‘No matter how you divide the demographics, IPL is a universal medium’

IPL has evolved hugely in the past 13 years and is not restricted to the male TG and, therefore, has its potential to generate returns for its advertisers, said Amit Tolani, CMO, CEAT Tyres

e4m by Raushni Bhagia
Updated: Mar 16, 2021 8:55 AM
CEAT-IPL Campaign

Despite having seen many different characters that the perfectionist has played over the years, we still remember the Crash Dummy face of Aamir Khan during IPL 2020. With heavy CGI and a simplistic storyline, CEAT Tyres did manage to leave an imprint with its newest campaign – Don’t Be A Dummy. 

Best remembered for CEAT Tyres Strategic Time-Out (STO) during IPL in the last six years, the brand’s association with the tournament has always been successful, as it was in 2020. Having launched the premium range called ‘Securadrive’, CEAT Tyres intended to drive brand consideration in its audience’s minds. Set out with this motto, Amit Tolani, Chief Marketing Officer, CEAT Tyres, planned an extensive campaign on the TV broadcast of IPL 2020 to reach the core TG for his campaign. We spoke in detail about the campaign and its impact.

“IPL2020 was coming after a big gap of 4-5 months of no entertainment. No movies, no sports and even the GECs were re-running old content. Only OTT space had fresh content, this was the first big entertainment package on TV. In addition, consumers weren’t moving around. Most affluent consumers preferred to socially distance and stayed home. It was the biggest IPL,” explained Tolani.

The Indian Premier League has evolved hugely in the past 13 years, and so has its potential to generate returns for its advertisers. Tolani explained how it has grown from a property for cricket lovers to a more universal package today. “In today’s context, it is a complete entertainment, not restricted to the male TG. It is family viewing shorter format sports content. Whenever IPL is on air, it completely takes over people’s entertainment consumption. And, if you are consistently present on IPL, communicating your message on this platform, then it is going to cut-through.”

Expanding further on this, he added, “For a lot of people, sports is the biggest source of entertainment across the globe. India has a special affinity towards cricket and IPL is the front runner. The love for IPL cuts-across generations, influencers and family members. So, no matter how you divide the demographics, IPL is a universal medium.”

Rohit Dubey, Group Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather, said, “As Aamir was on board, the idea had to take into consideration his persona. We wanted to do something that excited him and the brand. CEAT has been open to newer and out-of-the-box ideas. We had to ensure the treatment and language was in line with the premium audience. With CEAT, we also have to consider that these films run on airports and stations (on mute). So the visual had to be really intriguing.We were focusing on the discerning audience who knows the technicality of the tyres and is more aware.”

CEAT Tyres first signed on as the STO partner in the 2015 edition of IPL and has been on the tournament since. It has been a very profitable affair for the brand, considering its continued partnership. In IPL 2020 too, the brand was the STO partner and it had spot buys. CEAT was present on digital and print, despite the low circulation of print. On digital, it leveraged its association with cricket. “CEAT Cricket Ratings is one of the oldest properties in cricket. We have been associated with the sport for a very long time, and IPL makes it stronger,” Tolani said further.

“Our association has become synonymous to CEAT Tyres Strategic Time-Out, even the commentators call it that. IPL is a very big property and many brands want to grab the consumers’ mindshare. Our endeavour was to break the clutter, and everyone wants that. So, we have to make sure that our brand stands out. With Aamir Khan on board, we have gained phenomenal cut-through in this IPL. If you approach it from a wholesome experience perspective and want to break through the clutter, there is no better medium that IPL on TV,” said Tolani.

Tyre manufacturing category has been a constant in cricket and in IPL. It is the need of maintaining constant touch with the consumers that makes IPL a crucial element in CEAT’s plan. Buying tyres is not a planned, well-researched decision. It is more need-based or grudge purchase. In such a scenario, the top of mind recall helps in a big way. Tolani, hence, stresses on the need to be in customers’ consideration bracket. “To achieve this, there is nothing better than IPL. The frequency, duration, sustainability, the interest in all matches, it is just the perfect property to bet on.”

CEAT’s average search queries increased 7 times, while the consideration for the brand in the passenger car category went up by 22%. The top of mind awareness grew by 87% through the campaign during IPL 2020. So, the objectives that the brand set out for, were achieved. IPL forms a very significant chunk of the brand’s marketing spends and Tolani assures that it was worth every penny. “Since this campaign, we have consistently been at the top,” he added. With a new product and Aamir Khan, the brand clocked a jump of about 30X in search queries in the first 15 days of the tournament, considering it was the biggest IPL. 

“Our market share and revenues have been great after this campaign. The third quarter, when IPL happened, has been our strongest quarter, in terms of business and revenues,” said Tolani. As per the consolidated quarterly financial results of CEAT Tyres, net profit for Q3 2020-2021 was Rs 132.34 crore, up from Rs 52.50 crore in Q3 2019-2020. “We also saw a spill in other categories. So, while we advertised about premium tyres for Sedan and SUVs, we also saw an uptick in the hatchbacks and two-wheeler space. So, from the brand metrics perspective, we have seen a serious uplift after this campaign on IPL on TV,” he added. 

Dubey added, “It is thrilling to create TVCs for the IPL audience. It is challenging in a good way. It is not the run of the mill audience. You need to make something that’s courageous and stands out. Clients today are ready to take those bold steps. Now, everyone understands that there has to be entertainment along with the brand messaging.”

Every year on IPL, many new brands try to leverage the massive reach of the tournament. While many of these are repeating brands, many others are first timers too. As a word of advice to other brands, Tolani said, “Generally, people come to IPL from a visibility perspective. It has an unparalleled viewership. It’s best if you want your brand and product to be known to people. But many brands are aboard IPL that can beat you on the frequency or spends. So, you have to be very clear about your messaging and try to do a 360 degree campaign. Don’t diffuse the effect by approaching IPL with multiple communications or different products. If possible, build a long-term association.”

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