The brand has been banking heavily on the cricket season to target consumers and drive awareness of its sub-brands.
In India, numerous brands associate themselves with cricket, but few have maintained the consistency displayed by MRF in leveraging the sport for marketing purposes. The brand has always had its focus on cricket as a medium to drive its message. Even before the concept of influencer marketing was a norm, MRF was visible on the legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s bat every time he hit a six or scored a century. Sachin and MRF enjoyed a brand relationship that lasted for 13 years and is considered a revolution in the field of marketing.
Beyond cricket, the brand has been a consistent advertiser on television, print and outdoors for over seven decades. Speaking about the brand’s renewed marketing vision, the MRF team emphasises their intention to marry its legacy with technology while riding big on the cricket season in 2023.
The purpose behind the innovations
The team came up with the idea to run quiz contests on JioCinema during the India vs. West Indies T20 cricket series, which aired from July to August in 2023, and later extended the initiative to Disney+Hotstar during the ongoing Asia Cup 2023.
However, unlike typical quizzes aired during live matches, these did not disrupt the viewers' live match experience. Thereby not disturbing their viewing experience as well as maintaining the viewership on the platforms.
Despite MRF's well-established brand status, the team recognised the need to boost awareness of MRF's sub-brands. Consequently, the quiz questions were deliberately kept simple, yet they were designed to arouse the viewers' curiosity towards the brand.
Simanta Mahanta, Senior Vice President – Investment & Partnerships at Initiative says that the objective of this campaign was to reach out to the loyal fan-base of MRF, engage with them, acknowledge and celebrate their brand love. He says the brand also wanted to gratify them in an exciting way.
To further leverage the cricket fever in the upcoming months, they have initiated the #MRFSuperfan contest on Star Sports. This campaign asks people to share their favourite MRF experience, whether related to a purchase, their first car, or driving experiences, along with a photograph on social media, tagged with the campaign hashtag. Many lucky winners have already been rewarded with the opportunity to watch India play at the World Cup.
“People are sending us all kinds of amazing stories. People who have avoided collisions/ accidents, people who have learned to drive in the mountains because of our tyres. Furthermore, we are going to take some of these winners and when they go to the World Cup, we will create small features around them and about them with their backstory,” says the team.
As per the MRF team, this campaign not only generates curiosity around the sub-brands but also serves as a valuable data mine for the brand.
“During the India vs. West Indies series, 3.8 million people answered on average ten MRF questions. These 3.84 million people, the next time they go to buy tires, would already have researched our tyres. These initiatives will first of all give us a sense of how many people are aware of our sub-brands and what is the detailed level of awareness and consideration. However, more importantly, this is a gold mine of information about our most ardent customers. We are thinking of creating an MRF fan club and looking at creating small social media capsules of testimonials. So a lot of stuff can be possible with all these testimonials coming in,” the team adds.
Plans for the World Cup
MRF is also one of the main global sponsors of the ICC and the 2023 Cricket World Cup. This sponsorship grants the brand an upper hand in availing tickets for lucky MRF consumers. In addition to quizzes and linear advertisements, MRF has an extensive branding presence on the venue and the live matches.
“We are one of the main sponsors, so a lot of the branding is going to be ours. You will see how MRF is going to paint the town red during the upcoming World Cup. After a long time, MRF is back in the cutting-edge marketing category,” the team states.