IPL: Why are new-age brands taking center stage on the advertising pitch?

A host of new advertisers drawn to IPL this year include Spotify, Zepto, Spinny, Niyo, Meesho, Pristyn Care and Ather Energy

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Mar 10, 2022 8:47 AM  | 7 min read

IPL has been a strong advertising ground for fintech, health-tech, e-payments, hyper-local delivery businesses, and streaming platforms. We have seen brands like Dream11, CRED, White Hat Jr, Livspace and more, getting associated with IPL as TV and digital sponsors, in recent past years. This year too, new-age brands including Meesho, Zepto, Niyo, Spinny, Pristyn Care, Spotify and Ather Energy have come onboard as the first-time sponsors of IPL 2022.

Experts believe that the growing interest has also to do with prevailing market conditions, in which consumers across categories are adopting a digital-first strategy, and IPL undoubtedly has been the biggest platform to reach out to the mass audience through TV and OTT. 

“Tata IPL is a tent pole property and it continues to generate massive reach for advertisers across categories year on year. We have witnessed an increase in new age brands, looking at IPL as a launchpad to build mass awareness across TV and OTT, especially in the last two years,” said a Disney Star spokesperson.

Star Sports has onboarded 15 sponsors, including Dream11, Tata Corporate, Byju’s as ‘co-presenting sponsors’ and CRED, Kamla Pasand, Asian Paints, PhonePe, Swiggy, Instamart, Spotify, Mondelez, White Hat Jr, Meesho, and Sting Energy (Pepsico). Whereas Disney+ Hotstar has signed up 13 sponsors including Dream11 as the co-presenting sponsor followed by Tata and CRED as the ‘co-powered by’ sponsors besides Swiggy, Pristyn Care, Zepto, Ather Energy, Niyo, Parle Agro, Spotify, Livspace, L'Oréal, and Spinny. 

On the other hand, there were some brands that were buying ad spots till last year, and this year they decided to be the sponsors, and one such brand is Niyo Solutions - a digital banking fintech company that continued their association with Disney+Hotstar as an associate sponsor. 

According to Vinay Bagri, Co-founder & CEO, Niyo Solutions Inc, being a digital-first product and brand, Disney+ Hotstar was the perfect platform for Niyo to reach the digital-first millennial audience. He says, “We first associated with Disney+ Hotstar in 2021 to leverage our newly-launched NiyoX, a 2-in-1 savings and wealth account for the urban millennial. Given the immense love for cricket in India, we believe there is no property more robust than IPL to build awareness for our brand and offerings. Our association with Disney+ Hotstar has proven as a stellar opportunity to engage with our target audience in a sustained manner. Encouraged by the results of our previous campaign, this year, we’re taking it a notch higher. Being the associate sponsor for IPL 2022, our campaign will be about educating the consumer about our product and how they can integrate it into their lifestyle.”

The co-presenting sponsor, as previously reported by exchange4media, is valued at Rs. 140-210 crore based on 120-180 seconds of inventory consumption every match. With 80 to 100 seconds of inventory every match, the associate sponsor's budget may range from Rs. 93.8 crore to Rs. 117 crore. According to insiders, the broadcaster has designed a spot buy package that will allow marketers to advertise in 26 matches for a total of Rs. 26 crore, excluding critical matchups. As per the industry estimates, Star Sports is charging Rs 13.5 million to Rs. 14 lakh per 10-second spot dependent on inventory usage during a match. Associate sponsors have been asked to provide Rs. 14.5 lakh for a 10-second commercial and Rs 16.55 lakh for a 16-second spot.

Co-presenting sponsors on Disney+ Hotstar are projected to be worth Rs. 157 crore, with a target audience of 130-150 million viewers. The powered-by sponsor invests Rs. 60 crore for an estimated target audience of 110-130 million. The platform is seeking associate sponsors to contribute Rs. 30 crore for a reach of 80-100 million.

Another new-age brand, Zepto is a 10-minute grocery delivery app founded by Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, the two 19-year-old Stanford dropouts. Founded in 2020, the app was launched in April 2021. The brand has come onboard as an associate sponsor of Disney+Hotstar for the 15th season of IPL.  

Speaking about the association with Tata IPL 2022, Amritansu Nanda, Chief Marketing Officer, Zepto, shared, “We have grown very quickly over the past 7-8 months and in order to take the brand to the next step, it is very important to drive brand awareness. IPL is the largest media event in the country and it attracts more eyeballs than any GEC show, that too for a prolonged duration. So, for us, it was a no-brainer to be associated with IPL in some form or manner.”

“We decided to come to Disney+Hotstar in particular and to not opt for ground or TV sponsorship because it would not have given us the kind of return on investments that we are looking at as other mediums don't allow direct targeting. With Disney+Hotstar, we will be able to target only the cities where we are operational, exclusively. Not only are we associating ourselves with one of the largest events which positions the brand as a large brand but it also ensures that we are getting the best bang for the buck,” said Nanda. 

Zepto is currently present in seven cities including Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. “As we are expanding, we are also scaling very quickly in all cities. As our presence grows, we know that urban India is more or less covered and now we have stepped up our awareness game. The primary objective is to raise brand awareness, brand consideration and brand preference within each of these cities.”

Talking about the ROI, Nanda said it's difficult to quantify it in numbers. He noted, “It's difficult to give numbers. Firstly, because we are a very unique business and there are not many businesses that we are comparable to. But we are definitely expecting our acquisitions and new customer base to grow significantly.”

Another new brand that has joined the bandwagon of sponsors on the broadcasters’ digital platform is Spinny - the fastest-growing retailing platform for pre-owned cars in India.  

According to Suvid Bajaj, Head of Marketing, Spinny, over the last few years, the company has made significant investments in setting up the right processes and procedures to make the used car buying & selling experience simple and delightful for its customers. 

“Our focus has always been on ensuring each customer gets hassle-free car ownership experience that includes exchanging or upgrading their car. During this period, our marketing playbook has been focussed on the organic discovery of the platform and most importantly, a referral from customers who have experienced Spinny as a platform. Additionally, we’ve focused on Radio as an effective medium to reach our audiences. We believe that the IPL this year, offers a great opportunity to connect with young Indians and drive significant awareness and preference for our brand proposition,” pointed out Bajaj. 

He further shared that their key objective is to build brand awareness, connect with the target audience and aim to educate consumers about their brand vision of helping young Indians realise their dreams and aspirations, by offering them a simple and delightful car buying and selling experience. “We intend to leverage the partnership by highlighting our key offerings & services via an interesting new take in the category,” added Bajaj. In December 2021, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar partnered with Spinny as a strategic investor and a lead brand ambassador. Sports icon PV Sindhu, has also been a part of a series of marketing initiatives.

On the condition of anonymity, a senior media planner shared, “There is a lot of value attached with IPL and past records have proven that IPL is the biggest sporting event. Brands intend to leverage IPL to build brand awareness, connect with a mass audience through TV and OTT sponsorships. With digital growth in the country, we can expect more new-age brands signing up for IPL to build their brands.” 

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