afaqs!

IPL: McCann to cheer for Team Mohali

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 31, 2008
IPL seems to be making all the news at the moment and McCann has just won itself a fat piece of the IPL pie. The agency plans to create a multimedia campaign for Team Mohali, complete with a brand identity and anthem

McCann-Erickson & #BANNER1 & # has ended the financial year in a sporty way: It has won the creative duties for Kings XI Punjab, the Indian Premier League's Mohali team. IPL reviewed a couple of agencies before settling on McCann for Team Mohali. The team is backed by actor Preity Zinta and industrialists Ness Wadia, Mohit Burman and Karan Paul. Yuvraj Singh is the captain, and Tom Moody, the coach.

According to Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman and regional creative director, McCann-Erickson, South and Southeast Asia, the business win was a result of a presentation that showcased Team Mohali's strengths, and how these could be leveraged to the team's benefit.

Prasoon Joshi
While IPL may well be the next big thing, there's no ignoring the fact that a new category has been born, which leaves advertisers and ad agencies groping in the dark for the perfect strategy. Joshi isn't ignorant of this. In an exploratory mood himself, he says, "The biggest challenge for us is to make the team popular."

Whether the target group will be restricted to Mohali locals or the country as a whole is yet to be seen, though Joshi is more in favour of the latter. "We mustn't forget that the core ingredient of the brand DNA in this case is cricket," Joshi explains. "As long as that is in place, all the eight IPL teams will be able to make brands of themselves."

There's just one hitch - each team will need some special attribute to differentiate itself from the other teams. In Mohali's case, McCann has plans to use Punjab's inherent cultural qualities of warmth, passion and colour in its communication. According to prior media reports, Kings XI Punjab will have the image of a shield with roaring lions as its logo.

Preity Zinta with Ness Wadia
Every adman's dream would be to lend a personality to the game, the way the Brazil team has to football. "People watch Brazilian football even if the team loses," says Joshi.

He explains that rivalry, conflict and even team spirit are going to be generic values for IPL's advertising. According to him, the IPL adverts will first have a generic feel to them; the team personalities will emerge later. "It's similar to the mobile industry: First the category was built and the use of cellphones was highlighted. Brand building happened later," Joshi explains.

It will also be a task to popularise the club culture in India; abroad, concepts such as Manchester United for football have worked miracles, but whether IPL can replicate this success is still to be seen. "The club culture will happen in India, but in a very different avatar," says Joshi. "I think it has been region specific thus far." So, it would be interesting to see if a Delhiite will cheer for a Bangalore team if his favourite player is in it.

"We'll wait and watch what kind of consumer emerges out of all this; the consumption pattern isn't defined at all in this category," the adman declares. There is also the risk of celebrity cricketers in the team becoming more popular than the team as a whole, but that is a risk that has to be taken.

Interestingly, Joshi has worked with all the Team Mohali owners at some point. With Zinta, there is the film connection (as also the early Perk commercial on which they worked together). He knows Wadia from his Britannia days, and Burman has been a longstanding Dabur client. The long associations seem to have led to a comfort factor that ultimately helped McCann score brownie points.

Whether Zinta's star power will be highlighted in the team's communication is being contemplated at present; a decision is likely to be reached soon.

McCann will develop the team's brand identity, anthem, jingle and a multimedia launch campaign. The anthem is likely to be in English or Hindi, as the aim is to give it mass appeal.

For the record, O&M is in charge of IPL's overall brand campaign, while the individual teams are being assigned to various agencies.

The Mohali team is a mix of national and international players such as Brett Lee, Irfan Pathan, S Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Romesh Powar, James Hopes, VRV Singh, Kyle Mills, Luke Pomersvach, Uday Kaul, Yash Gandhi, Tanmay Srivastava, Karan Goel, Ajitesh Argal, Simon Katach, Sunny Sohal, Pankaj Dharmani, Sahil Kukreja and Wilken Mota.

Team Mohali recently appointed Avian Media as its public relations agency and Wizcraft as its activation agency.