The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which began this weekend has generated excitement from marketers and fans of the sport. However, outdoor agencies we spoke with said that there has not been much activity done by brands around the event.
“Given the present market sentiments coupled with the game of Kabaddi not still in the big league as yet ( when compared to say cricket or tennis etc), I have personally not seen much traction amongst brands to really latch on to the event in terms of advertising interest,” said Kaushik Chakravorty, Co-founder and Director of Street Talk.
However, he did agree that PKL would become a hot property in a couple of years due to the intense interest in the game by enthusiasts. “Brands that are eyeing or are already in the business of attracting and retaining brand connect with consumers in Bharat (as opposed to India) would do well to start building their association while PKL as an event and advertising property is still relatively new and thus may be the pricing and inventory is still affordable and worth investing in,” he added.
The head of another pan-India outdoor agency also agreed that there has been no activity seen by brands around the PKL. When asked whether there was any specific reason for the same, he said, “The property is interesting and was successful last season but it is up to the brands to create awareness.”
Meanwhile, even Star Sports has not been promoting the property through the outdoor medium. A Star Sports spokesperson confirmed this with us and said there were no plans for any outdoor activity this season. Star had stayed away from the outdoor medium even last year though the spokesperson said that individual franchises had carried out campaigns.
Sanjeev Gupta, MD of Global Advertisers, also agreed that the scenario is ‘quiet’ this year. “Last year we saw good interest with brands taking all the good sites for their promotion. Haven’t seen the same interest this year,” he told us.
Despite this, agencies say that the last couple of months have been good for business otherwise. For example, Nabendu Bhattacharya, MD of Milestone Brandcom, informed us that though there was no one particular industry category that dominated ad spends, categories like handset manufacturers, e-commerce and telecom operators have been active spenders on outdoor.
“Media, retail as well as entertainment seem to be using this monsoon period to take advantage of relatively low priced inventory in certain markets. However, that clear glut that used to plague media inventory in certain parts of the country during the monsoons does not seem to be happening any more. Truth is the reverse scenario seems to be taking over, which is that certain brands and advertisers are actually taking the advantage of available inventory at more rational pricing. Telecom handset categories, new age business including e-commerce also seems to be going steady,” agreed Chakravorty.