LinkedIn's Masterstroke: Kicks-off its biggest campaign in India during IPL 2018

An interview with Roger Pua, Senior Director, Brand, Marketing Communications, LinkedIn, APAC and China, on the campaign #InItTogether that was first launched in the US in January

A rather unlikely brand has join the IPL bandwagon this year. LinkedIn, the business social media site, has kicked off the India leg of its global campaign #InItTogether this IPL season. This is the first-ever series of TVCs for LinkedIn in India. 

The 360-degree campaign was first launched in the US in January 2018. India is the second market where LinkedIn has launched this campaign.  It was developed by the in-house LinkedIn Creative Studio and BMB in the US, and brought to life in India by The Glitch. The campaign will also launch in other markets in the Asia Pacific region in May 2018.
The campaign delves into the question: What are you in it (work) for? Myriad responses from LinkedIn users shaped the campaign that celebrates work and life. 

In an email conversation with exchange4media, Roger Pua, Senior Director, Brand, Marketing Communications, LinkedIn Asia Pacific and China, spoke about the insights behind this campaign and challenges in the Indian market and more.

What is the reason behind launching this ad during the IPL season? Or is the timing just a coincidence?

Our plan was to launch In It Together in India in April, so the timing of the IPL season was perfect, and enabled us to engage with the massive community who share the same passion for the sport.

Is this the biggest campaign that LinkedIn is running in India?

#InItTogether is the biggest integrated campaign of this scale for LinkedIn to-date. We kickstarted our TV campaign with IPL, and we have invested in outdoor advertising, which includes billboards, bus shelters, airports in Mumbai and Bangalore, and a metro train wrap in Mumbai. We are also promoting the campaign across LinkedIn’s official online channels on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

In India, we also run another major campaign in partnership with MTV, called LinkedIn-MTV Get A Job that targets only students and career starters, which is in its fourth year running.

What were the insights about the target audience that shaped the creative?
In It Together is about our members and professionals at all stages of their careers. Last year, we conducted a survey to understand what our members are motivated by and what success means to them today. The findings told us that our members feel a sense of fulfilment when their personal and professional values align to form their own personal definition of success.

Our campaign, #InItTogether embodies this insight that ‘success means different things to different people’ and is about our members on LinkedIn and every professional in the workforce. We asked our members what they are in “it” for (‘it’ being work and everything they associate work with), and their responses ranged from trying to fulfil a deep passion such as teaching others or giving back to the community to more pragmatic goals such as career advancements or providing for a brighter future for their families. This campaign is about celebrating our members’ different notions of success, their motivations, their daily lives, and what members are “in it for”.
We hope to encourage everyone in the Indian workforce to think about what success means to them, to reflect upon the motivation behind their drive… about what they are in it for and harness the support of our platform’s diverse member base, features, tools, and connections to push forward. We hope that by doing so, our members will feel more empowered to pursue their own definitions of success and connect with others who share the same ideals.

From a business standpoint, what does LinkedIn wish to achieve from this campaign?

We are a members-first company, with a mission to connect the world’s professions so they can be more productive and successful. In India, where we have a member base of about 47+ million members and growing fast, we hope the campaign will foster an even stronger sense of community amongst professionals, whether they are just starting out and finding their way in
their careers or are already established in their own right.

What are LinkedIn’s main focus areas for the Indian market?

One of the key focus area is to continue to localise our product to be even more relevant to members and customers. For example, the LinkedIn Lite app was developed in India about a year ago to make it easier and faster for professionals to access and engage on LinkedIn, particularly if they are in areas of low bandwidth and connectivity.

What are the challenges that you face in dealing with Indian users be it job seekers or employers?

The challenge our team has set for ourselves is to strive to continue to stay relevant with a fast-growing member base, particularly career-starters and the many companies we work with. This includes localising our product and features, providing opportunities for learning and up-skilling and introducing ways to enable professionals access opportunity more easily and quickly, such as the LinkedIn Lite app which was Made in India, for India and is now going global.

Take a look at all the creatives here: 

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Swiggy’s IPL ad campaign yields 25% growth in orders during IPL

The brand has witnessed a 25% growth in orders during IPL and over a 10X increase in consumers searching for gulab jamuns on the platform post the gulab jamun ad's success

Among the reams of IPL ads rolled out, if there is one ad that is sure to make you chuckle without in-your-face advertising, it is Swiggy’s gulab jamun ad which shows an old man ordering and relishing a gulab jamun without letting his wife know. With simple insight and its brilliant execution, Swiggy's nimble approach has helped reinforce that if a brand tells a story well, it is sure to sell. Sticking to this truth, the brand witnessed a 25% growth in orders during IPL.

Swiggy has garnered significant growth in orders and new user acquisitions post the IPL season. The brand also shared that there has been over a 10X increase in consumers searching for gulab jamuns on the platform post the ad.

At the start of the T20 cricket season, Swiggy launched Match Day Mania, a 51-day long food festival that offered discounts across 13000+ restaurants in the cities Swiggy operates in.The campaign, apart from television was being promoted across print, radio, digital platforms, as well as in restaurants.

Swiggy also launched six relatable and witty television commercials in the beginning of the IPL season, the campaign also ran on digital and across the brand's social media platforms and it saw great resonance from audiences across various social platforms.

The brand collaborated with Jordindian to create a couple of videos showcasing how cricket is best enjoyed with food ordered from Swiggy. Turns out that Swiggy took the innovative route by having an order delivered inside the pre-match presentation studio.

The brand saw a huge increase in demand during the IPL season. Interestingly, post the gulab jamun ad, there was over a 10X increase in consumers searching for gulab jamuns on the platform. Swiggy received the highest number of orders in the final day of the IPL. Post the TVCs, Swiggy witnessed an increase in searches and orders for items like gulab jamun, donuts and khichdi that were a part of the ads. The brand has witnessed significant growth in orders and new user acquisitions during the IPL season.

Swiggy also shared that with CSK grabbing the coveted trophy, Chennai saw the highest increase in orders during IPL with a jump of 44% followed by Pune (40%) and Delhi (37%). Kings XI Punjab had a good run in the IPL, and so did the city of Chandigarh, with over 100% increase in orders for traditional Punjabi dishes like Kadai Paneer, Dal Makhni and Butter Nan.

Srivats TS, VP Marketing at Swiggy told exchange4media that the campaign has not only received a lot of appreciation from consumers as seen across social media platforms, but also helped establish Swiggy's propositions, making it a part of every household's IPL culture. “IPL, India's biggest television sports spectacle which draws millions of people and cricket fans was a great platform for Swiggy as it placed us right where the consumer is present organically.” Srivats said that what made the campaign work was how connected Swiggy, IPL and the brand benefits in an engaging way.

As per data-points shared by Swiggy with exchange4media

YouTube Leaderboard: YouTube reveals India most watched IPL 2018 advertisements

Given its enormous popularity and colossal reach, brands have ramped up their association with the league to gain a high top of the mind recall.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is undoubtedly India’s most celebrated annual sporting event. It has everything that a consumer wants: power-packed cricket, gripping entertainment and flashy advertisements.

Given its enormous popularity and colossal reach, brands have ramped up their association with the league to gain a high top of the mind recall. From Amazon’s Chonkpur Cheetahs to Star Sports Best vs Best campaigns, there are multiple ads that have captured our imagination. The ad campaigns during the IPL season were very contextual and takes audiences along on a journey.

Star Sports, the official broadcaster for VIVO IPL 2018, used multiple customized #Bestvsbest creatives encompassing the spirit of IPL, capturing the key stars and all the excitement.

Let us have a look at the top ads that India loved to watch during the 11th edition of IPL.

Amazon's Chonkpur Cheetahs:

Vivo V9:

Vodafone FANtastic Breaks:


Wavemaker IPL Mesh report: CSK created the maximum buzz

Meanwhile Vodafone created maximum social media buzz followed by Vivo and Reliance Jio

According to social media conversations tracked by Wavemaker Mesh, agency Wavemaker’s command centre Chennai Super Kings secured the top spot on the social buzz securing 4.2mn mentions during the IPL season between April 7 and May 28. It’s to be noted that social mentions on Twitter (Tweet/ RT/ Reply), Facebook (Post/ Comments/ Shares), Instagram, YouTube, Blogs, Forums, Google+, Online news, Mainstream news, consumer forums, etc were considered for the analysis.
Despite being ousted in the group stages, Mumbai Indians secured the second position garnering 2.6mn followed by Kolkata Knight Riders (1.75mn); while Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad stood fourth and fifth spot with 1.58mn and 1.36 mn respectively.

#WhistlePodu and the newly coined #Yellove hashtags by Chennai Super Kings were the most chanted team hashtags in the tournament garnering 1.26mn and 594k respectively.

With respect to IPL conversations men outdid women. Interestingly Delhi made the maximum noise in the social media followed by Tamil Nadu.

According to Mesh Vodafone created the most buzz with its FANtastic Breaks contest were winners got an iPhone every match. Vodafone raked in around 700K comments on Facebook which made it earn the top spot. Title sponsor Vivo came in close second with majority of conversations from the #vivoipl. Its #PerfectFan contest was also well received. Jio came third with its Jio Cricket Gold Pass promotion.

 Vodafone’s Zoozoos were the most watched videos. Its FANtastic Breaks campaign took the lion’s share in digital consumption. Oppo’s #RealChampion campaign and promotion of their cricket limited edition Oppo F7 ads garnered second highest views among peers. Tata ranked third with their videos garnering attention.

Zoozoos helped Vodafone take the most lovable brand on social media, with highest likes and shares on social media platform. Oppo was the second most liked and shared brand on social media. Nokia, the official partner of KKR ranked third.

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IPL’s Facebook journey: Dhoni most talked-about player

Chennai Super Kings was the most discussed team this IPL, followed by Mumbai Indians and SunRisers Hyderabad


The eleventh edition of the IPL culminated on May 27 in a thrilling victory by the Chennai Super Kings over the SunRisers Hyderabad. With 425 million posts, comments, and reactions by millions of fans around the world, this year’s tournament drove the highest level of conversation Facebook has measured for any IPL.

Tournament winning Captain MS Dhoni was the most talked about player, while his team the Chennai Super Kings were the most talked about team this season. 

Most Loved Posts

CSK fans couldn't wait for the return of their team and they showed their love for their team on Facebook. Launched on April 6th, the return of the Thala and the updated Whistle Podu anthem was the most loved post of the tournament.

Mumbai Indians' bowler, Mustafizur Rahman's wishes for Bengali New Year was the second most loved post of the tournament. Shubho Nabo Barsho!

MS Dhoni's daughter Ziva was a star of this year's IPL both “on” and “off” the field. The moment with her dad following CSK's qualification into the IPL finals was the third most love post of the season. 


Most talked about teams

Chennai Super Kings gathered the most amount of conversation. Followed by Mumbai Indians and SunRisers Hyderabad. 

Most talked about players  While MS Dhoni tops this list. Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Rohit Sharma, and Suresh Raina were the other most discussed players.         

Live from the IPL 
Each season we see cricketers and teams seize the opportunity to share their experiences as they happen. This IPL season, fans were be able to get closer to the action than ever before and enjoy real time match analysis, reviews, behind the scenes action, player Q&As and more.

·        Virender Sehwag spends time in the nets, “preparing” for the 2018 season #aprilfools

·       Sandeep Lamicchane, Nepal's first ever IPL player, does a fan Q&A with the Delhi Daredevils  

      Virat Kohli and the Royal Challengers Bangalore retire their 12th man jersey as a gift to their fans

      Kings live from the team bus as they return to the hotel following their tournament victory!


From the sports desk

News and sports publishers, broadcasters, and personalities, including cricbuzz, Crictracker, ESPN Cricinfo, Lokmat, Star Sports and Sportskeeda, took to Facebook throughout the event to provide exclusive match commentary and analysis, as well as engage and entertain fans during the IPL Aakash Chopra's #AakashVani kept fans informed throughout the season.

IPL 2018- Beyond the pitch

Outside of the sports world- celebrities, creator publishers and more from across India took to Facebook to post about the IPL and join the conversation in their own unique ways.Celebrity chef and Delhi Daredevils fan, Kunal Kapur, went live prior to each match and shared quick recipes for snacks you can eat while watching the IPL. 

Kahwa Entertainment imagines a world where cricketing legends from the past were to play in the IPL with their Senior Citizens Dream #IPL team vox-pop series. 

Aadiya Aattam Enna from Smile Settai featured exclusive live post-match reviews to break down famous state rivalries and match performances With Duck Se Dude, BIG FM created a light-hearted fiction comedy about a Punjabi boy Manjeet, who has low self-esteem and embarks on a quest to win the love of his childhood sweetheart by entering the world of cricket and in this roller coaster ride discovers his true potential Entertainment publisher, Pinkvilla used CrowdTangle Leaderboards and Live Displays to cover the buzz and trending stories around the tournament with IPL Fun da

Express Yourself
In celebration of cricket, Facebook introduced a cricket text background, which, along with the other backgrounds enabled fans to express themselves using status messages before, during and after matches.

Facebook Camera - AR Effects

" style="font-weight:normal">This season, four teams built augmented reality experiences for the Facebook camera which allowed fans to get in on the action and demonstrate their support by applying masks and animations to videos they create on the platform. 

Meltwater-IPL: Vivo scores big followed by Reliance Jio

Chinese handset manufacturer Vivo had the maximum mentions of over 667k times

During the two months of cricket extravaganza (read Indian Premier League) Chinese handset manufacturer Vivo had the maximum mentions of over 667k times according to international media intelligence company Meltwater between April 1 and May 28. This was followed by Reliance Jio which had 33.23K mentions and Coca Cola 11.55k times.

Hotstar was the most popular trending theme. According to Star India, 202 million viewers had logged on to its video streaming platform, Hotstar, to watch the T20 tournament, a 55.3 per cent jump from last year. It was mentioned 16.65k times followed by Reliance Jio 2.51k times.

As we know Meltwater tracked the mentions around IPL final match between Chennai Super Kings and SunRisers Hyderabad which was 145k. The other trending themes were IPL2018Final, special knock and tournament.

As expected, MS Dhoni received the highest mentions with over 60k mentions according to the media intelligence company. Man-of-the-match Shane Watson came close second with 47K mentions owing to his exemplary performance.

Star India estimated to have earned Rs 1800-2000 crore ad revenue from IPL

According to estimates, the figure includes Rs 300-350 crore revenue earned from Hotstar

From television commentary in six languages and airing the Indian Premiere League (IPL) finale on its Hindi GEC (Star Plus) and movie channel (Star Gold) to tailor-made feeds for different regions and 120 commentators on board, Star India played its cards well to keep both advertisers and audience interest alive throughout the one-and-a–half month-long cricketing extravaganza.

The strategy seems to have worked out well for Star and the network is estimated to have earned advertising revenue of Rs 1900-2000 crore in its first year, including Rs 300-350 crore from Hotstar, as against the previous year’s Rs 1300 crore revenue earned by Sony Pictures Network.

Star India spent a whopping Rs 16,347 crore to ink a five-year deal with BCCI for IPL.

The revenue figure of Rs 1900-2000 crore is what Sanjay Gupta, Managing Director, Star India, had mentioned in an interview with exchange4media last month. Gupta had said that the network was aiming at a turnover of Rs 2000 crore ad revenue from television and digital.  "This is approximately 60 per cent more than last year’s ad revenue," he had mentioned in the interview.

According to Dinesh Vyas, Vice President, PHD, Star India, the market estimate has been around Rs 1900-2000 crore (including digital) in the first leg of IPL that concluded with Chennai Super Kings taking home the trophy on May 27.
“Star India is extremely happy with the response," he said.

An industry source, who also speculates that the network has already earned approximately around Rs 2000 crore, said, “Since it was Star's first year, it will definitely pick up going forward."

Another industry veteran said Star made around Rs 1400-1500 crore in television ad revenue with additional Rs 250-275 crore on Hotstar, taking the total to Rs 1800 crore.

But there is no way to verify this figure, says a senior media planner who doesn’t wish to be quoted.

"When Sony made Rs 1300 crore they said ‘we made this much’ but there was no way to cross check it. The split is much more difficult this time as all the deals were made together. So it’s up to the broadcasters to do the allocation. The client (advertiser) also doesn't know the split," the planner said.

Hotstar’s Magical Number

Star India's video streaming service Hotstar set a new record on Sunday with more than 10 million concurrent viewers logging onto the platform to watch the final match. This has given huge hopes to the industry about its ROI, with some media planners even estimating that Hotstar made over Rs 400 crore.

Gopa Kumar, EVP at Isobar India, estimates that OTT platform Hotstar has raked in roughly Rs 300-350 crore in advertising revenue, which is around 40-60 per cent higher than the Rs 220 crore in the previous edition.

He mentioned that the earlier quotation of Rs 500 crore (given at the start of the IPL) was unlikely because most of the deals were sold in combined packages (TV and digital), which affected the monetisation capability of Hotstar.
“Majority of the big advertisers are sure to have gone for the bundled packages which attributed to lesser ad revenue for Hotstar," he said.

Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and Co Founder, White Rivers Media, also estimated a similar number of Rs 350 crore.
His explained, “For every additional percentage of viewers consuming content on the platform, it can result in 1.1%-1.2% jump in ad revenue. Additional viewers should be valued as gold as once they are on the platform because of a star property, they are more likely to flock around and explore more content, which shall result in better app stickiness and better ad revenues.”

“It is important to evaluate the revenue and viewership by repeat consumption and engagement on the app over at least two more quarters. If the signs for the same are positive, the property is a success. A one-off increment or a spike doesn’t guarantee long-term success. Having said that, given the parameters, it is safe to assume that the revenues would have seen at least a 51-55% jump over last year's Rs 220 crore,” Gandhi added.

However, another senior media planner, who didn’t wish to be named, was conservative with his estimates and quoted Rs 250-270 crore for Hotstar.

All said and done, these are estimated figures and we will follow it up as and when we get the exact numbers.

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IPL 2018 Finals dominates Twitter

The exhilarating match between the Chennai Super Kings and the SunRisers Hyderabad saw the MS Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings emerging victorious

The Vivo IPL 2018 final match saw a face-off between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on May 27th, 2018, with the MS Dhoni led CSK defeating SRH by 8 wickets. This is the third time the Chennai Super Kings has won the coveted title.

Twitter was dominated by the event, with #IPLfinal2018 trending with 174k tweets and #cskvsSRH receiving 63.8k tweets.

Man of the Match, Shane Watson garnered 81.4K tweets, while Chennai Super Kings received 35.5k tweets. CSK captain, MS Dhoni garnered 16.5 k tweets.

Several news and sports portals also took to Twitter to congratulate the winning team.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also added to the fervour of IPL 2018.

Vodafone's Digital-Led Campaign Bears Fruit This IPL Season

CMO Siddharth Banerjee speaks about the Unofficial Sponsor of fans Campaign by Vodafone

Breaking a ten year tradition, Vodafone opted out being an official sponsor of the Indian Premier League in 2018. The brand was only a spot-buyer with Star India for the eleventh season of IPL. Yet, the brand is emerging as one of the most prominent brands of the season. 

Vodafone, which is known to spend around 20-30% of its annual ad spend (estimated to be around Rs 200-300 crore as per the Pitch Madison Report 2018) on IPL, cut its spends with IPL 11. Instead, the leading telecom company pursued a digital-led campaign this season. “For a fraction of the cost we have been able to get the most amount of engagement,” said Siddharth Banerjee, CMO, Vodafone India. 

Declining to reveal the company’s budget for IPL 11, Banerjee likened the Vodafone efficient media strategy to special recipes that are safely guarded and never shared. According to some media reports this number is pegged to be around Rs 25-30 cr. 

“A lot of audiences are actually on the digital medium and a lot of conversation happens on social media platforms. Hence we wanted to do an insight and data-led marketing activity which captures the imagination of the audiences,” Banerjee further explained. 

The company once again captured the attention of IPL viewers with its much loved brand assets - ZooZoos. This time in a ninja avatar Zoozoos were seen solving problems for fans from home delivery of SIM cards to completing bill payment tasks at the click of a button. 

Banerjee believes that breaking the mold with its advertising strategy backed by authenticity and creativity propels brand Vodafone ahead every time. Be that the Zoozoos in the second season of IPL, Asha-Bala in IPL 10 or as the Unofficial Sponsor of Fans in 2018. “By understanding consumer insight and consumer emotions and unlocking it with creativity has allowed us to have a superior marketing strategy,” he further said. 

The digital magic is driving up engagement for Vodafone. “The social media engagement for Vodafone is currently at 51 million and counting,” added Banerjee. 

According to a report by Wavemaker MESH, Vodafone emerged as the buzziest brand on social media this IPL season between April 7 and May 4, followed by official sponsor Vivo and competition brand Jio. This was mainly driven by the FANtastic Breaks Contest. The report said the content helped the brand rake in over 400K comments on Facebook, driving Vodafone to the No.1 spot in the most buzziest brands list.

The ZooZoos campaign which continues to be popular was the most watched ad on digital this year, followed by Coca Cola – Share a Coke and Tata Motors’ series of videos promoting Nexon, as per the report. 

This is How Vodafone was the Unofficial Sponsor of Fans this IPL: 

Happy To Help Bus: The “Vodafone Happy to Help Bus” helped fans who have match tickets to commute to the stadium. The Vodafone Bus picked them up from designated spots and dropped them at the stadium.

FANtastic Breaks Contest: During the match ad breaks, Vodafone consumers could dial in or log on to Vodafone Zoozoo Facebook page and answer simple questions. The winners stood the chance to win an iPhone daily and one mega winner could get a Round Trip for two to England, along with match tickets to watch India Vs. England at Lord’s. 

Vodafone Match Day- Karnataka: For those who can’t get tickets to watch the mathes live Vodafone screened IPL matches LIVE with stadium like experience at “Sherlocks Pub” right next to the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. To participate: listeners were asked to Whatsapp their fan cheer as a voice note on 9019104104. The best shout out was chosen and the fan and his gang was invited for match screening at Sherlock’s Pub with Free Food.

Giant LED Screen featuring the FAN- Pune: As the spectators walked into the stadium, Vodafone India had made special arrangements for spectators to get their GIF clicked. These GIFs were then displayed on a large LED screen put up on a giant Vodafone Unofficial Sponsor of Fans™ hoarding outside Gate No.2.

Play quiz on My Vodafone App and win upto 100 match tickets – Delhi & NCR: For its customers in Delhi & NCR, Vodafone arranged for a quiz contest on My Vodafone App. Answering a few simple questions could fetch customers upto 100 match tickets. These winners were also be eligible for a free ride to the stadium in Ubers.

TAM Data- IPL 11: Aerated soft drinks record 977% jump in ad volumes

From the first match until the 57th match, 146 brands across 63 categories have advertised on Star Sports

According to the data provided by TAM to exchange4media for the time frame between the first match on April 7 to the 57th match on May 22 of Vivo Indian Premier League's 11th edition, aerated soft drinks continued to have the highest jump of 977 per cent in terms of ad volumes, compared to the last IPL season. The number of brands in the category shot up from one in 2017 to four in 2018.

This was followed by pan masala/zarda/gutkha which saw a 38 per cent jump (from one in IPL 10 to two in IPL 11). Online shopping earned a hike of 17 per cent (from one brand in IPL 10 to seven brands in IPL 11). Cellular phone services category saw a five per cent drop as the number of brands fell from four in IPL 10 to three in IPL 11. Even cellular phones, smartphones recorded a 36 per cent drop as the number of brands remained constant at nine in IPL 11.

Based on the ad volumes, cellular phones (smartphones) and cellular phone services continued to be the top two advertised categories this season. Online shopping, aerated soft drinks and pan masala/zarda/guthka were the other three categories advertised regularly. These top five categories during IPL 11 contributed 24 per cent of overall ad pie.

In this time frame, 146 brands across 63 categories have advertised on Star Sports this year, as against 83 brands across 34 categories in the previous edition of IPL on Sony MAX. There is a 85 per cent rise in the count of categories and 76 per cent rise in brands advertising during IPL 11 compared to IPL 10.

Vivo’s flagship smartphone V9 continued to be the top advertised brand in the league. The co-presenting sponsor of the tournament Jio Digital Life retained its second spot. Vimal Elaichi Pan Masala held on to their third spot while Vodafone Cellular Phone Service moved up to fourth spot. Association of Mutual Funds in India(AMFI) entered the list at fifth spot.

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IPL finals on Star Plus and Star Gold: Has Star hit a masterstroke?

The network has been quite tactical in using the winning combination of cricket and bollywood along with the widespread reach of Hindi GEC to garner maximum viewership for the finale

The decision of Star India to air the finale of IPL on its Hindi GEC Star Plus and Hindi movie channel Star Gold with a star-studded show preceding, it has undoubtedly raised the chances of the network hitting the jackpot.

Upping the glamour quotient, Star has roped in actor Ranbir Kapoor to host the show, which will also see other big stars such as Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandes, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja taking to the stage.

The move clearly shows that the network has been quite tactical in using the winning combination of cricket and Bollywood along with the widespread reach of Hindi GEC to garner maximum viewership for the finale. Airing the grand finale on a Hindi GEC would definitely bring in a lot of default audience, which will be a win-win situation for both Star India, as well as the advertisers.

Industry experts too feel that move  would work out well for Star.

Sandeep Goyal, owner of Mogae Media, said, “Attracting viewers on a Sunday evening is always a challenge for GECs. That is why you don't see a regular serial or great programming on a Sunday evening. Channels generally put up a movie or an award function to boost the ratings. Star India is using the same strategy by putting up IPL along with a lot of bollywood content around it. Airing the final on a GEC will enlarge the audience many folds.”

Also, now, one cannot help but wonder if the combined might of a Hindi GEC and a movie channel will bring in more viewers for Star than Sony MAX, which has contributed to IPL’s success in the past?  Last year, 69 per cent of the IPL viewership came from MAX.

Mayank Shah, ‎Category Head - ‎Parle Products, feels that Star’s decision to air the final on Star Plus and Star Gold will definitely garner higher viewership this season compared to the earlier edition of IPL when the matches were shown only on a movie channel.

“Apart from Star Gold and Star Plus, they will also air it on AsiaNet and Star Pravah. So all put together, it will give a higher reach,” said Shah.

Besides attracting more eyeballs, the viewership of the finale will also be undoubtedly skewed towards women. This is because GECs predominantly have female viewership.

Shah observed, “If you look at the hike in viewership this IPL down south, I think, the good numbers are coming from women viewers because we are talking about non-sporting channels as well. They are getting reasonably higher female viewership. With Star Plus and Star Gold also coming in, women viewership will definitely increase. The combined might of a GEC and a movie channel will surely ensure a higher reach, unlike last year when it was shown on a movie channel MAX.”

Goyal also pointed out that the spot rates for the finale match could be higher. “For the advertisers, this extended reach is a bonus. The reach of Star Plus is higher than that of Gold. But together the two will make sure that they get a different set of audience. It’s a good strategy,” he said.

Vynsley Fernandes, Director, ‎Castle Media, said, “The advertisers must have been taken into confidence for the Sunday feed. It's a sweet deal for them. The kind of ratings that the event is expected to get, I am sure any advertiser would be happy to consider a premium.”

Fernandes, however, feels that it is Sony that has lifted the game. “They made IPL a universal sport and Star India is just taking it one step further.”

He continued, “When Sony purchased IPL, they brought it as an entertainment property on MAX and not as a sports property. It was not shown on the sports channels initially. It was aired on Max, which was a movie channel.”

“Star India, meanwhile, has leveraged its huge network and took the game one step further. It has completely disrupted and brought IPL across eight languages and 17 channels. It's a fantastic move. But they could do it because they have the leverage. They didn't want to push off in terms of putting playoffs and semi-finals on multiple channels therefore lose advertising revenue,” he added.

“It' still in the experimental stage and they are leveraging their network. They are obviously going a bit slow because the last thing you want is to cannibalize your own product in terms of advertising revenue on the other channel because at the end of day it's all advertisement-driven not necessarily subscription.”

So, without doubt, the combined strength of Star Plus and Star Gold peppered with Bollywood glamour has all chances of hitting off well with both advertisers and viewers.

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