IPL Brand Winners – 5 lessons every social media marketer can learn from the top5 IPL campaigns

Life is tough when you’re one of the 20 Indians that aren’t cricket fanatics. You lose out on all the animated post-match discussions in school, you’ll never be at the receiving end of the proud look your Dad has when your sister knows all the game jargon and don’t forget, you’ll never get any of the cricket references everyone around you seems to be making.

On the bright side, if you are one of the 20 people that actually enjoy the ads rather than the game, cricket matches can be a treat.

As a child, my only favorite part of the match was the 30 seconds of jingles and offers flashing while the bowler was preparing for the next over. That’s why it was a huge relief when I found out I could write about the campaigns while my colleagues discussed Mumbai Indian’s win.

Since 2008, the IPL has been a strong platform for players and brands alike to showcase their strengths. The league has given us advertising gems like the Zoozoos and continues to push brands to produce their creative best for the season.

Take a look at a few of the top campaigns that brands have created for the 8th edition of the IPL and how they adapted to reach their social media audience.

Vodafone – #vodafonespeedquiz

The telecom brand took a break from the Zoozoo’s that has been their key mascot in many of their previous IPL campaigns. Vodafone’s TVCs this year was themed on “Speed is Good”. The extension of the campaign on social media did include the TVCs being simply added to YouTube, but took a creative turn on Facebook and Twitter.

Using an interactive quiz to stay with the campaign theme, the brand scored high audience engagement. The brand tweeted over 550 times about the campaign with the hashtag #VodafoneSpeedQuiz. These tweets combined garnered over 32,000 Retweets and 26,000 Favorites. The Twitter community used the hashtag close to a quarter of a million times.

The match related question and real-time tweeting helped the brand catch the audience right when they were tweeting. They even got their heighted engagement between 6PM – 9PM which is the peak match time slot.

Kingfisher – #unitedbygoodtimes #oolalalaleo The King of Good Times partnered with 7 of the 8 participating teams. This made their campaigns and the campaigns of the partnering teams that much more engaging. Their campaign hinged on the brand’s instantly recognizable tune (“Oolalalaleo”) which united the fans,the teams and cemented the campaign. On Twitter, the brand sent out 1,000 tweets for the campaign which in turn brought in 10,000 Retweets and 18,000 Favorites. The hashtags #unitedbygoodtimes and #oolalalaleo combined were used close to 25,000 times by the brand’s followers. This was also popular among the teams that Kingfisher partners with since most of them were seen using the hashtag #UnitedByGoodTimes while posting behind the scenes photographs, videos etc. where the players were seen having a good time. So combined the brand’s campaign hashtags were retweeted over 19,000 Retweets.

Most of their tweets contained the campaign video with the players singing the tune. They encouraged followers to Dubsmash their own version and share it with the brand. We even made our own version in the office!

On Facebook, Kingfisher leveraged multimedia content to engage fans. Though the brand had contest and multiple other initiatives to complement their IPL partnership, the familiar and trademark jingle is what engaged best with their social community. 

Watching every match this cricket season? So are all your favourite players! Watch them react to moments from the…

Posted by Kingfisher on Sunday, 17 May 2015

Social media is one of the very few mediums that allow alcoholic beverages to show their products in India. Kingfisher smartly leveraged this on the right platform – Instagram. Their home-made images of a variety of their beverages made it to the social network. Using the image based platform and reminding match watchers of their favorite drink right before the game is a sure shot technique to increase brand recall and sales. What’s more? They got even better engagement than the rest of the industry.

Yes Bank – #YesBankMaximum #GuessTheTeam Yes Bank’s contest required fans to identify team logos for a chance to win amazing prizes.

On Twitter the brand tweeted over 350 times and garnered over 16,000 Retweets and 7,000 Favorites. The hashtag was used over 32,000 times by followers. The hashtag usage spiked during match days.

Yes Bank-Twitter

On Facebook, Yes Bank adapted the contest to the social network. The contest related posts performed much better for the brand than any other type of post. They also included moments from the ceremonies of the matches where players were honored and awarded.

Watch 4 amazingly played sixes in #PepsiIPL #RCBvsMI by #YESBANKMaximum Sixes Award Winner Rohit Sharma

Posted by YES BANK on Sunday, 19 April 2015


This tying in of their on-ground activities to their social strategy worked the best for YES BANK. Talking about this IPL campaign, YES BANK’s Rajat Mehta, President & Country Head of Brand, Digital & Retail Marketing said “All sixes in IPL are known as YES BANK MAXIMUM and we used the same theme in our social media outreach as well with updates, contests and exciting video content.”
To measure the impact this had, YES BANK tracked performance across several KPIS and Mehta went on to say that it “resulted in our Twitter follower base touch 5 lakh and Facebook fan base cross 21.5 lakh. On the back of innovative content formats, we saw 45% growth in Twitter and Facebook followers with ten-fold increase in engagement rates.” Proof then, that an integrated IPL sponsorship can bring about massive growth in community sizes.

Pepsi – #crashthepepsiIPL

Being the title sponsor of the entire tournament, Pepsi took their campaign to the next level and actually made it about their fans. Especially while watching sports, most audiences really don’t appreciate commercial breaks. To change that, Pepsi invited fans to create their own ads to play during the breaks. The campaign received an overwhelming response and to give it the perfect end, Pepsi asked its social community to vote for their favorite ads.

Help your favourite #CrashthePepsiIPL ad get aired on TV during the #PepsiIPL and you could win exciting goodies. Vote now: http://bit.ly/crash-ipl-vote-now

Posted by Pepsi on Friday, 8 May 2015

On YouTube, thanks to these user created videos, Pepsi experienced a views growth of 44% which was close to 5 times the telecom industry average. The videos from the finalists and winners of the #CrashTheIPL contest contributed over 12 million new views in the time period of the IPL.

ShopClues – #roarwithshopclues

Shop Clues supported the Chennai Super Kings and everything about their campaign was rooted in the team. They used the hashtag #RoarWithShopClues for their IPL campaign contest. The brand itself used the hashtag over 180 times while the Twitter universe used it close to 16,000 times. Tweets with hashtags were the ones that performed best for the brans. Since the commencement of IPL 8, Shop Clues has tweeted over 180 times for this campaign and received 4,000 Retweets and 3,500 Favorites.

Here are few social media marketing lessons every brand can learn from these campaigns:

1. Hashtags are everything. Successful campaigns have short and relevant hashtags that encourages followers to join in on the conversation.
2. It’s not just the contest with an attractive prize that works. Timing, interactivity and level of challenge must be taken in to account as part of the contest.
3. More people view your content social media content on a mobile rather than a big screen. Don’t forget to keep the images and content mobile friendly.
4. Don’t shy away from using the campaigns and techniques that have worked well for your brand in the past. Familiarity and recall helps audiences engage with brands better.
5. Audiences are eager to participate and win a chance to showcase their skills. Social media is a great place to encourage user generated content.

As brands keep pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and creativity, we can only expect the campaigns of IPL9 to be bigger and better. While the Mumbai Indians celebrate their victory, I’m celebrating the fact that I’ll once again have control of the TV at home.

Methodology: All data was compiled from Unmetric’s social media benchmarking platform for the time period of April 8th – May 24th.