IPL: Time to settle your scores

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 12, 2012
IPL Season 5 is set to begin on April 4. A couple of ad campaigns for the cricket tournament have already started doing the rounds. While SET Max has upped its ad spends for its IPL campaign by 20-25 per cent, the BCCI has increased its ad budget by 30 per cent. afaqs! explores the communication spurt.

Pre-IPL fever is catching on and a large slice of the credit ought to go the flurry of communication that has begun hitting TV screens. Ads for both SET Max, the channel that will air the series, as well as for the IPL, the channel's prized property, have started creating waves.

With an idea that deviates from last year's humour-driven 'Bharat Bandh' campaign, this year, JWT has created a four-film ad campaign for Max, with 'Aisa Mauka Aur Kahan Milega' as its tagline.

The ads position the IPL as an event that can bring families together, alleviate awkward silences between strangers, give children a chance to get even with their parents and help friends be there for one another.

While the current set of films, like last year's pre-IPL campaign, has used humour as a tactic, Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer and managing partner, JWT India explains the difference between the two. "This year, the campaign brings out how IPL-viewers bond over the infectiousness of T20. The films are funny in a 'life observational' way, not so much in a 'jokey' way," he says, adding that the recent films intend to move people.

Steven Mathias and Priya Pardiwalla

Insisting that the humour used in this year's campaign lies in a very relatable space as opposed to last year's over-the-top humour (something that Max is known for), Steven Mathias, associate vice-president and senior creative director, JWT, says, "This time, we wanted the IPL to have more credibility and touch people's lives."

Priya Pardiwalla, vice-president and senior creative director, JWT, says, "The insights used and the stories depicted in the films are drawn from very real experiences."

The four films are a precursor to the channel's key, IPL-driven TVC that will be released shortly. afaqs! has learnt that the channel has upped its ad spends by 20-25 per cent in comparison to the spends for last year's pre-IPL campaign.

Bobby Pawar

Abhijit Avasthi

Dhiren Amin

Rajeev Raja

Besides JWT's campaign for Max, Ogilvy's TVC for the IPL has been released, too. The campaign carries the proposition, 'Yeh IPL Hai Boss!' and attempts to capture the magic of the game. The ad shows how two school boys chance upon an amusement park full of rides and games that symbolise ace cricketers' pet moves on the field, such as 'Dhoni Dhamaal', 'Vettori Twirler', 'Viru Whammer', 'Slinga Malinga', 'Pathan Pounder', 'Gilly Funda' and 'Master Blaster'.

Ogilvy India conceptualised this campaign based on the consumer insight that the IPL is the future of cricket and entertainment. The agency's national creative director, Abhijit Avasthi shares how the creative team decided to go along with the idea of likening the IPL experience to a fun-filled evening at an amusement park.

"An evening spent with the IPL is a crazy time. Every match is a series of ups and downs, twists and turns, screaming and shouting, and anxious and exhilarating moments. So we thought, 'Can we possibly compare the IPL to a day spent at an amusement park, given what a rollercoaster of a ride each game is?' The film evolved from there," he shares.

This campaign, while primarily TV-led, will see bouts of press ads that will feature each IPL team separately. These print ads, however, will be an extension of the original concept of 'the IPL carnival' as shown in the TVC. An insider reveals to afaqs! that the BCCI has increased its ad spends for the IPL by 30 per cent this year, as opposed to last year's media budget for the cricketing event.

Does the communication disseminate adequate hype?

Regarding Ogilvy's Carnival film, Dhiren Amin, group planning director, McCann Erickson, feels the line 'Yeh IPL Hai Boss' works quite well for the campaign, as does the the concept of 'carnivalisation'. "The 'larger than life' execution indicates a product theme for the IPL itself," Amin says, adding that the concept is sharp and the message apt.

As far as JWT's campaign goes, Amin is of the opinion that the films are a dramatic execution of an otherwise generic insight -- that enthusiasm for the game can be the one emotion that brings together people with different, sometimes warring opinions.

Nonetheless, he battles with a perceived ambiguity. "I am unclear about the objective of the campaign. Is it to remind people that IPL is on Max? Or to make IPL a family viewing platform?" he questions, going on to hazard an answer, "It seems like the latter, in which case, the positioning of 'a common likable content for the whole family' doesn't come through."

Amin, however, admits that the execution, especially the 'Family' and 'Phuphaji' films, succeed in bringing a smile to his face.

Rajeev Raja, creative consultant, DDB Mudra opines that the carnival concept is a well executed idea that effectively captures the atmosphere of the IPL.

While appreciating the kind of scale the execution of the film connotes, Raja dissects the proposition by saying, "'Yeh IPL hai Boss' does convey the feeling of a 'one of a kind' event, but I don't think it's necessarily a long term tagline."

While agreeing that the film does indeed capture the pre-IPL enthusiasm, Raja critiques the music. "I think they missed a trick with the music. I wish they had composed something original, which captured all the fun and thrill of the IPL rather than resorting to the oft heard 'Eeen meena deeka' track," he says.

Regarding the Max campaign, Raja feels the line 'Aisa Mauka Aur Kahan Milega' works, as does the change from "the rather mindless humour of last year's campaign to a more 'real insight' based campaign". However, he adds, "I thought the situations could have been more meaningful and surprising. The idea could have been pushed further."

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