The TVCs of IPL 2014 are built on the insight that no matter what one is doing, he/she will drop it to watch the IPL matches.
Millions of Indians have grown up following cricket, not just for casual entertainment and fun but as an all-consuming passion that takes priority over everything else. When the Indian Premiere League (IPL) was launched in 2008, the fans' love for cricket went a notch higher. The T20 format pleased the male segment, who are ardent fans of the sport, and also roped in females and kids, making the tournament by far one of the largest followed in the country. Its appeal was enhanced through its association with famous Bollywood celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Preity Zinta.
The first leg of the IPL 2014 campaign highlights an interesting insight about the importance of the tournament in people's life and how they can drop everything they are doing instantly, to go and watch the match.
Titled 'Come On, Bulaava Aaya Hai', the campaign kicks off with a series of four films set in diverse situations featuring different protagonists, reaching a crescendo with three surprise films and culminating in a final Bulaava film. The first two TVCs are out, while the other two are expected to break soon.
One of the TVCs show a girl who is possessed by a spirit. The evil spirit refuses to heed the priest urging it to leave the girl's body. However, as soon as it hears the IPL signature tune, it runs out to watch the match. The second TVC shows a son sitting by his ill mother, who reveals that the man in the photo frame on the wall isn't his father. Instead, his father could be one of the three people whose photos she shows to him. The moment the son hears the IPL tune, he tells his mother to decide on who exactly his father is, and runs to the salon to watch the match. Both the films end with a voiceover that says when Pepsi IPL calls out, one will have to come!
Neeraj Vyas, EVP and business head, Max, says, "In India, nothing supersedes the passion for cricket and during the IPL, that passion rises to an all-time crescendo. That is where we draw our latest campaign 'Come On, Bulaava Aaya Hai' emphasising that irrespective of anything that takes place in your life, the calling for the IPL will always reign supreme. This enthralling campaign coupled with world class talent on display is sure to entertain our viewers through this edition of IPL."
The focus of the campaign this season seems to be more on the entertainment side and less on the relevance side. Vaishali Sharma, VP, marketing, Max, answers, "Yes, we have used an exaggerated form of entertainment and humour which I think really builds hype for the IPL. These are just the first two films of the campaign. There are three more that will follow. In all, there is a good mix of ads in the campaign. While two are built on the factor that highlights there will be more entertainment this year, the next two are more on relevant situations."
The brief given to the agency was to ensure continuous and regular viewership of the IPL through a sustainable and integrated campaign, to build engagement into the heart of the campaign with a clear call to action, to make it large, humorous and appealing to a mass audience.
According to Shavon Barua, president, West and South, Havas Worldwide India, this is primarily a commitment building campaign for IPL. As this year's IPL is around the elections, it was important to sustain interest and engagement with a series as opposed to running one commercial for a sizable duration.
The research involved in this campaign is a combination of TRP analysis and consumer dipsticks. "Our target audience is defined as the social athlete; those who love to watch sport for its entertainment and fun quotient. Our research has revolved around doing depth interviews with social athletes from different parts of India, with a combination of metros and smaller towns," Barua adds.
While two of the commercials have been released, there will be a 360-degree campaign in the coming weeks including radio, print, outdoor, digital and activations. In fact, this year, the campaign was first launched on digital media precluded by teaser-like posts on Facebook and Twitter. There will be a song and dance number integrated with Extraa Innings. Through all of this, one will notice the signature 'collar lifting' as the sign of IPL ka Bulaava. The broadcaster has earmarked 15-17 per cent higher budget to promote IPL's seventh season, as compared to the previous season.
Sharing about the execution of the idea, Barua says, "It was a joy shooting this campaign across different locations in Mumbai and Kolkata. While we were shooting the Aatma film, the entire set was in splits throughout the shooting. Every time the possessed little girl finished her take, she would start laughing. It was great fun shooting this commercial in a rather spooky-looking bungalow."
Call to action?
According to Pandit, the campaign will work better than Jumping Japang on a few counts. "Jumping Japang was just a sound burr which caught audiences for sure. But it became expected after a few spots. In some ways, celebrities overshadowed the idea and hence it was a bit over the top. This idea will not be repetitive. The approach is refreshing; since it is based on 'real life' situations it's easy to relate with. Surely it will appeal to the masses and every time one will wait to see what the funny twist in the story is."
Meanwhile, Samit Sinha, managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting has a different take on the execution of the campaign. He believes that given the product itself (IPL and 20-over cricket) is more entertainment for the masses (rather than a serious art form for the purists), the advertising language is not inappropriate. "But if I were to find fault, it would be more to do with the crude execution and low production values, rather than the idea itself."
"I believe the objective of all IPL campaigns in general is to create anticipation and generate excitement, leading to higher viewership. Last year's Jumping Japang campaign seems to have been oriented to increasing audience involvement and this year's campaign tries to do more of the same. The creative format in both campaigns uses hyperbole and over-the-top situations to try to make this point," Sinha concludes.
IPL 7 will be aired on SET Max and Sony Six, starting April, 16.