‘Lending a balance of 8 languages, regionalisation is the biggest thing in IPL for us’

Hyundai's Virat Khullar, and Innocean Worldwide India's Shiveshwar Raj Singh and Vivek Srivastava talk about leveraging the incoming IPL 2021 for Hyundai's smart cars campaigns

e4m by Raushni Bhagia
Updated: Apr 1, 2021 6:10 PM
Hyundai's Virat Khullar

In November 2020, Hyundai Motor India launched the latest variant of its successful hatchback brand – All New i20. The car quickly shot to the top becoming the Car of the Year. A disruptive product, it was well-received by the consumers. It also got a lot of attention from the viewers of the Indian Premier League on TV in 2020, as it was heavily advertised.

Along with i20, the auto manufacturer also promoted two other campaigns using the full expanse of IPL. Giving more insight into the marketing strategy, Virat Khullar, Group Head, Marketing, Hyundai Motor India, said, “IPL 2020 was a welcome change - a revival of live sports, the biggest thing on TV was returning during the festival season. The Indian economy was bouncing back. It was the right time for advertisers to latch on and engage in festive cheer. Auto industry experiences were really strong secondary sales in the festive period. It was a perfect match for us to be a part of IPL 2020. It gives a lot of opportunities –a single brand build or a multi-brand build over 60 days. We staggered the long period of 60 days into three campaigns.”

Hyundai Motor India did spot-buys on the tournament for its smart cars campaigns (Choice Zaroori Hai); launch of Hyundai Venue; and the All New i20. The company used the full breadth of the property to animate the entire entry range. “It was the right property at the right time for us,” added Khullar.

Speaking more about how IPL 2020 on TV fit in for all three campaigns, he explained, “All the three campaigns had a central gravity of sub-10 lakhs. So, demographically, the TG was male-skewed. The over 400 million reach of IPL is primarily male, but the interesting part of IPL 2020 is that it witnessed a good amount of women and youth as viewers too. As it dominated the single screen household, it was a crucial opportunity. Today while car buying is mainly the decision of the male in the house, there is a very strong influence from the other members.”

Auto is a high involvement category. Plus, cars are large products. Khullar feels that the large screen video format is only available through TV buying. “On TV, you can index in the election over a reality show, do regional buys, primetime/ non-primetime impact can be measured separately. There is huge amount of science and measurability on television. Hence we are strongly balancing TV in our media mix. OTT is growing, but I believe it is still a lot of catch-up TV. Plus, regionalisation options in IPL today are huge dealmakers for us. We see significant growth coming from regional markets like the Southern market. IPL’s balance across eight languages is crucial. It isn’t targeting a specific TG or psychographic – it is a fairly broad base. Plus, considering the CPTs we get, it is the strongest place to be on television,” said Khullar.

The auto giant has been partnering with IPL in different ways, over the past many years. Khullar added that it connects with the brand vision and resonates with its consumers in India. And, it has always resulted in numbers too - be it on the sales side, or the brand KPIs. Hyundai has also become the No. 1 SUV manufacturer in India. “This tie-up gives us performance, capability and the association you can do with the cricketers– it connects like no other. IPL makes perfect sense here.”

Hyundai Motors was an associate sponsor in the tournament’s debut season too, in 2008. Barring a few seasons in between, it has been on IPL throughout. Over the years, it has done spot-buys and associated with surround properties. Depending on the messaging and brands it wants to promote, the brand chooses whatever format gives maximum engagement and high recall.

“From a demographic and psychographic point of view, we have to catch up to the evolution of TG. We are getting more women buyers, younger buyers, newer buyers due to the need for personal mobility over shared mobility. Customers are buying into newer technologies. IPL has been filling these need gaps over the years. It did the best for us in 2020 since it came during the festive time which is a natural booster for the category. April-May is generally slow for auto, but IPL does help in fighting this lull,” explained Khullar.

Completing 25 years in the country, Hyundai enjoys a high brand awareness. The major challenge is now about consideration, purchase intention amongst others. The company has to be ready for the fence-sitting consumers. “If they walk in the market, we should be on their minds. If they are yet to arrive, our awareness levels should be even higher. IPL is used in a conjoined manner to help with both,” said Khullar.

Delving deeper into IPL, he said, “It is a combination of the right threshold buy, the right surround engagement and the best creative. IPL is the Super Bowl of India. You have to make the best for the buck. It should give the ROI better than planned. So far, IPL performances for us have been great.”

By virtue of their implicit marketing role, the intent of the creatives was to do justice to the brand positioning, the TG and yet stand out in the competitive milieu.

Elaborating on the creative ideas, Shiveshwar Raj Singh, NCD, Innocean Worldwide India, said, “The lure of the i20 was brought forth vividly in the tagline -Born Magnetic. It had to be brought alive through a fast-paced story doing justice to the proposition even in the shortest version. For Hyundai Venue, a hip millennial vibe was strategically honed into a funky portrayal with a catchy music score and a never before feature called Intelligent Manual Transmission dovetailing into the communication. With the Choice Zaroori films, the idea was to achieve both brand endearment and consumer preference in a reassuring yet dramatically entertaining manner.”

Speaking about the impact, Khullar said, “All five of our brand parameters moved after the campaign. We had very good research recall on our advertising and good movements on our funnel parameters. We witnessed double-digit growth in inquiries. While we attribute business numbers to a combination of increasing market mobility, IPL and festive season, IPL was beneficial in driving awareness and consideration.”

About the importance of IPL and the impact of the campaign, Vivek Srivastava, Co-Managing Director of Innocean Worldwide India, further added, “Hyundai had taken the strategic leap much before other brands in the category to appropriate in its communication themes, the younger consumer cohorts across various segments. With high viewer involvement and stickiness, IPL is like a jackpot of sorts for the audience across the models. Not only does it meet the numerical needs of demographics, but also tapes up the finer qualitative aspects of psychographics. The tracking studies clearly bring out the important accruals to the marquee brand and the various models advertised during IPL by way of recall, brand associations and a favourable disposition towards the brand on key buying factors.” 

Sharing his experience and learning, Khullar suggested that brands coming on IPL must ensure they have a certain threshold of spends. “Else, there is a fear of getting lost in the clutter. Plus, the creative matters a lot. IPL is a part of the full piece. The other pieces network, product, availability and all should also be fully sorted. It’s not a straight line, but there are enough and more success stories to learn from.”

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