IPL 2019: Scoring high with the right marketing medium 

We look at how brands like Vivo, Star Sports, Hotstar & PhonePe are making the most of their presence in this season of the Indian Premier League

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Apr 1, 2019 8:26 AM
Vivo IPL

The biggest cricket carnival in India, the Indian Premier League 2019, has begun and over the years the event has drawn top cricketers from around the world as well as leading brands. While in the field players put out their best for the coveted title, off-field brands compete for every second of advertising space. 

Apart from Vivo, which is the title sponsor of the event, among the other brands being featured are Star Sports, Hotstar, Tata Harrier, Dream 11, FBB, Paytm, Ceat, Oppo and PhonePe. 

The reach and viewership of the tournament, experts say, is far beyond other sporting leagues held in the country. When brands partner with such kind of a league, it becomes vital for them to utilise the space through the best marketing mediums. The league has been touted to be the biggest in terms of following and overall revenue. According to various estimates, there has been a 25 per cent rise in the overall spend as compared to the 2018 IPL.

We look at the various modes of marketing in an event of this scale.

Jersey sponsorship
Jersey sponsorship helps brands stand out in the crowd as they become part of all actions on the field. When cricketers wear the jersey with the brand’s name on it, it leads to a higher brand recall.

Logos on jerseys are being constantly viewed during the course of the game and thereby become a part of the subconscious mind of the viewer. The jersey is considered a valuable marketing tool. Apart from Aaj Tak, which has made an entry into the game as the principal sponsor of Kings XI Punjab, the team has 6 other key sponsors and 13 associate sponsors. Likewise, Nokia has become the principal sponsor for Kolkata Knight Riders and the team has 10 official sponsors and 6 partners on board.

According to Saurabh Uboweja, CEO, Brands of Desire, a management consulting firm: “Jersey sponsorship, as a medium, is a monetising tool for team owners. It has its reach but limited as compared to other mediums and hence is also likely to be relatively lower in cost. If a brand is looking to build a regional name, jersey sponsorship can be very effective as the company gets associated with the regional team.” 

However, Brand Expert N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research says, “The jersey is like a matchbox with ads, too small a space with a cluttered brand presence. Unless a brand is the lead jersey sponsor, the money is pretty much wasted.”

TV is still the most preferred marketing medium as it reaches a wide range of audience at the same time. Brands do not hesitate in spending huge money on TV ads because it keeps brands alive in the viewers’ mind for a much longer period than a sponsored post or a search result. Brands like Swiggy, PhonePe and Dream 11 have even launched TV commercials for IPL this year.

On how a brand should decide which medium to go for to encash the ongoing IPL fever, Uboweja said, “It depends on the marketing objective of the brand. If they are looking at building brand awareness for a wider but less targeted audience, as the primary objective, television would be a suitable medium. If, however, the brand is looking at more targeted advertising to achieve a specific objective such as instant engagement, then digital would be more effective for them.”

“IPL is an expensive property to advertise in, no matter which medium is used. An approach of a brand must be to stand out in the clutter and choose both the medium and the message accordingly,” Chandramouli said. “The IPL craze will also be juxtaposed with the election fever and therefore there are chances the message may get lost,” he added.

Social Media
The Social Media strategy is too vital in terms of brand marketing these days. Brands opt for social media platforms as it’s a cost-effective medium, gives an intensive reach and has a very targeted approach. They interact with their target audience via contests, polls, sessions, videos and more. Brands are aware that today millennials spend most of the time on digital platforms and they like to be present at all touch points.

Brand Associations
Bollywood celebrities add extra glam to any tournament and when it’s IPL, the attraction is even more. Sponsors have roped in Bollywood stars for the ongoing IPL season. According to media reports, Aamir Khan and Deepika Padukone have emerged as brand favourites this season. Aamir will be seen promoting VIVO, PhonePe and shoe brand Walkaroo.

PhonePe recently announced Aamir as the face of the brand. It is also the lead broadcast sponsor for IPL, which airs on Star India network and Hotstar. The three brands together are expected to spend nearly Rs 250 crore during the tournament this year. Vivo is expected to spend nearly Rs 100 crore on TV, digital and on-ground promotions this season, as per media reports. Deepika will also be seen as the face of Vivo along with online ticketing platform Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt will be seen promoting MakeMyTrip (MMT).

We will also see Ajay Devgn promoting Vimal-Zubaan Kesari.

Dream 11 will be leveraging MS Dhoni in its marketing strategy. The brand has released a TVC promoting the app. 

Tata Motors has roped in ‘Dangal’ star Fatima Sana Shaikh and ‘Gully Boy’ actor Siddhant Chaturvedi to promote the brand as the “official car partner” of IPL 2019, whereas Kolkata Knight Rider’s Co-Owner Shah Rukh Khan will be seen promoting education platform Byju’s on television.

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