The bike taxi app's head of marketing on how the IPL's dual-platform strategy - television and OTT - helps the brand reach two different TGs.
After two years of lockdowns and three waves of pandemic, India is finally witnessing a restriction-free Indian Premier League (IPL) this year. With this many brands, who couldn’t advertise in the last two years, are making a beeline for the greatest cricketing property of the year. Among them is Rapido, the bike taxi app. The platform had intended to advertise on the IPL in 2020, but couldn’t due to the pandemic. With the country opening up and lives going back to normal, the brand is finally advertising on the IPL for the first time.
It has planned its IPL strategy in three phases. In the first phase it has reintroduced its earlier ads featuring Ranveer Singh for the HSM market and Allu Arjun for the southern markets. In the second phase, starting from April 19, it will launch four more creatives - two for HSM and two for regional- with different celebrities. In the third phase it will be using the same creatives for the second phase.
Amit Verma, head of marketing, Rapido, says the strategy is to acquire new users and build the brand so that it can achieve its growth plan in the next six to 12 months. And IPL can provide that access to a new and huge user base.
“The last two years was not really great for us due to COVID. We had to pause our operations multiple times. But we got a very clear window after January, so we can now chase a growth path. Rapido is on a high growth charter and our strategy is to ride on IPL’s success. The commonality between IPL and Rapido is its ability to reimagine the existing ecosystem and the masses in a new format. Our second objective is to portray the synergy which comes to the IPL,” he says.
Rapido has set aside approximately $20 million for these two months of IPL campaigns. Most of this goes to television (65 per cent), followed by outdoor (15-18 per cent) and digital plus ott, which not only includes Disney+Hotstar but also other platforms like MX Player and Zee5.
For this year the brand is only investing on advertising on the IPL. It plans to do team associations and sponsorships only next year.
“We are in a phase where we want people to understand what Rapido is and what it stands for. If we simply place our logo without explaining the brand it will serve no purpose. So first we will explain the concept. Gradually, a year and a half later, we will start with branding property,” he says.
Rapido’s TG is largely male (90 per cent) in the age group of 20 to 28 year old. 65 to 70 per cent of the business comes from top eight cities, mostly metros, followed by state capitals (25 to 30 per cent), and tier-two and tier-three towns (10 per cent). Though they are not very well off, they tend to have a really high affinity towards watching cricket. So the brand advertises a lot on cricketing properties. It advertised on the ICC Men's T20 World Cup and on the India-Sri Lanka series last month.
“We’ll continue to ride on all the upcoming cricket series as well,” Verma says.
Rapido is advertising on television as well as on OTT. It has a multi-screen strategy.
“We are reaching our users wherever they are- OTT or television or some other streaming service. The users watching IPL on television and OTT are different. There is also an overlap, where they are watching both. The bottom of our TG, maybe SEC C and D, has pretty good access to a television. When it comes to OTT, because Disney+Hotstar needs a subscription, it has a little affluent TG, who have a good per capita income or a little deep-pocketed,” he says.
"When it comes to OTT, because Disney+Hotstar needs a subscription, it has a little affluent TG, who have a good per capita income or a little deep-pocketed."
It is also reaching out to the TG that doesn’t have a TV connection at home and is consuming OTT on the go.
Disney+Hotstar helps Rapido geo-target its TG. Also since it allows fans to watch it in the language of their choice, the brand can also reach out to them in their preferred language. It optimises on the regional feed for the same. So it has separate ads for the southern region and it also has the medium to portray it.
While IPL provides it a captive reach, the brand has also devised a strategy to reach those who are not watching the matches. “There is a set of users who're not watching it. So we have optimised our campaign in such a way that not all our eggs are in one basket. We have sorted the content and kept only 50 per cent investment on the IPL. We are also doing a surround campaign on other media channels, like outdoor, radio and digital, to enhance this reach and capitalise the benefits of the IPL.