ICL hopes to create the IPL magic with high-blitz marketing

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | September 09, 2008
Essel Group will leave no stone unturned this time in promoting the ICL 2; will spend upwards of Rs 40 crore

After a & #BANNER1 & # rather subdued debut last year, Essel Group's Indian Cricket League (ICL) is gearing up for its second innings. With a consolidated proposition, few learnings from last season, and Rs 40-50 crore as marketing budget, ICL plans to re-build the excitement and regain the glory it lost to BCCI's Indian Premier League, which was termed as the best thing to happen to cricket.

To begin with, there is a two-phased campaign that will roll out towards the middle of the month and will continue till the end of the tournament- from September to November. "The initial campaign will be focused on creating a build up and getting tune-ins on the opening day", says Shariq Patel, senior vice-president, marketing and operations, ICL. The campaign has been created by FCB Ulka.

Shariq Patel
The brand campaign will put the spotlight on the players. The television promos will run across the Zee Network, on key news channels and regional channels, to start with. Other genres will be included at a later stage. The campaign is aimed to put the spotlight back on the talented domestic cricketers. "It will showcase their grit and determination, where they come from and where they have reached", Patel adds. "We want them to be the heroes of the campaign and increase the visibility, so as to familiarise the viewers with the players", he says further.

Some of these players will be profiled on television, on outdoor city-specific players will be promoted, depending on which region the player is from. While print will be used for the brand awareness, radio will be used extensively for encouraging tune-ins. ICL will make its presence felt extensively online. Apart from creating portals, the group plans to associate with a few gaming portals.

ICL is in the final stages of negotiation with eBay, the popular e-commerce website, for a tie-up, through which ICL will auction off experiences. Cricket lovers will be able to bid for a particular experience; for instance - the highest bidder gets the opportunity to flip the coin during the toss prior to the match or accompanying ace commentators in the commentator's box during the match. The money, from the bids, Patel says, will go to charity. "The idea behind this is to get the fans closer to the action", he states. Autographed merchandise will also be auctioned. This will be promoted online and on radio.

Patel believes that its very important to convey a specific message through the campaign. "From our standpoint, we want to communicate what ICL as a brand stands for. We launched ICL to nurture young talent and give them an opportunity", he asserts, clarifying that entertainment will not be the peg of ICL. "That will definitely be a part of it", he quickly add. ICL hopes to focus on cricket and its cricketers. That's what the new tagline conveys- 'Cricket Hai Meri Life'.