IPL deal will give great salience to our brand over the next five years: Paytm SVP

Shankar Nath on sealing the IPL deal and why offline media spends shouldn't be overlooked in India

e4m by Madhuwanti Saha
Updated: Mar 14, 2018 9:00 AM

With Paytm biting into the lucrative  IPL pie by being signed on as the official umpire partner for the next five years it’s clear that that cricket will remain one of the key elements of its overall market and brand strategy. This was a pretty smart move on the part of the digital wallet owned by One97 Communication, as they are in their fourth and final year of the title sponsorship rights of cricket matches in India. “It ensures we have association in cricket even when the current engagement with BCCI comes to a close,” says Shankar Nath, Senior Vice President, Paytm who shared that the first partnership went ‘fantastically well.’ That deal was worth Rs.203.28 crore.

Nath shared that the IPL partnership entitles them to do branding on umpire’s uniform which comes with a host of benefits including side-screen presence. Nath pointed out, “This will give great salience to the Paytm brand over the next five years.” Moving ahead they will create stories and build narratives around use cases (read train and flight booking, movies tickets etc) ensuring the brand remains ‘young, vibrant and energetic.’ For this a combination of offline (TV, print, outdoor and radio) and digital media will be used. He hasn’t ruled out TV campaigns in the month of April and May which ‘may use IPL as a medium.’ “But that’s too early for us to comment on. But through this we have ensured that there is a significant on-ground presence amplified through television,” Nath adds. On ground, different activations will keep happening.

So far the BCCI association has worked well for Paytm across three areas. “When we started in 2015 it gave us a lot of stature because only by the virtue of their association a lot of consumers who saw us in the online world otherwise now noticed us in the offline world. Also we were on top of the mind of the consumers for those six months from 2015. On the day there was a cricket match app downloads would go up by 3-4X. We are the top app in the country in terms of downloads during the cricket season,” he says. For Nath, IPL will further strengthen the brand recall for the next five years especially among youngsters who are into T20 cricket.

The company is well placed in the partnership game with tie-ups across 100 consumer ‘co-promos’ brands across different categories so far. It’s a win-win for both. Nath explains, “Brand benefits because we subsidise the cost of promotions while Paytm acquires new users and Above the Line (ATL) presence. This is one of the large contributing factors for Paytm being one of the most downloaded apps. There is a big pipeline of partnerships in retail, FMCG and consumer space, which will keep getting announced.”

Talking about media spends, he pointed out that in a country like India they cannot be restricted to just the digital platform. “Whether you are an offline or online brand you cannot escape TV, print and radio here. It varies between two third to one third for offline versus online on a broad level," says Nath.

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