Abhinav Anand
Brands and Sports marketing

TV and IPL enables revival of the advertising economy in a pandemic struck India

With several successful campaigns during the 2020 IPL season, marketers have successfully leveraged the power of TV and IPL to revive the advertising economy in India.

The pandemic has brought about drastic changes in the way we live our lives. Even as things slowly get back to normal, almost everything has changed and there is a difference that is here to stay. The pandemic has changed how people live and work. It has also changed the way consumers view products and services in India. Brands and marketers are also now thinking outside the box to explore the opportunities that this new normal has to offer. In such a position it is essential to understand what holds the competence to revive the advertising economy in a pandemic struck India.

One of the most prime components that brands and marketers have is the Television. TV broadcast still holds a mass chunk of viewership even in an era booming with smartphones and laptops. The power that TV beholds remains to be unparalleled. According to a ThinkTV benchmark series study, TV commands twice as much as active watching when compared with YouTube and Facebook, also enabling the maximum impact on sales. As TV is often utilized for entertainment purposes, the AD breaks on it were better received than smartphones, tablets and laptops due to their highly goal-oriented consumption.

When we have a clear understanding of the most ideal medium to focus on, it is important that we pick the right platform to strategize our revival on. IPL has been India’s foremost marketing platform which efficiently provides brands with the necessary support, national recognition, one-to-many powerful communication tool along with opportunity and brand integration on broadcast. This not only helps seed the brand’s overall narrative but also takes it to a completely new level.

With the backing of their proven success of the past years, IPL is the best platform for advertisers as it provides them with unmatched reach with a unique blend of sporting and cultural festivities. Even during their 2020 season, despite being in a position like never before, IPL managed to achieve a live reach of over 400 million. Benefitting from the festive scheduling of IPL 2020, categories like online shopping, home décor, mobile handsets, consumer durables, FMCG, Auto, apparel amongst others saw a surge in consumer spending and sales.

Amit Tolani
Amit Tolani

Amit Tolani, chief marketing officer, CEAT stated, “IPL is undoubtedly one of the biggest cricketing events in the world. To make it happen in 2020 was really special cos it was the first event where we saw Indian cricketers live after a long hiatus. Also, it was something positive for the audiences in the midst of a pandemic. With star’s efforts to ensure that the event is viewed across multiple regional feeds as well as Star gold, IPL has become an all-inclusive event and has helped everyone from the league to the advertisers to reach the wider audience.”

Talking about their association with IPL, Amit quotes that “We have been partners for the last 7 years now. I think the IPL has been one of those cricketing events that has been scaling the new highs YoY. This FY, we were just recuperating from the aftermath of the pandemic, but given the scale of IPL and since we believed this year was going to be special for many reasons, we launched a new campaign for our premium range of tyres; Securedrive with our brand ambassador; Aamir Khan. After the IPL, we have seen our brand scores as well as our business flourish across various parameters.”

IPL has over the years proven its efficiency in aiding the economy. According to past data obtained by the BCCI, IPL 2015 has contributed over 11 billion to India’s GDP. With factors like tourism and several other employment generations during an IPL season, it naturally aids in improving the economy of the nation. Not only in India but when IPL first went abroad in 2014 due to general elections taking place in India, it had contributed to over 275 million Dirhams to the United Arab Emirates’ economy.

When talking about the homegrown league’s astronomical viewership numbers, the 2020 season garnered the reach of 405 million viewers, which in a nation with a total TV universe of 836 is almost half. With almost half the Indian viewers having watched the 13th season, the league shattered all their previous viewership records. As the pandemic situation now has come under control and as the nation gets back to how it used to function, the upcoming season of IPL would definitely aid in boosting the advertising economy.

Cred has been one such brand that has garnered great response from their campaigns around IPL, it was also reported that Cred saw an accelerated increase in growth during the IPL season. As a brand, they have had a heavy reliance on cricket which accumulated to 86% GRPs on cricket since IPL. The brand saw over 100 million user visits and 4 times growth on Google search trends during the IPL season.

Another brand that bore fruitful results with their IPL association was the JOSH app. Their campaign had a reach of 315 million, while they also enjoyed 20 million new downloads during the IPL season. Their app saw an 86% growth in avg. downloads during IPL spot days when compared with their lowest point before IPL. PhonePe also had an effective association with IPL where they saw significant growth in new users and enjoyed a rise in market share.

Amazon also rode on the IPL wave by curating a content partnership with the broadcast partners of IPL, where their show achieved a cumulative TV reach of 50 million. They relished brand recall which helped them interweave their marketing goals using cricketainment. Ideally launched during Amazon’s marquee annual sale, Amazon Great Indian Festival, they utilised this opportunity to engage with their audience and created engaging content along with the broadcaster.

Sharing his views on how the combination of IPL and TV can help the Indian advertising economy, Atit Mehta, marketing head, BYJU’s shared, “As far as television is concerned, today we are at an inflection point from a communication perspective or a device perspective. Today there are multiple avenues for people to consume content. While we all say that the smartphone and OTT growth in the country has been at the high double digits, that does not take away from the fact that TV still remains to be the number one medium to reach out to the masses of this country.”

Atit Mehta
Atit Mehta

“With the economy opening up, advertising money is going to start flowing into the system and television gives you the biggest reach even today. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that television is the number one platform or number one medium as far as reaching masses is concerned. When we talk about IPL, it is a marquee property, you have 60 high-intensity matches and the best and biggest players coming in. So IPL is always going to be a platform that helps you to reach the maximum number of people at a very high frequency. This also gives you scalability and reach which no other platform or no other property gives you in a 5-6 weeks period. IPL and TV are a lethal combination and it works well, says Mehta.

Irrespective of the fact of when the IPL season is scheduled during the year and what circumstances prevail, brands have seen this as one of the most effective opportunities to connect with their customers and consumers. CMOs of several brands like PhonePe, BYJU’s, Voltas, etc have helped prove this with their interviews and testimonials. This gives a very clear and crisp understanding of the power TV and a platform like IPL holds in reviving the advertising economy. Not only does this mix offer brands with a greater opportunity, but also enables the brand to speak to multiple audience demographics – cricket fans, families, women, and kids which no other property can claim.