Cricket is religion in our country and what has become more of a rage amongst the youth now is the IPL T20 Championship. This new form of cricket, in its sixth season now, is also a gala time for brands and retailers which they can cash on. Known as the world’s "richest cricket tournament”, not just in terms of players’ fees, the show poses a huge opportunity for brands, retailers and even restaurateurs to create visibility. Though short lived, these brands are leaving no stone unturned to achieve the best of visibility.
Consumers wear the fever
The game is growing bigger every year with over 100 advertisers last year the number has gone upto nearly 170 brands this year. Pepsi, the beverage biggie has churned out some huge numbers and turned out to be biggest endorser this year. It took over the title sponsorship in a new five-year deal valued at Rs 396.8 Crore, and also tied up with eight out of nine IPL teams to become their exclusive beverage supplier for the season. Every brand in some way or the other is trying to woo the consumers, direct or indirect, which involves youth both men and women; and children. While some brands launch merchandises which make the consumer closer to their favourite teams or players, others bring in special offers. One such brand is Puma, the sports lifestyle brand, which tied up with the new entrant Hyderabad Sunrisers and unveiled a range of complete sports ensemble. Rajiv Mehta, MD Puma India, says, “Keeping in mind that green gives a sense of order and balance, we introduced the Green ‘2013 T20 range’ this season”. Not just sportswear brands, the famous kids brand Disney, joined the bandwagon and introduced ‘Mickey Cricket’, a limited edition merchandise range to woo the little ones. Joined by Sachin Tendulkar (‘Master’), Harbhajan Singh (‘Bhajji’) and Lasith Malinga (‘Slinga’). Disney will also run a special consumer promotion titled “Scratch it!” during this IPL season to offer a special opportunity for fans to meet Mumbai Indians players, win free tickets to Mumbai Indians matches and take ‘Mickey Cricket’ merchandise home.
Even for brands that are not directly connected, are ensuring that they make their strategic launches while consumers are glued to their TV watching the game. For instance, ITC, Marico, Godrej and recently even new advertisers such as Ruchi Soya are targeting IPL this season, as they launch new products for the season. Sandipan Ghosh, AVP Marketing, Consumer Brands Division, Ruchi Soya Industries, said, “This is the first time that the soya brand of Nutrela is being advertised on IPL and we have picked certain matches during the tournament to build visibility for the brand”. In fact, there are companies who are on wait-and-watch mode before investing in IPL. For instance, powdered drink concentrate maker Rasna has assigned Rs 35crore ad budget for the summer but is not jumping on the IPL bandwagon immediately.
From what they wear to what they eat
From retailers bringing in merchandise, a many restaurants vouch on this season and bring in special offers and also at times special items in the menu to woo the cricket lovers. 72, a renowned lounge bar in Mumbai has come up with an all new IPL menu where in their specialties are named after various teams and players. Some of the names include Kolkata Knight Riders spring rolls , Tendulkar's crispy fried mushrooms, Pizza Super Kings, Sunriser's Hyderabad Prawns, Royal Rajasthan Platter, and others.
While on the other hand, newly opened Zebaa, came up with various snack and drink packages including Bouncer, Googly, Stumped, Hat-trick and Power Play. The lounge has taken a step ahead and changed the design and ambience keeping the sports in mind including team flags and a faux cricket pitch made to give the feel of a cricket ground.
Another example is Uber, a lounge Delhi, with its focus on team Delhi Daredevils, has come up with IPL special drinks and dishes, a few of which are: Viru's mixer, Tangy Warner, Pathan swinger, Exotica Devil's platter and Daredevil alla pizza.
Optimum use of the platform
There is a large customer base that needs to be targeted, so brands are ensuring promotions through stadiums, television, radios and even strongly through social media. One such research was done by Drizzlin, which looked at major brands advertising in IPL 2013 and how they performed on Facebook during the first week of IPL 2013. According to the research, Pepsi and Cadbury Dairy Milk were one of the best performers when it came to percentage increase in engagement. The growth in the number of people talking about the brand on Facebook exceeded 300 per cent, as these brands intensely focused their strategy around IPL.
Takeway: Move beyond the 54 days
The important fact is that most big advertisers are leveraging social media with incremental budgets to connect with their audiences in a short tenure of 54 days, but it is need to be understood that they are actually connecting with the consumer minds or not, as it is not a matter of IPL only. The product visibility and their appearance is also an important aspect. However it is important to stretch and draw out this equity from a short tenure of 54 days onto the full year ahead. Harish Bijoor Brand expert & CEO, said “IPL is a mega-mela of eyeballs. It happens every year and has a short life span of 54 days; brands have tried a fair bit this year from on ground to on television activation”.