Timex is on a new wicket. Come April 29, and the sports enthusiasts in India will be treated to a new concept in cricket - the Timex Challenge Left vs Right cricket match. Conceived and implemented by Percept D'Mark, the match is being touted as one that will put to rest the eternal debate - whether left-handed players are better than right-handed ones or vice-versa. The cricket match will be played at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium and will be kicked off at 9 am. The sponsor, as the name suggests, is Timex Watches Ltd.
Kapil Kapoor, managing director, Timex, awaits the event impatiently. He says, "The concept is very relevant to Timex because of its long-standing association with sports. In the US, where Timex is the number one brand, the company sponsors the gruelling Triathlon event every year. The equivalent of this game is cricket in India, as people perceive cricket not as a game but as pure passion. We were looking for a break in India to strengthen Timex's sporty image and the idea proposed by Percept'D Mark proved to be the right opportunity for us."
The Timex advertising account is with HTA, but the Timex brass claims it is open to ideas from other agencies. "We want out-of the-box kind of ideas and if another agency or a company is capable of doing so then we would gladly go ahead," says Kapoor. Does that imply that Timex is not satisfied with the incumbent agency HTA? Kapoor quickly replies, "No, not at all. We are very satisfied with our agency and hope to keep working with them."
While the event is organised by Percept D'Mark, the promotional campaign has been created by Percept Advertising. The investment on the event and advertising is estimated at Rs 1 crore. A handful of promo ads will break in the leading national dailies and a 30-second spot will be aired on the FM channel over the next few days. Navroze D.Dhondy, CEO, Percept Advertising, says "For two years we have been working on this idea. And finally it has translated into a real event. To take this idea to Timex was logical since it represented an opportunity for a sporty brand like Timex to further establish its presence among the sports-minded people of India."
The Timex Challenge is a fifty-overs-a-side match. The event will be telecast live on DD Sports. A one-hour highlight capsule will be aired on DD National Network at 10:30 in the evening. The right-handed team, captained by Sachin Tendulkar, will include players such as Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarakar among others. Sourav Ganguly heads the left-handed team comprising Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Vinod Kambli and Robin Singh among others. Part of the match proceeds will go to Sulakshan Kulkarni, former Ranji Trophy wicket keeper.
If the objective is to enhance brand visibility, then DD Sports appears to be an odd choice when compared to Set Max -which is into made-for-television events in a big way - or ESPN. "DD Sports is hardly viewed by the audience Timex intends to target," observes an industry veteran. To that, Kapoor says, "DD Sports has tremendous reach and it will serve our objective."
This is just one of the many marketing initiatives that Timex has in the pipeline. Currently, Timex is working on increasing the number of shop-in-shops from 52 to 100. To this end, Timex has tied up with Ebony and Pantaloon among others. The amount allocated for the roll out plan is Rs 2.5-crore. The company also plans to launch a new watch collection in June.
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