‘HDFC Bank clocked a reach of over 90 million within our TG through IPL on TV’

‘IPL BrandPlay’ will seek to bring alive insights behind the communication and media strategy of successful campaigns that ran during IPL on TV in the past years, from various brand categories

e4m by Raushni Bhagia
Updated: Mar 9, 2021 1:44 PM

Reaching a staggering 405 million people through TV in 2020, IPL has set a new record for itself. On a similar note, HDFC Bank has its own success story to tell through the second edition of its campaign Festive Treats. The brand showed huge confidence in advertising on IPL on TV, which is a first for the banking giant, and the ROIs were overwhelming. In the months of October and November last year, the marketing team at HDFC Bank was quite busy juggling between watching the Indian Premier League matches and evaluating their ROIs. Well, the team was overwhelmed as their objectives were ‘beyond met.’

Flashback – HDFC Bank launched its offering ‘Festive Treats’ in 2019 and wanted to build this as its own independent festive brand. But wanted to do more in the following year. Festive Treats is a mix of discounts and the option of offering loans to ease the buying process for the consumers. It was to become an enabler across the spectrum of its customers. It was a wish-fulfiller kind of campaign.

Ashish Morone, SVP and Head, Marketing Communications, HDFC Bank explains, “When starting the year 2020, we were determined to take this up in a big way. But, the pandemic happened and a lot of plans had to be re-thought. However, our core objective with Festive Treats was to establish this as a word that everyone will remember. It will become something that everyone will look out for during the festive time.”

Ashish Morone, SVP and Head, Marketing Communications, HDFC Bank

He continued revealing more about the strategy, “To leave that kind of impact, we were required to be seen in a big way. And TV plus IPL is the biggest medium to build a brand in a very strong and impactful manner. I think it also resonated well in terms of the timing, because throughout the pandemic, for about 3-4 months, we had focussed more on meaningful communication to reflect our empathy to our customers.”

HDFC Bank had launched some other, more relevant and empathetic campaigns during the pandemic - HDFC Bank safety grid campaign, HDFC Bank Art project, tied up with AR Rahman to create a song about hope – Hum Haar Nahi Manenge, Our Neighbourhood heroes, Mooh Band Rakho to raise awareness on frauds and such other campaigns. As markets started stabilising and people were just re-starting to think about buying, IPL 2020 came around.

“As a balanced mix of cricket and entertainment, we knew that IPL will bind customers being the first live event after a long gap. There was a lot of positivity associated with IPL. It was going to generate the feeling of getting back to normalcy. We had to tap into this,” added Morone.

Delving deeper into the strategy of tapping into TV to leverage IPL, he said, “We picked up TV for IPL, because mass media was a clear option for us. We had to build this property in a big way across the spectrum of the target customers. TV was the obvious choice and the fact that IPL is probably the most agnostic property available in terms of the audience was an important deal-maker. Tapping into both SD and HD channels gave us a massive reach among the masses and the premium HNW (high net worth) customers. HNW segment is what we wanted to add to our mix and this year, we wanted to make sure that we reached both sets this time.”

The brand was targeting the ones who had just started earning and also those high-end customers who have achieved a lot in life and need someone to manage their wealth. So basically, 25-50 NCCS AB, semi-urban, rural and metro cities.

Speaking from the media agency’s perspective, Kaushik Chakraborty, Senior VP, iProspect emphasized, “While IPL cuts across NCCS and age groups, it delivers better amongst the younger audience and the NCCS AB, the core audience we were targeting. This fits best for us, plus we were looking for a property that helps in building reach and saliency in a short span of time and IPL was the natural choice with very high appointment viewing and reach across states.”

Kaushik Chakraborty, Senior VP, iProspect

Morone further suggested: “TV gives me the strength to reach out to the much wider segment. So much so that unlike many other sports properties, we have seen an equal amount of engagement with IPL from female audiences. Plus, the stickiness of the IPL is very high, considering the short format and the time of the day when these matches take place. It is favourable for Indian audiences.”

All in all, the relevant offers curated for the different segments of consumers, coupled with the marketing might of IPL on TV gave Festive Treats an unparalleled reach. The brand invested about 30% of its total annual marketing spends, which include internal marketing too. It was close to 50% of the annual media investment (ATL). And the objectives it set out initially were ‘more than met’.

Speaking more about the bang for its buck, Morone said, “We have not really been on IPL on television before this much. This was a first big play that we picked on TV and it made a lot of sense and it gave us amazing ROI. The kind of reach and engagement that IPL gives is unmatchable. We did add Hotstar to cover the full curve, but TV had the majority of viewership.”

By clocking a growth of 7% in the spontaneous brand awareness and another jump of over 8% in brand consideration, HDFC Bank witnessed one of the brightest things to happen in 2020. These numbers on the Brand Track study done by Millward Brown were more than twice the regular growth rates. The brand’s presence on TV during the Indian Premier League 2020 matches was hugely responsible for that. Despite the pandemic that crippled the businesses and economy last year, the brand was able to register business numbers quite similar to that of 2019.

“In the Brand Track for the third quarter of the fiscal, not only in the general banking profile, we saw our scores jump in the upper banking profile as well. Our business numbers at the end of 2020 matched those from 2019. Considering that the first half of the year was dull, it became a big win for us. I would say this is largely because of our association with the TV broadcast of IPL 2020, as we reached over 90 million within our TGat, a very high frequency. That was fantastic for us as it helped build the brand across sectors. The campaign delivered over 1.5 billion impressions,” said Morone.

The brand was able to grow its share of voice to 30% during this period in the BFSI category. The average TVR of IPL was 9 this year for (20-50) SEC AB (a 100% jump from last year). HDFC Bank also witnessed 88% more site visits for Festive Treats during the campaign period vis-a-vis 2019.

Chakraborty mentioned, “We invested in spots on live matches and associated with key cricket-based shows like Game Plan. The ad-films were short, direct and had a touch of humour to fit with the entertainment mind-set of the IPL viewers. Instead of spreading thin, we focused on the last five weeks of the tournament to maximize visibility and reach.”

The regional feeds on Star Sports also allowed them to reach geographies in regional languages thus leading to better engagement with regional audiences as well. There were a few content integrations on Hotstar, along with spot-buys on live matches.

“People remembered the brand, even when we masked the logo during research. We could successfully create affinity for the brand HDFC Bank to consumers and non-consumers or potential consumers too. It gave us the opportunity to show off the variety and quality of offers and services. The objective of TV was to reach the masses and tell them---HDFC Bank not only takes care of your money but also gives you offers and eases your burden on purchases. It’s a great bank that helps you fulfil your family’s wishes---we achieved that 100%,” added Morone.

When asked about a few words of wisdom to pass on to the prospective associates of IPL on TV, Morone said, “My advice would be to understand the reach and stickiness of IPL, before you plan your campaign. It is a massive platform with huge potential. So, any brand that wants to get associated with IPL must ensure that it leverages the length and breadth of customer segments that IPL reaches. There are no half measures. If you are into it, you sort of get into it at the optimal levels.”

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