Digital brands take the lead this ICC World Cup

Digital brands have pushed in big money into cricket. Spending on TV and digital platforms alike, they have announced their arrival as major players in the advertising scene

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Jul 8, 2019 8:46 AM

Digital brands are everywhere -- on your phones, tablets and laptops, they are only a click or swipe away. Now they are also making their presence felt at every ad break during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. With over 300 million viewers tuning in to catch all the action since the start of the cricket season, it comes as no surprise that these brands want to be where the audiences are, therefore pumping in big chunks of their advertising budgets into the World Cup.

Think, PhonePe, Google Pay, Cars24, Swiggy, Amazon, BYJU’s, Uber, Dream11 and Policybazaar are just some of the digital brand ads that splash across screens match after match. What has drawn these brands to the World Cup is simple –the target audience; cricket cuts across age, gender and demography. Take the India-Pakistan match of the World Cup as an example, the viewership shattered all records with 206 million (TV+OOH) viewers on Star network, while Hotstar recorded 100 mn active users and a concurrency of 15.6 million, the highest ever in an ODI match. And a big part of this viewership came from outside of the metros. Brand placement and conversion of that recall into downloads is what the cricketing season brings to the table.

Most of these brands have tasted success with ad placements during sporting events, says Aman Dhall, Communications Head at

“We are all betting big on the World Cup to score high on engagement. In the last 4-5 years, the kind of investment we’ve made in sports, particularly cricket, is huge. It has worked beautifully for us. It is our kind of target audience, the ones taking a decision on insurance. We have an in-house model where we can capture seeing the traffic going high on our website post our ad being displayed on television and we are able to figure out if something is working for us or not.”

It’s a straight forward approach, says Sudhir Kumar, Director Offline Media, DCMN India. “In terms of mediums - TV, when used simultaneously with social media and other media, amplifies ROI. There is always a spike in digital activities whenever a big event like the World Cup happens. ICC World Cup provides the largest platform that ensures the advertisers reach out to a large set of audience. These brands have laid out a heavy marketing plan with a clear KPI to increase downloads, orders and transactions, brand awareness and build communities.”

 Star India is looking to draw in an estimated Rs 1000-1200 crore in ad revenue from the World Cup, a huge chunk of which will be coming from the digital brands. And it’s not the traditional TV platform alone, Star’s digital platform Hotstar too is cashing in on the new kids on the block this World Cup. Take a look at the co-presenting sponsors for Hotstar this year- Dream 11, Uber Eats, Amazon Pay and Coca Cola. Three of these are digital brands.

Associating with an event like World Cup propels the hitherto lesser known digital brands into mass awareness almost overnight, believes Anurag Gupta, CEO SVG Media Pvt.

He says, “Digital brands are seeing a huge growth on the back of interest from investors and increasing users on digital/ mobile platforms. With over 600 mn users on Internet in India, I see this trend growing over the next 2-3 years.”

The IPL season is considered most popular for Indian viewers which is why the advertising rates are steep. According to reports, IPL alone is believed to have brought in over Rs 2,000 crore for Star. But with India entering the semi-finals of ICC World Cup, exchange4media had recently reported how the TV advertisement rates for the tournament have hit an all-time high, beating even the rates for IPL. But that is not going to be a deterrent for these brands which see a clear advantage in being at the right place at the right time.

According to Kumar, “People can order food, order groceries, cabs, medicines, sell/buy apparels and goods, get an education, pay bills and do many other things. People are regularly interacting with these brands and making their lives easy. Now as each category grows, it is important for brands to make their presence felt in the market and acquire top of the mind recall of the consumers. And, in India, World Cup is a great platform to do this.”

From the consumers’ point of view, well, the ads are a good reminder that food can be delivered to their doorstep while they watch the match in peace.

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