Will OOH branding hit a sixer this IPL?

OOH experts share that IPL will be a big draw for branding on billboards this year with a surge of 25 % in OOH spends

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Mar 18, 2021 9:07 AM  | 5 min read
OOH IPL branding 2021

2021 has started on a positive note. With a hybrid work environment of WFH and an in-office system in less capacity in place, OOH branding has seen a positive response from clients (brands). OOH has seen a positive bounce back, In Q3 quarter filings OOH companies witnessed a 30% pre-COVID rate revenue filings and OOH experts told us that by the end of Q4, they expect it to be more than 60%-80% more in terms of the previous quarter revenue.

IPL 2021, is scheduled to commence on April 9th, 2021 in Chennai and will wrap up on May 30th, 2021 in Ahmedabad. This two-month period can be a holy grail for OOH advertising and a great marketing mix strategy if incorporated strategically. Last year wasn’t that glamorous for OOH-IPL advertising owing to the pandemic economic woes. Now, OOH experts are betting on IPL 2021, the pandemic year might have been a test match for OOH branding but this year looks like billboards will be on a winning streak.

e4m spoke to OOH Industry leaders to get a low down on the on-site facts and figures about this year's relationship with OOH-IPL branding.

Fabian Trevor Cowan, Country Head, Posterscope India cited that IPL is one of the most premium sporting events in the country and its legacy and brand value are still very much intact.

Cowan, sharing his expectations for this year's IPL-OOH branding, remarked, “It is no secret that last year’s truncated event too brought in the viewers in handsome numbers. Given that there is no reason why the buzz around it won’t be as good as it has always been his year. Even from an advertising point of view since most of last year was bereft of any grand opportunity. I believe brands will patronize the event significantly well.”

According to Dipankar Sanyal, CEO, Platinum Outdoor, IPL this year will be a big draw for brands. Sanyal sharing data with us stated, “Till 2019 IPL and related brand campaigns did not have a significant share of the spends during the period the sporting event was conducted. Our AdEx shows only 0.32% of the spends was IPL related in 2019. However, this year we are seeing some traction for campaigns related to IPL for various brands across categories. In 2020 activation during IPL was a total washout. We expect to have more activation though not at par with 2019 levels. There are restrictions still and that will hinder the activation spends but still way better than 2020.”

Rahul Biswas, Group CMO, EMV explains that with the vaccination drive in full throttle in India, the brand sentiments are on a high, which is evident by the number of campaigns that are ongoing and the ones coming up.

Biswas commented, “IPL is more than just a sport, it is an agglomeration of Sportsmen, Business Tycoons, and Celebrities. Brands have always loved to be associated with IPL and have never missed a chance to highlight such associations with a campaign.”

Biswas sharing his insights on this years IPL, said this year will attract more brands than last year because of two key factors:

  • Market Sentiments are better
  • IPL is happening in India

On a different note, Atin Gupta, Managing Director, Atin OOH sharing his perspective according to his clientele says, “We are already receiving inquiries from various IPL stakeholders for an OOH media campaign. I estimate demand to be lesser than last year especially with the uncertainty regarding the increase in Covid-19 cases, especially in Maharashtra. Our expectations from the IPL is around 50% - 60% of last year.”

Gupta, summing up his expectations and sentiments of this year's IPL, said, “The OOH industry I feel is already picking up, I see a lot of inventory occupied. I don't think the OOH portion of the IPL will be big enough for any turnaround, it will be a small piece but several small pieces can end up making a fantastic story.”

Changing the branding field from traditional OOH to DOOH
Digital has been the holy grail of survival not just for OOH but the overall media industry. Especially, during the pandemic year of 2020. The opportunities that brands can explore are endless and DOOH with its high-powered data insights can provide a better call to action from consumers. Giving brands a better bang for their buck.

Talking about his experience and reactions from clients, Gulab Patil, Founder, and CEO, Lemma, said, “We are getting a positive response for our real-time solutions wherein brands can simulcast their IPL brand ads in sync with real-time moments such as wickets, 6's, 4's and other similar event triggers on DOOH, especially at restaurants and pubs. In addition to this brands are looking for solutions that help amplify the brands association during the IPL wherein media decibel volumes are high and brands need an outlet that lets them outshine in a clutter-filled space. There is an uplift in demand vs last year given brands can plan ahead of time as the country gears up to witness the biggest sporting event. This year's IPL is already creating massive excitement with the audiences and thus the brands. As stakeholders of the OOH industry, we can be assured that the IPL will bring in some exciting campaigns this year, bringing in some relief to the industry."

Biswas, telling us how DOOH can provide high-powered campaigns, remarked, “What's interesting is the way DOOH is used by the brands and consumed by the audience. API integration for Live Match Scores, Brands sponsoring content on DOOH, Sharing real-time selfies and fan moments are few integrations that we are doing for brands in this edition of IPL. Brands have already done content sponsorship deals with us sometime back for IPL. To sum it up during this IPL period OOH will see a surge of 25 % in brand spends compared to March 2021.”

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