Handset makers have emerged as among the strongest ad spenders in recent months.Brands like Vivo and OPPOare regularly associated with big ticket events as they try to cement their place in the highly competitive but equally lucrative Indian market. According to media reports, the two of them combined are readying a massive Rs. 2,200 crore advertising war chest for this year. According to our estimates, OPPO had spent nearly Rs. 140 crore on advertising last year, which included its association with the International Cricket Council (ICC). It is said that OPPO has committed to pay $34 million (Rs. 2,190 crore) over the next four years to ICC. In an email interview, Will Yang, Brand Director of OPPO India, spoke about the brand's focus on cricket and their plans for India in the coming year.
You have had a very aggressive relationship with cricket. What was the thought process behind this move?
Cricket is the most popular sport in India.It is worshipped and loved by many young consumers which, as a brand, we want to connect and engage with. Our association with cricket, be it through ICC or BCCI, helps us connect with the youth and offer experiences that go beyond the product experience.
We as a brand feel proud to have partnered with the Indian cricket team and many celebrities with whom we share the enthusiasm and the spirit of pursuit of perfection. Since most people in India are inclined towards cricket, associating with cricket as a platform is a wonderful OPPOrtunity to connect with our audiences.
Apart from cricket, which other sports will OPPO be targeting? And could you help us understand the strategy behind your sports marketing activities?
In terms of marketing and branding, we have always focused on strengthening our focus on youth through entertainment and sports marketing. Our sports marketing strategy is in line with our aim to deliver a unique 360-degree experience across platforms. We want to be present at all touch points that our target audience may be present in or engaging with. Thus, our current approach of joining hands with the Indian cricket team will enable us to capture mindshare with a property that is followed and consumed by millions across the nation.
VIVO has already taken up title rights for Pro Kabaddi League on the heels of the IPL. What kind of competition does this create for OPPO? Also, is associating with non-cricketing events something thatOPPO will follow in the future?
Besides the partnership with ICC and BCCI, OPPO has also become the official partner of FC Barcelona since 2015. However, our strategy is "Simple and Focused". While other non-cricketing properties like kabaddi, hockey etc. have no doubt done well for the broadcaster as well as sponsors, we are looking at being committed towards the game of cricket in India for the time being.
Can you give us an idea of the kind of marketing budget that OPPO intends to spend on India and how much of this will be through sports marketing?
Sports marketing is a big part of our strategy here in India. While we cannot comment on actual numbers, a great percentage or a double digit percentage of our marketing budget is being allocated to sports marketing.
How do you plan to leverage your association with the Indian Cricket team in the future and especially with the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy? Can you give us an idea of the marketing budget for the ICC Champions Trophy?
We are looking at all avenues that open us to the world of cricket fans. We will run marketing campaigns that are experiential in nature and help the audience experience cricket up close and personal along with the OPPO technology. For Champions Trophy, we are going big on digital platforms with our campaign called “Cheer Team India with Selfie Expert.” We have also launched a special limited edition of the OPPO F3 in Black to commemorate the commencement of the ICC Champions Trophy. The OPPO F3 BCCI limited edition was auctioned one day before the India vs. Pakistan match on Sunday, June 4. This limited edition smartphone will have the BCCI logo and is signed by Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Ashwin Ravi.
With a market share of 10.6% by revenue, what is the business objective for OPPOand apart from sports marketing, what other marketing/branding initiatives are being undertaken?
According to the GFK report, we’ve got a market share of 12.8 in February, 2017. In Indian offline market and IDC report of the first quarter of 2017, OPPO made it to the top five list with 8.6% share amongst the other brands which are dominating the market.
We, at OPPO, aim at giving our best with our “Simple and Focused” strategy. For OPPO, product has all the priority and we believe that “product itself is the best marketing”. We don’t have a certain number of business objectives but we believe that with the high-quality products that really cater to consumers’ demand, success follows naturally. The Selfie Expert series is an exampleof this.
In terms of associations and initiatives, we have further invested on the entertainment side of the Indian consumer’s life. Our association with movies like Baahubali, Sultan, etc. has helped us cement our brand recall with the audiences. While in the television space we have recently finished our tie-up with The Rising Star show on Colors, which made it possible for a young achiever to live his dreams and prove his mettle in the industry. We echo the same thought of proving the mettle with the kind of products we make, as we say “product itself is the best marketing”.
How much of a boost has your association with cricket given the brand and what are the reasons behind this?
Through associations with ICC and BCCI, we have managed to generate love for the brand.
We have received immense response across all our campaigns. Take into account the first trial, when we entered the India market. The 360-degree “Cheer for India” marketing campaign during the ICC T20 World Cup brought cricket fans closer to all the excitement and action on ground and offered them a chance to witness the matches live. In this process, the brand could connect with several potential consumers and give them a chance to experience OPPO’s camera technology.