Online cricket games score well for brands during IPL

For brands, marketing efforts around online cricket games have paid off well during the IPL, even while the tournament had a lukewarm response on television this year.

e4m by Gopal Sathe
Updated: Jun 8, 2011 12:25 PM
Online cricket games score well for brands during IPL

Even though the IPL in absolute numbers reached a higher number of viewers than before, TV ratings were lower than last year with an average TVR of 3.9 compared to 5.5 last year, according to TAM Sports data. For Internet companies, on the other hand, the IPL performed well, and while overall results have not been released yet, Indiatimes, which secured the online rights to the IPL, showed that halfway through, the audience had grown by 82 per cent, a significant rise on last year’s 51 million views on YouTube.

Online cricket games also benefited from the IPL, and brands like Godrej and Adidas, which were able to include online gaming in their digital media plan, were able to get a good return for it.

For Godrej, Customer Centria was involved in the creation of the Godrej Powerplay, a fantasy cricket league where users earned in game money to buy the IPL players for their fantasy team, which would earn the consumers points based on the player’s performance in the real IPL. This translated into discounts on Godrej products and real life prizes for the customers, and according to Customer Centria’s analytics, Powerplay has been highly successful.

PS Krishnan, COO, Customer Centria, said, “While executing this concept, Customer Centria has focused on ensuring not only the creation of an engaging digital world, but also creating an analytical engine that digs deep into consumer needs. Godrej Powerplay aims at securing a deeper connection with the consumer, as every registration reflects the consumer’s buying pattern. It’s the age of customisation, and the end of ‘one size fits all’ theory. We are thrilled to enable and manage, one of the most innovative shopper activation programs today in the Consumer Goods segment.”

Godrej's Powerplay initiative was powered with technology from Dream11, whose fantasy cricket forms the base of the offering. Other brands too have been able to use this, in various ways.

While Godrej created a destination site for their fantasy cricket game and tied it in to their retail presence by giving consumers points to spend based on their purchases, Adidas created a fantasy league which was open to all, and extended its reach even further by placing it squarely on their Facebook page.

The advantage is that users who come to play the fantasy game are present across Facebook, but by clicking on the like button are enabling the brand to send updates regularly, which is a feature which a standalone website cannot provide as easily.

Yashraj Vakil, COO, Red Digital, which executed the campaign for Adidas, said, “As per a study by AC Nielsen, Adidas Cricket was the most talked about sports brand on social media during the first three weeks of the IPL, ahead of the official sponsors Nike. To make Adidas Cricket the one stop destination on Facebook, we incorporated Dream11’s fantasy cricket games, which we ported to Facebook. It operates on the premise that every fan believes he is the expert on cricket. The game provides every fan a chance to be a cricket selector and prove their belief in a friendly battle against friends to earn bragging rights.”

Users were not redirected to the game, but could play it without leaving the network, while competing against their Facebook friends, which added a lot of engagement to the product as well, and as Vakil pointed out, due to the amount of cricket being played, unlike most Facebook applications, “fantasy cricket keeps offering something new to its players every single time and is a long term engagement tool irrespective of the tournament being played and the teams playing. We host every single cricket tournament on the platform and Adidas gives away some great prizes, which keeps fans engaged and wanting to come back and play.”

Red Digital is also promoting the Mumbai Indians, and Vakil added, “We also operate a cricket games channel for Mumbai Indians on their website. The channel has close to 50 casual cricket games which fans play in their spare time.”

Commenting on the growing trend of gamification, he added, “I believe an increasing number of brands are beginning to believe that display ads are passe. In my opinion, they are very 2008 and need to evolve into becoming engagement tools than intrusion tools. Games and especially social games have broken that barrier. Moreover, in the social media age, display ads are more than just copy and graphics. They are about creating a feeling of trust and ownership, a feeling of ‘I will click on it because my friend recommends it’.”

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