioners,– thereby leading to pre-allocation of marketing budgets, especially for categories such as soft drinks, consumer durables etc. This is also the time for annual bonuses, which allows the brands to go gung-ho because they want to capture the time and make the most of it. Also, the increase in interest from the sponsors can be attributed to the ICC T20 World Cup, thus making the brand continuity easier and effective.”
Maiden TVC launch:
IPL season 9, which kick-started recently, has till now seen brands like Vivo, Housing.com and Havmor launch their maiden television communication.
Vivo, the title sponsor for the event, has assigned a budget of Rs 200 crore to leverage its association with IPL. The brand which entered the Indian market in December 2014 has roped in actor Ranveer Singh as the face of its high voltage campaign. The market share of Vivo in the Indian smartphone market at the moment is 3.1% and the Chinese smart phone brand is looking at an aggressive growth in the coming years.
The Mumbai-based online reality platform Housing.com also launched its first television campaign which coincides with the ongoing IPL 9. The campaign titled ‘Yeh ghar sirf ghar nahi, Yeh ghar meri jaan hai’ highlights that home buying is an emotional journey, and Housing.com is a trusted partner in this journey. Nikhil Rungta, Chief Marketing Officer, Housing.com said, “We have just launched our first ever television ad to strengthen our brand and establish deeper emotional connect with our customers. We are looking at a marketing spend of USD 5-7 million in 2016-17 for advertisements on TV, digital and social media.”
Havmor, the food brand from Ahmedabad has gone national recently with the release of their first ever television commercial with the tag-line ‘Goodness the world deserves’. Two ads ‘RJ’ and ‘12th man’ are one of the first steps that reflect the brand’s ambitious 360 degree plans that also include revamping the brand identity, packaging, retail identity and overall corporate structure among others.
Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Retail’s smart phone brand LYF, which has signed up sponsorship deals with three teams including Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiants and Royal Challengers Bangalore, released its first TVC during IPL. Featuring Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut and players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin, the ad talks about the unique features of the phone and is going viral on social media.
Click here to view the ad:
First TV campaign after Rebranding:
Handset manufacturers like Gionee and Micromax have used this occasion to rebrand themselves and present their new identity through new TVCs during IPL.
Gionee is witnessing an identity change worldwide. As part of this exercise, the brand has unveiled a new logo in India. The brand, which has associated itself with Kolkata Knight Riders as its principal sponsor, saw an opportunity to leverage the team to talk about the logo change, and to launch it during the event. This fiscal year, Gionee plans to spend Rs 150 crore for its marketing campaigns.
Micromax has launched their new campaign ‘Nuts, Guts & Glory’ to talk about their recent rebranding exercise, including a new logo and tagline. Two new TVCs are running across TV networks, with a particular emphasis during IPL broadcasts.
The initial numbers of IPL-9 have been quite encouraging as well. As per the latest BARC ratings, the event opened with a cumulative reach of 218 million viewers in its first week. The opening game between Mumbai Indians & Rising Pune Supergiants rated 24,448 TVTs with a reach of 97 million viewers across India.
How effective is it?
We spoke to brand experts in order to understand, that in spite of being an expensive affair, why do brands still choose to launch high intensity campaigns during this time and how well do these campaign work out for the brands.
Gossain from Onspon.com feels that, “IPL is a great place to launch a brand and not sustain it. The cost of sustenance is so high that unless the base of your brand is big, it doesn’t make much of a sense.”
Saurabh Uboweja, CEO & Chief Brand Strategist, Brands of Desire cited, “IPL can now be safely touted as a big annual festive brand on the busy Indian calendar that attracts attention for a few weeks every year, uniting all major parts of the country through its city franchises and their loyalists. It may just fall short of the wedding season or the Diwali festive season that starts in October and lasts all the way up to January. There was nothing else on the calendar in April, it used to be a rather lame month for brands till the IPL came and showed its capability to trigger consumer attention and sales. Today IPL is truly an Indian national event, partly international and a feast for brands that want to launch anything new, be it a new product, a rebrand or simply a new campaign that triggers sales.”
“But IPL related spends would still be a distance dwarf to the sports events market in the United States where it is estimated that a total of 15 billion U.S. dollars will be spent by consumers in the U.S. on just the Super Bowl related purchases in 2016. Imagine what impact that has on the advertising rates. The Indian consumer market is a decade away from that kinds of spends but maturing fast,” he added.
Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO, Brand-Comm further elaborates, “Brands mostly prefer to get associated with the IPL property because it enjoys a fairly high and uniform viewership all throughout the tournament. It is a big property, has an ideal timing (8PM) which makes it convenient for viewing and also caters to the women audience, who particularly enjoy this cricket format. My doubts however, are coming from the fact that the tournament is coming right on the heels of T20 cricket, which also happened in India. So there was a large set of audience for a similar format. To me, it kind of overkills it, but if the IPL viewership remains high, then it works well for the brands who are investing huge amount of money for their campaigns.”