With the third season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) a mere two months away, SET Max has begun the hype and hoopla associated with the tournament. The channel, which, like the previous two seasons, has the broadcasting rights to IPL-3, has nearly sold out its advertising inventory.
The broadcaster has flagged off the first phase of the campaign, which is based on the homecoming of the Twenty20 tournament.
In the second year of IPL, the venue had to be shifted to South Africa, on account of the General Elections in India in April 2008. This lead to significant revenue losses - fewer people visited the stadiums in South Africa, than those who would have turned up if the tournament were held on home ground. There was also an apparent feeling of loss among fans in the cricket-crazy nation.
The first phase of the campaign includes eight short films, the crux of which is that the cricketers, namely, the captains of the IPL teams, are glad to be back in India to play the tournament. It is titled 'We missed you too'.
The first film features Shane Warne, captain of Rajasthan Royals, winners of IPL-1. It is shot as a narrative - Warne is shown doing push-ups, while the VO (Warne's voice) talks about how the team is glad to be playing in India. He goes on to say that the change in venue wasn't very lucky for his team, and the fact the IPL-3 will be played in India again means that the team could recreate magic.
The other films, too, talk about how the captains have missed the home-ground - India.
The films have been shot by Arun Gopal of Storytellers. The team at JWT and the production house had to coordinate the dates and times with the cricketers, since each captain could give only a couple of hours for the shoot.
The first phase will bank heavily on the eight films. These ads will be aired on major TV channels and cinema will also be used.
In the previous two campaigns for IPL, SET Max focused on the craze for the game. However, this time, the focus is the sense of loss that the cricketers have felt. Sneha Rajani, executive vice-president and business head for SET Max, says that the change in venue last year led to a feeling of disappointment in the public at large; and that is what motivated the channel to make the venue as the hook for the current campaign. "But the feeling of disappointment isn't one-sided; it comes from the players as well," she adds.
The aim of the film is to capture the feeling of IPL, the craziness associated with the tournament in the country and the passion that will be felt when it is played in India, shares Debu Purkayastha, vice-president and senior creative director, JWT.
SET Max is also on the lookout for a junior host for Extraa Innings, the live wraparound of IPL-3. Digital activities on YouTube and Facebook are going on for this purpose.
Gaurav Seth, vice-president, marketing, SET Max, shares that various media will be used to publicise the homecoming of IPL-3. "The IPL is a major property for SET Max and the activities that the channel will carry out will encompass major media vehicles," says Seth.
The end of February will see the announcement of IPL on outdoor hoardings, print, on-ground and digital.