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Emvies 2009: Hitting the IPL for a six

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media | August 20, 2009
Maxus presented a case study on Indian Premier League at the Emvies 2009 judging round

GroupM agency, Maxus has been very aggressive in familiarising India with DLF Indian Premier League (IPL), the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) ambitious venture, conceived almost as a response to Zee Entertainment's rebel format, Indian Cricket League (ICL).

On day two of Emvies 2009, the media agency presented its case study on the IPL campaign, titled 'Indian Premier League - Weapons of Mass Construction', nominated in the Best Integrated Campaign category.

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The clear mandate from IPL chairman and commissioner, Lalit Modi, was to deliver TVRs of 6, matching the ratings for a one-day international featuring the Indian cricket team; or expect the remuneration to be half.

Thus, the agency was faced with the task of turning the cricket-crazy nation's attention to a little known format of the game.

Vying for notice amid star-studded primetime television shows, and with skeptics raising doubts after ICL failed to garner enough interest, the focus clearly was on entertainment, rather than interest in the game.

Waging a 'war across all media', the agency's strategy focused on fragmenting its prospective audience, urging them to cheer for one of the eight teams featured in the League.

Promotions began with telecasting the live bidding of players by each team, which fuelled interest for the concept. Promos were aired, showing supporters of various teams pitted against one another. Moreover, throughout the series, live 'RJ Wars' were aired on every radio station in the cities that were competing in IPL.

Outdoor promotions included over 168,000 square feet worth of hoardings. Fan clubs were created and ticketing was done through local contests. Social networking websites were abuzz with fan groups and discussions. The Yahoo! homepage, too, was less than subtle in promoting IPL.

The results were better than what Maxus had bargained for. The series got 2.1 billion eyeballs, with 102 million people watching an average of 21 matches. Over 79 per cent occupancy was recorded for all matches in the stadia.

The IPL website was among the 20 most visited ones in India, surpassing the reach of the English Premier League's site. Networking sites, Orkut and Facebook (combined) saw over 600 consumer generated groups.

Moreover, 65,935 mobile users downloaded the 'IPL Karmayudh' ringtone, while 818,000 users chose it as their caller ring-back tone.

The campaign also boasts of 526,512 column centimeters of unpaid press coverage. IPL also caught considerable international attention, with people from over 212 countries accessing it on the Internet, generating more than 50 million page views.

The average TVR for the tournament stood at 6.3, while the final match registered ratings as high as 12.5.