Debashish Chakraborty
Brands and Sports marketing

“IPL’s exposure on television is far more superior to other mediums…” Ajay Motwani, Adani Wilmar

We spoke to the chief marketing officer about Fortune Foods’ expectations from the season, leveraging broadcast, advertising trends, the involvement of young brands and more.

With multiple young brands like Dream11, CRED, boAt, Lenskart, Upgrad, associating and leveraging IPL 2020 broadcast, it would be fair to ask why such an increasing interest and where do traditional brands stand on it. afaqs! spoke to Ajay Motwani, chief marketing officer, Adani Wilmar to understand the brand’s partnership with the biggest T20 broadcast event in the world. The marketing head of the legacy group takes us through Fortune Foods’ association with the event, importance of broadcast, involvement of young brands, TG, trends in advertising and favourite campaigns.

Edited Excerpts:

Tell us what were your expectations from this season? What parameters does a brand from the FMCG category consider before coming onboard?

IPL 2020 was a major sporting event that was held during the pandemic. In the 6 months or so after the initial phases of lockdown, so we were expecting the viewership numbers to be high. And for us as an FMCG brand, it’s not just the viewership numbers but other parameters like market share, year-on-year growth, top of mind, spontaneous awareness and other internal growth measures – and we’ve seen those improve.

An interesting observation we’ve seen during our association with the event is that in spite of Fortune being a female-centric brand, we’ve seen IPL catering to these audiences especially with everyone working from home including women. Traditional edible oils like sunflower, soya and mustard oils are female-centric purchases while oils like rice bran and healthcare have seen involvement from men as well in buying. Hence, broadcasting IPL on television becomes a family viewing event and thus caters to a large TG - and we’ve seen the same being reflected across various measurable parameters.

Fortune has been one of the top advertisers on IPL, what’s your understanding of the importance of broadcast and how do you think brands should leverage it?

With television, the quality of exposure is far more superior to other mediums like Radio or Print. The impact is also significant as compared to other mediums. During IPL, we reduced our spend on these two mediums and focus more on television and digital. Our media mix is majorly television followed by investment on digital platforms.

Since a majority of the audience was confined to their homes, could you share some interesting insights about the outcomes/trends you’ve noticed in your advertisements?

During IPL, one could find a lot of fast-paced or shorter ads on television due to the cost that is involved. There is an umbrella campaign approach where there are multiple facets to one campaign that run during the course of the event. As compared to pre-IPL or post-IPL, a campaign could run a longer course, but during IPL, more creative ad films are being created with a common messaging communication. This approach works well both in terms of impact as well as is economic. And because one can’t communicate all in 10 or 20-second ads, creative understanding and execution are extremely important.

We have seen that advertising on TV around IPL has created several successful case-studies in the past. What would you say sets advertising on the IPL apart, from other content genres?

Earlier we’d seen female viewership on television drop during IPL but now there has been a significant change with the building interest around the sport and the league. A marketer with a female-centric audience would spend on GECs and reality shows a few years back, now he/she would want to be associated with the sports genre. Today, if I had to allocate budgets to advertise on television, I’d do both GECs and sports – which wouldn’t have been the case a few years back.

What’s the recipe to make a campaign noticeable? Tell us about some of your most favourite brand campaigns on IPL?

During IPL, a brand has to ensure that it passes on its message in a 10-20 seconds ad spot (on television). The idea has to be extremely sharp and crisp with a creative flair to it. Also, a single ad is not enough to create an impact and has to be vertical advertising and campaign approach. The Zoozoos from Vodafone (now Vodafone Idea) or the Swiggy Gulab Jamun ads are a good fit as they deliver various messages but the overall agenda or final impact remains the same. For example, if an auto brand wants to advertise its new car launch, it cannot fit its entire specifications in one communication but various ad films promoting different flagship features.

IPL today has become brand-agnostic with marketers from across sectors – be it FMCG or fantasy gaming; young or traditional - willing to partner with it. What’s your understanding of this high interest?

Events like IPL offer a great opportunity for brands that have something new to offer and are looking for explosive growth. It makes sense for young brands which are still in the developing phase and release new products or services quite frequently partner with IPL and leverage the broadcast medium. But even for legacy brands like Fortune, we’ve been actively adding new products to our categories of edible oils, soya chunks, atta, basmati rice, gram flour (besan), pulses and much more.

“IPL’s exposure on television is far more superior to other mediums…” Ajay Motwani, Adani Wilmar

The kind of exposure that IPL offers is definitely alluring for a lot of brands irrespective of the segment or age.

Who is your favourite team?

I’m a Bombayite, hence it will always be Mumbai Indians.