The ICC World Cup 2015 has ended, but the cricket fervour is on the rise, thanks to the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), starting today. Multi Screen Media is using all its marketing muscle and amassing as much advertiser support as possible for the big-ticket property.
The Big Push:
For its biggest on-air property, MSM has left no stone unturned on the marketing front. Vaishali Sharma, marketing and communications head - Sony Max and Max2, says that, this year, it was critical for the network to build excitement around the tournament, maintain the scale it has and strengthen the emotional affinity further.
The channel rolled out its television campaign in phases. "There was World Cup this year, and we had to be very conscious of the fact that there will be lot of cricket."
Conceptualised and created by DDB Mudra, the first set of commercials were short prequels that set up the whole premise and idea that come every summer, in April, all viewers know it's time for IPL which is 'India Ka Tyohaar'. A couple of days later, the network released an anthem that was run across the network. "The anthem was a bridge between maintaining our brand identity of the way Sony Max and Six have positioned the tournament. At the same time, weaving in very beautifully into the anthem was an emotional connect with the viewers that revealed 'ismein hai dilon ka pyaar, yeh hai india ka tyohar'," Sharma adds.
Next, another layer was added to the campaign, harping on the point that 'festivals bring people in the country together'. "IPL is even a conversation starter between people. It was mnemonic wherein two different kinds of people were coming to make a heart together in the film," she says. The Pepsi IPL anthem has been translated, for the first time, in four languages - Tamil, Kannada, Telegu and Bengali.
In the third phase - post the World Cup - a set of three slice-of-life films were released that looked into the different aspects of 'Ismein Hai Dilon Ka Pyaar'. The ad films were aired on close to 70 channels outside the MSM network, across genres including Hindi news, English news, music, youth, kids channels and regional channels.
There will be IPL screenings happening in 16 cities including Agra, Hamirpur, Ludhiana, Surat, Udaipur, Kanpur, Allahabad, Bhopal, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Guntur, Warangal, Belgavi and Indore.
The network has partnered with Radio Mirchi for an activity called 'IPL ki Chutti', stating that on every big festival there is a holiday and this is the biggest festival of all. The idea being that everyone is asking for a chutti, including the radio jockeys, to celebrate 'India ka tyohar'.
The activity asks listeners to vote for a jock's chutti, and finally, the winning jock gets a day off on April 8, and he/she enjoys this chutti with the listener watching IPL. The activity is being carried out in the six metros.
Besides, on OOH, a cricket pitch measuring 120 feet has been placed at Mumbai and Delhi airports. There will also be a countdown timer lit up by LED lights placed at Juhu Chowpatty (Mumbai). At the onset of the match, there will be live firecrakers. At Juhu, near Hotel Tulip Star, there will be a hoarding with the heart mnemonic with a projection of pictures within, as well as a photo booth under it where couples can get their photos clicked. These will be projected on the hoarding (only on April 8). Besides, a powerful projection van, while driving slowly around Mumbai, will be projecting the 'India Ka Tyohaar' on building walls.
A two-week outdoor activation plan has been set for Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.
Suraja Kishore, executive planning director, McCann WorldGroup, is appreciative of the marketing campaign. "I like the idea of 'India Ka Tyohaar'; it is a great articulation of celebrations and emotions connected with IPL and cricket. It is a big idea; while the earlier campaigns did capture the excitement associated with IPL, the new one is more than just a song and dance idea. 'Dilo ka pyaar' captures the emotional connect we have and 'India ka Tyohaar' illustrates that there is no bigger festival than this which is celebrated by the entire nation."
Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, licensing and telephony at MSM, says that IPL 8 is the best season in terms of the response from advertisers. "We had sold out all our inventories one week before and hence it has to be the best season so far."
IPL in 2014 had a viewership of 191 million people and generated ad revenue of Rs. 800 crore (Source:FICCI-KPMG Report 2015). The cumulative reach of IPL 2014, meanwhile, was 560 million.
MSM has roped in 12 sponsors for IPL 8 who will be consuming around 50-55 per cent of the ad inventories, as the rest will be sold as spot buys. "We have had an overall increase of 15 per cent in the ad rates," Gupta reveals.
The sponsors for IPL 8 include Amazon.in, Vodafone, Hero MotoCorp, Vimal Pan Masala, Intex Mobiles, Cardekho.com, Pepsi, Paytm, Magicbricks.com, Raymond and Parle.
The advertising deals for all the four shows have happened in a package, which means that the channel has not roped in separate advertisers for IPL's regional feeds. According to Gupta, the new markets in which the IPL will air this year are small for the T20 tournament, and the majority viewership will still come from Sony Six and Sony Max.
Rajat Mehta - president and country head, Brand and Retail Marketing, Yes Bank, a partner on IPL, shares, "IPL is the largest sporting property in India and one of the largest in the world. It is telecast in over 180 countries, and over 200 million people watched it last year. As a consumer brand, Yes Bank has a very vibrant NRI service. It's a platform avenue for us to reach out to the living room of Indians who are so closely connected to cricket. It's a global platform for the best talent in cricket. India's good performance in the ICC World Cup 2015 has added fervour to the IPL this season."
Dhirendra Singh, AVP, BPN, says, "MSM, this year, had locked most of the sponsors before the start of IPL. This reflects the demand that IPL has this season. The season is getting good support from e-commerce players. The ICC World Cup has just got over and people will like to see their favourite cricketers in the T20 format."