Yash Bhatia

WinZO seeks to associate with Pro Kabaddi League to expand its reach in Tier-II, III markets

Kaushik Thacker, strategy and growth, WinZO, talks about the recent campaign, media mix, marketing strategy, and more.

Earlier, social gaming meant sharing screenshots of high scores, or bragging about scores with your friends. However, the concept has evolved - users are now allowed to play with real-time players, and show their skills and scores online.

Social gaming platform WinZO unveiled a campaign during the ongoing Tata Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. Titled, ‘Khiladi Ho? Khiladi Chahiye?’ (Are you a game player? Do you need an opponent?), the campaign is a humorous take on how people in India want to play games against a worthy opponent. 

Conceptualised by Cellar Door Production, the campaign’s ambassador is MS Dhoni.

The platform has 10 crore users, who can select games from genres such as fantasy, arcade, racing, casual, sports, board games, and action games.

Talking about the campaign’s narrative, Kaushik Thacker, strategy and growth at WinZO, says, “We wanted to narrate the message that if you’re not on WinZO, you’re missing out on something, as we’re the market leader in the segment. We conducted consumer research and found that post-COVID, communication isn’t just being done on regular/video calls, but nowadays, people hang out via online gaming as well.”

“We’ve already captured 20-25% of smartphone users, and wanted to communicate this message through our campaign.”

When asked about the IPL association, Thacker mentions, “The campaign was designed keeping the IPL in mind. The combination of an entire GEC segment, with high impact shows like ‘Big Boss’, ‘KBC’ and ‘Khatron ke Khiladi’, the IPL will easily surpass the reach, in terms of numbers.”  

He believes that nobody tends to watch the entire match religiously. The users usually have a phone or laptop with them. So, the brand was looking to run an IPL campaign, as it can create an easy recall value. Users may use their phone to play a short game on the platform.

The 18-24 age group forms 60% of the platform’s users, and 30-35% of the users come from the 25-34 bracket, Thacker adds.

The campaign’s media mix is 60:40, in favour of digital (JioCinema) and television.

“Last year, during the IPL campaign, our split was 80:20, where TV formed the bigger chunk. Disney Hotstar was behind a paywall then, but this time around, JioCinema is free and through it, we can reach out to many users,” Thacker highlights.

WinZO wants to advertise on digital to create brand visibility. The click-through rates on digital are low, as users watch the matches on their device.

Marketing strategy

Other than IPL, the brand is also looking to associate with the upcoming World Cup.

“We’re banking on the ICC World Cup, as it’s being held in India this time around. Also, we’re looking to partner with Pro Kabbadi League (PKL), as our target group is from Tier-II/III cities. Through this association, we can easily reach out to them,” shares Thacker.

Is IPL a cluttered space for advertisers?

During IPL, the ads mostly seen are of fantasy platforms featuring cricketers. In result to this, there's a perception in the mind of users, whenever there’s an ad with any cricketer during IPL, the chances are higher that the ad would be of fantasy league. 

Thacker states, “It was a conscious call to portray WinZO as a gaming platform, and not a fantasy platform. The fantasy league is a monopolistic market dominated by one player. We were looking to place ourselves as a gaming platform and convey that we are the biggest, in terms of users.”     

On the creative side, how’s the brand looking to stand out among the cluttered fantasy league ads?

“Last year, we launched five ads, featuring Dhoni. Four out of five portrayed him as a normal person, and not as a cricketer. We’re not going to use Dhoni as a cricketer, the moment we do that a user would get a thought that this association would be related to a fantasy kind of thing.”

WinZO flirts with brand ambassadors

In January 2022, the brand roped in YouTuber Carryminati (Ajey Nagar) as its ambassador. Then in February, it announced another YouTuber Bhuvan Bam (BB) as its ambassador. And, in March, Dhoni was roped in. 

Thacker shares, “BB and Carryminati are different kinds of influencers. The former is more into normal content creation, whereas the latter is a gamer. With Carryminati, our purpose was to capture all gaming users in India. With BB, the idea was to capture entertainment-seeking people across the Internet,” says Thacker.

“In Dhoni’s case, nobody can beat him, in terms of reach. For the IPL campaign, we decided to sign someone who’s ‘No.1’. Carryminati and BB are our digital ambassadors, and Dhoni is our national ambassador.” 

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