IPL - Not ‘FREE’ But A ‘HIT’ For Advertisers

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2524 , Published on 18 June 2012

Indian Premier League (IPL) is a tournament which came into existence in 2008 and instantly became successful as it was based on the fastest form of cricket. The first season got the highest Television Rating Points (TRP) ever for any cricketing event in India. Media buying agencies pronounced IPL as the biggest advertising revenue spinner for every year. The trend of successful IPL seasons is continuing and season 5 was no different from that in attracting millions of eyeballs.

Amid blaring horns and screaming fans, advertising in IPL has been full of innovative ideas and fresh products every season. Due to these brilliant and creative ways of advertising, maximum eyeballs are attracted towards these ads. IPL is majorly about a captive audience. It's a great marketing tool for the upcoming brands to make their products visible quickly. But for getting this visibility on prime time television for few seconds the advertiser had to pay hefty amount.

What people are more likely to hear during the eight-weeks of nonstop cricket?
Players name? Team Names? Commentator’s names?

No they will hear ‘Karbonn Kamaal Katches’, ‘DLF Maximums’ and ‘Citi moments of success’ instead. Using these innovative advertising techniques the little-known handset manufacturers such as Karbonn Mobiles and Micromax are leveraging IPL to increase visibility. The advertisers have used IPL successfully to launch new and innovative campaigns, build awareness.

Even the established brands are using this platform for increasing their market share. The advertising agencies specially design campaigns for every season because it is all about coming up with a clutter-busting idea. If we think of the most innovative and cost effective advertising campaign created during IPL then only the ‘Zoozoo’ campaign comes to our mind.

Vodafone first introduced this popular animated character in the year 2009 to promote the value added services and this continued in the next season also in the name of ‘Zoozoo II’. IPL 4 saw the introduction of ‘Super Zoozoo’ which was basically introduced for launching third generation, or 3G, services. The popularity of ‘Zoozoo’ helped Vodafone to sell merchandise around the campaign.

Vodafone was not the only Brand King, all major players in the mobile operating industry were part of the Mobile 20-20 advertising battle. Idea and Airtel came up with creative campaigns like ‘An Idea can change your life’ and ‘Hare k friend zaruri hota hai’ respectively. Aircel roped in Indian Captian MS Dhoni as its brand ambassador for the campaign. Top Telecom Service Providers spend somewhere between one-tenth and a quarter of their annual advertising budget during IPL that lasts almost two months.

This year with the in the number of high-speed internet users such as owners of 3G-enabled phones and tablets, it is expected that the number of users watching IPL online will increase and this is encouraging the advertisers to go online. Advertising on internet is very efficient because it measure the numbers and effectiveness on a continuous basis. Another encouraging point is that the entry cost in this sector is very low as compared to television and it also has a lower risk.

Virgin Mobile came up with an advertising campaign with over 100 films created for the digital media exclusively; each film not exceeding 15 seconds, it was named as ‘Indian Panga League’. This was the most successful viral advertising campaign during the IPL season as it attracted six lakh views on YouTube in 30 days.

IPL has now developed into a bigger and better brand; it has also developed a niche audience for itself. Now the pressure is to sustain the brand image as there is potential stress for IPL in future.  The long-term commercial sustainability of the IPL brand and its franchisees will be the biggest challenge, as IPL popularity will reach its threshold and the whole idea will be subjected to stress tests. The advertisers will also have to cautious in deciding their advertising spend during IPL as the current and potential fan base will be exposed to various game formats and other sports as well.

It’s not just cricket nor it’s just entertainment, it is “Cricketainment” for the viewers and the advertisers have to capitalize on this opportunity. They will have to be innovative in advertising campaign development, overall product positioning and delivery medium so that they can target the global fan base of IPL. The commercial success of any brand will largely depend on the development of brand value governance principles and policies, optimization of the cost and lowering of risk involved in order to create long-term brand value.

This article has been authored by Anagh Agrawal from GIM.


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