‘With the IPL ad campaign, Lenskart regained its pre-covid revenue growth’

Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenskart.com, talks about the brand’s first-ever campaign during IPL 2020

e4m by Simran Sabherwal
Published: Feb 15, 2021 12:27 PM  | 6 min read
Hitesh Malhotra

In a conversation with exchange4media, Hitesh Malhotra, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenskart.com tells us how the brand’s first-ever campaign during IPL 2020 helped establish its position as an omnichannel eyewear seller.

Edited excerpts:

Lenskart took the decision to advertise on IPL for the first time in 2020. What were the reasons that led the brand to invest in the cricket property? 

After a lull during the lockdown, we were looking to get back with a big bang and reckoned that IPL would be the right opportunity and platform for our brand. We knew that IPL will have the largest viewership with the entire family getting together to watch the league. With millions tuning in to watch cricket, we wanted to make our presence felt as we believed that if we could capture consumer eyeballs during these days, it would be a good victory for the brand. 

What were some of the key objectives that you laid out at the start of IPL 2020? 

As we had reduced our advertising budgets during the lockdown, from March till September 2020, we wanted to understand how much brand equity we had lost. Hence our objective was to increase our brand value by at least five percentage points, in terms of brand awareness, brand recall and the intent to purchase. 

Coming to the campaign, Lenskart rolled out an innovative campaign, timed with the IPL, ‘Nazar Ghati, Durghatna Ghati’ which combined the spirit of cricket with the significance of clarity of vision. What was the creative insight behind the idea and campaign? 

NazarHati, DurghatnaGhati’is a popular idiom in Hindi, and we decided to juxtapose the word, Hati with Ghati, to say ‘Nazar Ghati, Durghatna Ghati,’ to convey that loss of vision can lead to a mishap. Personally, I have been a cricket fanatic since childhood and can vividly recollect iconic moments from various international and IPL matches. We listed the matches with the moments we wanted to include and reached out to the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) for the right to use those moments in our campaign.  We could not alter or edit video footages from the matches that we used. The BCCI team was supportive and understood our concept and how the context in the game fitted with the message that we wanted to convey. Though initially, it was a bit difficult for the viewers to understand the message, it caught up as an impressive, funny, hard-hitting ad. Overall our campaign worked well because the idiom expression was strong. The entire campaign — right from the concept and ideation to scripting and editing — everything was done in-house and was executed in seven days flat! 

What was the response from the viewers, particularly when it played during the matches? 

We are ecstatic with the response we got from viewers. When your visuals and creative become a part of popular culture and the audience relates to them, it shows the powerful impact of the campaign. The response on social media and digital networks where the video was popularised and published was terrific. The engagement rates jumped dramatically with 22-25% daily engagement rate whereas typically social media channel initiatives at this scale would get an engagement about 3-5% on a daily basis. We also received a lot of positive comments which credited our marketing efforts. Finally, we did a brand lift study with the Disney-Star group, and results showed that we were able to cross the benchmarks that we had set out initially.  

Can you elaborate on the overall brand and business benefits from your IPL association?

This was a brand-building campaign and the two big benefits were seen in brand lift and impact on business. On the brand lift, we surpassed the benchmarks that we had initially set and superseded that by a couple of points. In terms of business, we saw more than 25% increment in business at our stores and a 10% increment in online business. With the IPL ad campaign, Lenskart regained pre-COVID revenue-growth.

We saw incremental Google trends, in terms of searches coming in for our brand and upwards of 350% increment in searches during the period our ad ran. We maintained a breakthrough level for a four-week time period for our brand keywords. There were more searches in these four weeks for our brand keyword as compared to what we witnessed for the entire year.

 IPL is known to help brands in creating a perception shift or a behavioural shift among key audiences. How has this helped Lenskart and its connection with consumers? 

We were looked at as a solid eyewear company, which provides us with a lot of options. Today the audience looks at us in the same way as they look at a unicorn. Many advertisers in the IPL are online unicorns, who have been advertising on a large scale and people now see us in this league. They don't look at Lenskart just as an eyewear company anymore but as an innovative omnichannel eyewear seller that caters to a large audience in India. 

In 2020, IPL saw record viewership numbers. With IPL planning to return to Indian soil, what are your expectations from IPL 2021? 

With the vaccination rollout, a live audience at the stadium is an exciting proposition for IPL as an entertainment platform. In terms of viewership, IPL 2020 is still fresh in people’s minds and the gap between the previous edition and IPL 2021 is not much. However, I still expect the viewership of IPL 2021 to be close to last year's record number. 

What would be your advice to marketers in general as to how best to use the IPL platform for their campaigns to address the variety of brand and business objectives they many have? 

IPL is the most expensive platform in this country and if you don't have a creative that stands out, don't do the media buys. Second, make sure you have a very strong digital surround as this will re-establish the ad in people's head after they watch it on TV. Make sure that you're also present on other platforms and channels so that the recall and intent always keep increasing holistically for the brand.

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