Overdose of Cricket in Adland?

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Published : March 25, 2016
In the past few months, we have seen a lot of cricket-based ads of which many don't make much sense. We ask ad experts if they would suggest similar ads to clients during the T20 World Cup and the Indian Premier League tournaments.

The Indian cricket team has had a busy schedule for a while now with the ongoing T20 World Cup and the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) tournaments. It is possible that viewers, even cricket lovers may say it is an overkill of cricket. And, doesn't that hold true for cricket-based advertisements as well?

With perhaps way too many brands out with cricket-based ads in the past few months, we ask ad gurus if they would still go ahead and suggest cricket-based ads to clients during the T20 World Cup or the Indian Premier League tournaments?

Arun Iyer, chief creative officer, Lowe Lintas

Arun Iyer

Prabha Prabhu

Anu Joseph

Spandan Mishra

It is not simply about suggesting a cricket-based ad to your client, but about the relevance of it and its brand connect. You can't just paste cricket onto your brand and expect people to connect just because it is cricket. That is a lazy option. You have to ensure it connects with the brand. And, that is true of advertising in general, and in cricket specifically. For instance, we have done the Google Score campaign. There is a brand connect. So, you have to be clear about what you are communicating and why.

Prabha Prabhu, chief executive officer, Madison BMB

People do topical ads to draw attention. When Kaun Banega Crorepati started, many brands used that format because it was so popular. To ride on the back of a popular topical subject is good. There has to be a perfect link and it should be strong. Clients do suggest cricket-based ads, but we need to advise them on how to do it. Suggestions are most welcome and we are open to them, but we must eventually do what's best for the brand. There is nothing wrong with the client asking for it, and we need not immediately object to it.

Anu Joseph, executive creative director, Creativeland Asia

There's nothing wrong with being topical if the brand can benefit from it. But, to make an ad around a cricket theme without any brand relevance would be wrong. The problem that I see with most cricket-based ads right now is that they are too similar and too clichéd. They become one of the many 'also rans'. The Creativeland way of doing it would be to say something fresh, relevant and surprising -- like we did with Appy Fizz when we got the brand to welcome back the Indian cricketers in a ridiculously hilarious manner when they came after the 2007 World Cup debacle. We've also gotten a brand to concede in an ad that it didn't have enough money to sponsor the World Cup, and it would rather watch the match with the fans.

Spandan Mishra, head of strategic planning, Rediffusion Y&R

It will depend on the audience I want to reach out to. I think there are some audiences that may find an overkill of cricket-based ads. Moreover, these ads need to be relevant. Certain categories are inevitably linked to product-based advertising. It makes sense for a brand to latch on to a larger movement/event that is happening, a topical subject, or a larger content to gain mileage for its product.

Since it's a three-month long cricketing season, I don't think it is a particularly bad idea to use it for brand promotions. I would recommend a Tata Motors to do it because it is a long season of cricket. Of course, it has to be done well. I don't debate that, but I don't see much of an issue in terms of amplifying my message and making it slightly more relevant in connecting it with cricket.

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