The first week ratings of the Indian Premier League (IPL) have suggested that the cricket extravaganza is a hit with the audiences. And when content is a hit, advertisers leave no stone unturned in capturing maximum eyeballs for their brand. So what are the brands doing in the latest season of IPL and how successful have they been till now?
The side screen push ins, the bottom screen pop ups, Score update branding, extra shots boundaries branding, screen top branding, etc., are the slots which advertisers are using during the matches apart from between the over advertising. Also, special session sponsorships are used by advertisers.
With ad insertions visible every minute, on screen advertising ensures that the brand message is reaching to the audience at a large scale. While the match is on and with limited time during the overs, the consumer does not switch channels very often. On screen advertising therefore ensures short but effective advertising.
Agrees PM Balakrishna, COO, Allied Media. “IPL is a high reach and high impact platform and brands are doing their best to get to the consumer minds. I think Vodafone, Pepsi and Star plus have been the only brands who are positioning themselves right and are garnering maximum returns from their investments. Vodafone ‘take the match winning ball’ contest, Pepsi title sponsorships and Star Plus’ ‘Nayi Soch’ awards are getting noticed and people talk about them. TV advertising, therefore, is very impactful. With the kind of money involved it has to deliver returns through consumer engagement,” Balakrishna added.
A report by MEC media agency says that the Pepsi – Ranbir Kapoor campaign has got the maximum buzz during the first week of IPL with 62.6 per cent share. It is followed by Vodafone Zoo-Zoo (22.2 per cent), the Godrej campaign featuring Aamir Khan occupies the third slot (4.3 per cent).
With Set Max gaining viable presence during IPL this season Star Plus has associated with IPL by launching Nayi Soch Awards during the match, which is given to a player with innovative thinking while playing. This ensures that viewers are constantly reminded of Star Plus and its theme even if they are hooked on to some other channel.
Vodafone India, which has brought Zoo-Zoos back into action this IPL, is also very confident about its association.
Anuradha Aggarwal, Senior Vice President, Brand Communications & Insights, Vodafone India said, “Keeping faith in the business interest and potential of this property, we were the first ones to renew our association with IPL for next five years. IPL remains one of the biggest sporting platforms in the country designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of consumers on a pan India basis. It has been a fruitful association so far, wherein IPL has delivered very well in terms of efficiency of reach and effectiveness of on ground engagement with our customers. Our experience so far has been that if you do things that are truly innovative and cutting edge during the IPL then the impact multiplier and bang for the buck is unmatchable. No other cricketing platform packages sport, talent, chutzpah and entertainment together on one platform, as successfully as the IPL.”
Aamir Khan starrer Godrej ads have also made their presence felt this season of IPL. “IPL has got a very good positioning pattern. Our products get noticed fast and the reach is wider. Since the broadcast is on the multiple screens it has to be accepted more widely and in the larger sphere. We get what we need from the IPL by advertising on it. We therefore don’t mind spending,” said Shireesh Joshi, Marketing Director, Godrej Consumer Products, which is a big advertiser on IPL this season.
The banking brands with their interest rates flashing on screens are trying to use the platform in effective manner. Anindya Datta, President & Chief Marketing Officer, Yes Bank said, “IPL is the foremost event property in India, which brings together the entire country. We have been taking systematic steps to propel significant visibility and to augment the brand across all medium- TV, Print, Outdoor, Airports, Online, Social Media and below the line activation. There are customized communication campaigns being rolled out, and most importantly significant focus on activations. The judicious mix of on-ground, on-air and on-line visibility helps reach out to our stakeholders.”
He further said, “Property like IPL provides us the perfect opportunity to build relationships through various platforms for our existing businesses as well as targeted branding opportunities across the board. Given the intensity over the two month period, and the reach through in-stadia and TV Broadcast & on-line visibility, its appeal across the geographic and demographic diversity, and its viewership is always an advantage for us.”
Usha Fans launched a video uploading contest alongside branding team CSK. The Company is aiming high in terms of brand presence and visibility through CSK and IPL. Richa Singh, Head - Marketing, Fans and Lightning, Usha International said, “Several consumer engagement initiatives around IPL and CSK are being planned. Usha has launched 360 degree integrated brand campaign “Usha Air Play Challenge” where top 3 winners of the game will get a chance to meet their favourite cricket stars of CSK team and other activities for the CSK fans across the country to build up excitement. Riding on cricket fever, the company has also announced the new age Kitchen Appliances and Decorative Fans. New Brand Promotions and communication on TV is being launched for this to strengthen the brand. Our marketing plans around the 55 day cricket festival will help us build the USHA brand to a new high.”
Sandipan Ghosh, AVP - Marketing, Consumer Brands Division, Ruchi Soya Industries representing Nutrela mentioned, “We are trying to re-launch ourselves in a completely new way and IPL with its wide reach is giving us the ideal platform. We have shortlisted some matches and will be advertising during them. We wish to show the versatility of our brand and therefore we our launching our TVCs during the matches. I think we would be rightly achieving our objective of consumer engagement and bringing soya in the limelight.”
Through games, side bars, special session sponsorship, brands are trying to garner maximum opportunities as possible to unlock their brand equity from IPL.
“For some brands activation is critical. Pepsi is the best brand for this IPL. It has not only engaged itself actively with the platform but has also gone ahead with the consumer engagement. For some brands it is the CSR route which is doing work in cricket like Muthoot Group. But I would say that the capacity utilization has not been optimum. It could have been better. For example a brand on the jersey of Kings XI Punjab does not even ensure its viable presence. I mean it is the leading sponsor, but I don’t even know what it does. Brands not only need to go for branding. They also need to go for customer engagement. At least the quality of RoI should be meaningful, said, Hiren Pandit, Managing Director, Special projects, GroupM.
Pandit mentions an interesting angle. The team accessories are sold at huge prices from Helmets to side protection, to jerseys. “In such branding only those brands must participate who have an objective of branding. If a brand is not known it should refrain from sponsoring team accessories, else it would be waste”, said Ashok Shekhar, independent media analyst.
Since IPL is a multi screen platform, many local advertisers who cannot spend huge money for ad-space are actually using the space at pubs, malls, besides projector screens. Now this audience cannot be measured by TAM. But for one screen data, malls are actually showcasing the match to at least 1,000 audiences. Apart from this the money spend is less as compared to advertisers on TV.
Shekhar adds, “In malls we see food courts showcasing IPL matches. Although on screen advertising is visible there, what is interesting to see is on ground activations. There are hoardings talking about jewellery brands, food chains, retail outlets, etc in the city beside the screen projectors. So not only national players but even local players are using IPL formats to reach to their customers.
Apart from this in stadium advertising showcases leading brands at the boundary boards coupled with presentation screen. Pepsi has specially designed balconies in the shape of Pepsi logo at stadiums. This gives the brand a lot of visibility.
Although the first week has passed and almost two months are left for the season to end, what would be interesting to see is that the brand positioning would remain the same or not and whether the brands which generated initial hype are able to sustain the intensity till the end or not.