Season 9 of the IPL has seen a muted response from brands, in terms of outdoor activities said the heads of outdoor agencies and media owners that we spoke with.
Mandeep Malhotra, Co-Founder of The Social Street, says spends (on outdoor) might have gone down by as much as 50 per cent this year as compared to last year. Sanjeev Gupta, MD of Global Advertisers, puts the number even higher, at 60 per cent. Even Noomi Mehta, Founder and MD of Selvel, agreed that very little activity has been seen by brands around the IPL, even though outdoor advertising, otherwise, has increased.
However, though brands might have reduced their spends on OOH, the BCCI has increased its outdoor budget for this year. According to sources, the BCCI has spent around Rs 5 crore on a massive 40 city campaign for the duration of the tournament.
“This year we are witnessing a decline in the interest for IPL from audience and brands. It may be because we have recently been through the 2016 World Cup. At Global Advertisers, we had promoted IPL campaigns on large hoardings till last year, but this year, we haven’t seen much presence of IPL on any medium. IPL has given great opportunities to us since 2008; popular brands like Pepsi, Vodafone, DLF, Diakin, Kingfisher, Set Max and Idea had promoted their brand association with IPL on hoardings around Mumbai and mini metros in past seasons,” said Gupta.
The packed cricket schedule might have led to advertiser fatigue and could be one reason but Malhotra also points out that another reason might be the kind of sponsors who have come on board this year. "The new, first-time sponsors do not want to make media spends. Sports is not something where you can just sponsor a logo on the kit and leave it. You have to do fan engagement, on-ground activities, etc.," he said.
However, Atul Shrivastava, COO at Laqshya Media, agreed with Mehta's assessment that OOH spending has increased though he admitted that it is difficult to "correlate them (OOH Spends) with IPL. "In the previous years, spends on other mediums including OOH used to come down. But this year it is normal and better. So we can say that activities on OOH have also increased (compared to last year). In terms of percentage, there is a growth of 8-10 per cent (approx) in OOH spends compared to last year around this season.
The fact that TV ads are highly expensive but the most sought after could also have contributed to lesser budgets for outdoor and other mediums. Mehta agreed that TV is the main medium when it comes to the IPL. "If you see, anyway the amount of activity being done in the home cities and stadiums has decreased over the years. Brands would rather just go for team sponsorships," he said.
The importance of TV, where a 10 second ad spot is going for around 5.5-7 lakh, according to sources, is highlighted by the example of Housing.com, which has launched its first ever TVC campaign during the IPL. Last year, the company had preferred to take the digital route but this year, the company has decided that TV will be its main focus area for advertising. When asked whether the company has any plans to utilize other mediums, Nikhil Rungta, CMO at Housing.com said, "For now, we have only taken space on TV and will be supporting it through digital properties. There are no plans for using other mediums or Hotstar, etc. right now. The main focus this year will be TV."
On the other hand, H&R Johnson, which is one of the sponsors of the Gujarat Lions, will be taking mainly the digital route, through promotions and contests. However, Joydeep Mukherjee, Executive Director & CEO of H&R Johnson, said that there would some OOH campaigns that will be carried out in "few" towns.