The Lankans came, played and were conquered – by the Men in Blue. But, it is Zee Sports that is making the most of the cricket telecast rights it had bagged for the India-Sri Lanka Test series. The channel not only introduced innovative contests and advertisements for its clients, but also lined up many cricketing legends like Kapil Dev, Arjuna Ranatunga, and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi in its elite panel of commentators for its show, ‘Cricket Café’.
During the telecast of the India- Lanka Test series, Zee Sports punched in lot of innovations and value adds to the clients. Nokia advertised on the channel for its N-Series range for mobiles, and apart from regular commercials the channel provided them with a pop-up with picture-in-picture. It was a 15-second pop-up, which appeared 24 times in a day.
Another innovation was created for Coca-Cola for its newest campaign, ‘Piyo Sir Utha Ke’. In this, Coke pop-ups appeared every time a batsman scored his half century or a century as well as on all important landmarks.
Speaking on the innovations, Gautam Sengupta, Executive VP, Zee Network, commented, “Coke didn’t want to advertise on TV as this is not a season for cold drinks and thus, we offered them the innovation that every time a cricketer reaches a landmark he usually looks skywards and thus, we capitalised on the moment and displayed the pop-up. Again, for Nokia, we defied the norms and got this non-traditional advertiser on cricket properties to advertiser with us.”
He added, “As a first time advertiser, L’Oreal wanted something unique and we offered them just that. We displayed the pop-ups every time the camera panned on face painted viewers to drive home the connect. In totality, we had 22 sponsors and we walked the extra mile for at least 60 per cent of them. As marketers, we need to offer brand connect with the game in a much more refined and fresh manner and we have been able to do some path breaking work. We have been successful in what we set out to do and ad planners and clients alike are talking about it.”
Zee Sports for the three-match Test series also integrated SMS contests and received 30,000 SMSes, which comprised feedback about the preview and review shows, questions to the expert panel and the contest. For the third Test match, the contest was sponsored by Garnier and for the overall test series’ contest a total of 11,000 SMSes were received.
Zee Sports, VP, Marketing, Gaurav Seth, said, “The SMS contests provide a unique opportunity to connect with the viewers and involve them in the match. We have never considered these contests as a means of incentivisng the viewer to watch the cricket match and, in fact, the contests are also measure of improvements we can and need to bring in. Garnier and the other sponsors are very happy with the response they have got and we, too, are very excited.”
“We have always tried to innovate and do things differently and interactivity a case in point can be the way we innovated with our regional commentary and offered simultaneous commentary in Bengali, Tamil and Hindi. Our elite panellists actually lit up the entire discussion between match breaks on the show ‘Cricket Café’ and enlightened the viewers with their in-depth and behind the scene knowledge,” added Seth.