We have seen a very good ROI on our IPL spends: Avik Das Kanungo, Games24x7

Kanungo, Director-Brand & Marketing Strategy, Games24x7, says the company will run ads on TV, Disney + Hotstar, digital platforms and traditional performance marketing channels during live IPL matches

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Apr 2, 2021 9:05 AM
gamign24

The fantasy gaming sector in India has witnessed quite an uptick in the last few years. Case in point being the Indian Premier League. While the sporting extravaganza was earlier dominated by telcos and handset makers, since the last year, it is the gaming category that is pumping in huge sums of money. One of the players from the category that seems bullish on the property has to be My11 Circle, the fantasy sports platform of leading online gaming company Games24x7. From rolling out multiple commercials starring Indian cricket captain and its brand ambassador Sourav Ganguly to creating impressive digital experiences, the brand has been betting big on IPL, and is quite bullish on IPL 2021 as well. In conversation with exchange4media, Avik Das Kanungo, Director – Brand and Marketing Strategy, Games24x7, speaks about ramping up spends, utilizing inventories to put across the right communication to the cricket-loving audiences and cutting through the clutter.

 

Edited excerpts:


Why is Games24x7 bullish on IPL yet again after the last edition?

Last IPL was, of course, a little different for the fantasy sports category as Indians were starved to see live cricket action for almost five months. Therefore the interest levels were very high, which got reflected in the TV and digital viewership numbers of IPL 2020. Our success in the last IPL was not only for the carefully planned 360-degree marketing plan but also the product innovation we had in the form of Play with Champions. As a brand, we believe in the need to promise our players to give them something new, fresh and exciting every IPL and this time also we are heavily banking on our new proposition that we have planned for fantasy players in India. We are bullish about this year's brand new campaign. We think this IPL will be equally big in terms of interest level as it is back to India again, and there is also a World Cup to follow.

 

Does the brand plan to buy inventory on both Star Sports and Hotstar?

We will be launching a 360-degree marketing campaign this IPL — a mix of brand advertising and performance marketing. Our ads will run during live matches on TV, OTT platform Disney + Hotstar, various digital platforms, social media and traditional performance marketing channels like Facebook, Google Display Network, Youtube, etc. The campaign's objective is to reach as many cricket-loving audiences as possible with this first-of-its-kind proposition. Simultaneously, the optimized performance marketing efforts will complement the same in completing the funnel in terms of leads and conversions.

 

Could you share some innovative branding/marketing strategies that we will witness as we go forward?

In our view, an essential thing in such big tournaments is to break the clutter as properties of this scale attract a lot of advertisers, often from competing categories. A fresh creative thought process to grab attention and at the same time communicate the brand proposition crisply is going to be very important. Last IPL, we had scheduled our inventory at strategic match moments and have built and produced our commercials so that it captures that exact cricketing moment. For instance, toss is a critical moment in the match and is super important for a fantasy player. We, therefore, clubbed the two moments for being relevant and grab attention at that very important moment. This is just one such example.

 

What is your marketing budget around IPL? How much will be the spending on digital and broadcast?

IPL will remain the most important tournament for us. Last year, we spent around 60% of our annual budget on IPL. This year IPL spends in terms of percentage of the yearly budget will go down, as this year we will have an IPL and a World Cup. We will try all available mediums to reach out to as many sports enthusiasts as possible. IPL is a two-month-long tournament, so it is hard to put spend spilt numbers at this stage.

 

What has been the ROI from your association with IPL in the past?

If you are talking about the association in terms of advertising on IPL matches, then, of course, we have seen a very good ROI on our IPL spends. In IPL 2020, we doubled our player base during just the tournament period, which shows the potential of such a big event for a brand like us.

 

Do you also intend to run IPL-related brand activities on social media platforms? Could you share details of the same? As many consumers might not be able to be at stadiums, how is the brand looking at engaging them through the digital space?

The experience of watching a live cricket match in a stadium is something that cannot be replicated. Fantasy sports as a product complements a live match very well in terms of user engagement, and we are a digital product. So we think the very nature of the game we offer helps a cricket fan enjoy the live match even more as he/she will continuously be thinking about the possibilities in the game and how his fantasy team will score as per that. In terms of fan engagement through digital events like meet and greet, we will try our best to reward the most skilled players on our app.


How do you see all these activities benefiting the gaming category?

All of our efforts are to keep our users engaged and entertained while they watch their favourite game. Games are now the new form of entertainment for large sections of India, and it is increasing at a rapid pace.

 

IPL 2021, like every year, will have a huge list of advertisers. With so many brands and so much happening, how are you still ensuring that your brand will break through this clutter and manage to garner the expected brand-recall?

As we have mentioned earlier, we believe in product innovation, and our strength is to translate that innovation into a well-structured marketing campaign. This IPL also we have planned a fresh proposition for the fantasy players. We have also planned our creatives in a very interesting way that we are confident the fantasy audience will like and relate to very quickly. However, at this point in time, we can't reveal more details about the campaign.

 

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