ICC Championship trophy, Sri Lanka 2002. India won the first match against Zimababwe on the day one. Every corner of the stadium Mohammed Kaif sent the ball to, was plastered with LG signage, along with the other sponsors for the tournament. However, LG was not a co-sponsor with Pepsi for ICC Championship Cup 2002 live telecast on SET MAX. It, instead, opted for a tie up with Doordarshan, that too only for five matches in all - the semi finals and finals.
One could not help but wonder if LG would be able to reach the right target group? Have LG and its media agency Initiative Media taken the right decision by ignoring SETMAX? Speaking with exchange4media from Sri Lanka, Rohit Gupta, Revenue Head, Sony, said, "80% of ad revenues come from cable and satellite network, and there have to be reasons for it. As far as SEC A and B are concerned, most of the households are tuned into cable and satellite network. Of course, it is up to the client to figure out where to advertise and what target group to look for."
Though the agency refused to comment, the client felt that it has gone for a more cost-effective option and there is nothing wrong with it. When contacted by exchange4media, Ganesh Mahalingam Vice President, Marketing, LG, who incidentally was also in Sri Lanka, said, "DD's reach is seven times more than Sony. We are looking at new markets, which are beyond Metros. Most of them are upcountry, and hence, we felt that DD was a more cost-effective option. We are well established in Metros and wanted to extend our reach beyond that. In cost benefit analysis we found Doordarshan to be a much better option - more value for money. There were no other issues."
But do Dordarshan viewers have same purchasing power as those of C&S households. Says Ganesh, "It is a myth that people who watch Doordarshan don't have purchasing powers. And we have products in every range - which cater to every segment."
Would it not be a major revenue loss for Sony? Considering the fact that ICC sponsorship clause, to some extent, must have already affected the channel's targets from the telecast rights? "No", says Gupta, "It does not make much difference to Sony. There are so many brands and products. Whether it is one brand or the other who is sponsoring the event hardly matters to a channel"
When asked specifically if LG felt that channel had a bias towards other sponsors, said Ganesh, "Our valuation of TV sponsorship was marked differently as compared to the other global brands." Though he hastened to add, "That is our thinking, the channel, I am sure, must have their own point of view." And says Gupta, " We couldn't come to a solution and hence, LG opted for Doordarshan
LG has massive presence on the ground, and would be seen on Sony by virtue of that. However, Gupta does not consider it to be a big advantage. "But they are not able to advertise their products on Sony. Just the display of the brand name would not have the same impact," is his argument.
CPT would definitely go down for LG in a big way, and it would get extensive reach also, specially if India reaches the semi finals. However, how much of it really culminates into brand awareness and sales remains to be seen.