afaqs! Reporter interviewed R S Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF (Amul), about the brand’s partnership with sports, recent associations, marketing objectives, yield factor, and more.
Lately, the halo around the sporting properties in India is too big for brands to ignore. The mighty reach which taps almost every segment of the sporting loyalists acts as a treasure worth a bet. And with these events mushrooming, one sport which has gained massive attention is football.
Though the sport has been played and religiously followed for quite some time, only in the past five years or so has it thrived, and the credit for this goes to the various homegrown leagues. While these leagues have been able to reach an audience beyond metropolitans, Premier League, the global sporting extravaganza, still dominates a football enthusiast’s mind. To understand more about how brands plan to voice their preposition on this ivy league platform, afaqs! Reporter got in touch with R S Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF (Amul). In his interaction with Debashish Chakraborty, Sodhi talks about the brand’s partnership with sports, recent associations, marketing objectives, yield factor, and the future of football.
Lately, the Indian football space has been booming at an unprecedented
rate. From a brand’s perspective, how do you see this evolution?
Yes, there is traction in favour of live sports in our country. Good quality football from Premier League (PL) and other international leagues is fuelling interest amongst the Indian youth. Also, homegrown leagues like ISL, I-League and others have further stirred the scene, which has not just created opportunities for players, but also multifold the scope of the sport for sporting enthusiasts.
Before coming onboard as Broadcast Associate Sponsor for Premier League, what brand objectives and takeaways had Amul planned to endeavour from this association?
Amul has been associated with PL advertising for the last seven to eight years. With PL, it’s about the quality of the games and, perhaps, convenient timings, which provide good visibility.
I believe that different leagues have different kinds of associations. While the common approach is only through the advertising route, there is also the association of local or regional or national brands with not just the sport, but also the individual teams. In addition to that, on-ground activations, television visibility and product sampling are also part of the package. Therefore, these associations have a wider perspective as compared to pure advertising on television. These factors play a crucial role because of which there is a rise in brand partnerships with sporting leagues.
What is the target group that you plan to tap with this association?
Amul’s core TG is usually women (mainly housewives), therefore, we have predominantly leveraged GECs to reach out to them. But since we have expanded our line of products, we found that one of the platforms where we could reach out to the young audience and bear fruitful results is sporting leagues. Therefore, we have associated with sports in all forms to reach out to the millennials and the youth. IPL, EPL, La Liga, cricket team sponsorships, even wrestling, sponsorship of Indian contingents to Olympics, Asian Games, etc., are being backed by Amul to make the brand visibility and presence better and stronger in this TG over the last 10 years.
Select FC, the big screen activation, has a considerable fan base, which also gives partner brands a lot of visibility. Is there a specific line of products that you plan to display?
Amul’s advertising is primarily driven by spots on the television channel, as it is a good platform to showcase our wide range of products. An event like ISL provides an opportunity for on-ground activations as in EPL too, there is a massive scope to connect with the fans. Also, the fact is that it is first the PL connecting with its huge fan base and then Amul getting placed as the broadcasting partner. Fan engagement events like Select FC also give us an opportunity to showcase our entire range of products targeted towards youth through advertising on these sports- related programming. Amul Milk, dark chocolates, icecream, beverages, etc., are some of our recent activations in this space.
Customised activations during sporting events have increased sporadically over the years. Would you agree? And will the audience get to see more innovative and creative activations from Amul?
Yes, customised activations today play a significant role in a brand’s association with sporting properties. Our recent sponsorship of Afghanistan cricket team during the World Cup and the South African team during its recent bilateral series helped us garner more eyeballs and involvement.
We look forward to pursuing many creative activations and associations.
How do you see the future of sporting events unfold in India? How can brands make the most of it?
The future of the sporting properties in India, be it football or kabaddi or badminton leagues, are all playing a crucial role in nurturing local talents and also making the game more popular, especially among the young audience. So, we see tremendous scope for live sports in the country and consequently the association with popular brands garnering more attraction in the coming years.