[Interview] Abhijit Avasthi, shares how brands can disrupt and innovate this IPL

Abhijit Avasthi

“Nothing engages India the way IPL does. The action-packed games, the cricketers themselves, the inter-city rivalry, the glamour, the colors, the ups and downs in the league, the various emotions that come with such a unique carnival”

Social Samosa got an opportunity to interact with Abhijit Avasthi, Founder at Sideways Consulting, Ex-National Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather India, on the creative avenues brands can explore with IPL 2018

Excerpts Below

 

#1- How can the marketers leverage the IPL in its new avatar differently over the previous seasons and gain maximum value? 

I am very excited about the creative possibilities that have opened up this year. The reimagining of the viewing experience, both TV and digital, lend themselves to thinking of newer forms of brand engagements and innovations. We can disrupt pre & post match shows, we can innovate on the HotStar gaming platform and have a true dual screen idea. With Star turning IPL into a season, we can do programming ideas for brands. The canvas to create is so much wider this year.  

#2- How do you think brand custodians can become more creative in leveraging and making their brands stand out among the clutter?

Nothing engages India the way IPL does. The action-packed games, the cricketers themselves, the inter-city rivalry, the glamour, the colors, the ups and downs in the league, the various emotions that come with such a unique carnival, they all lend themselves to ideas that can bring brand stories alive. Whether in communications or merchandise ideas or activations, the possibilities are infinite if we stretch our imaginations.

3#- What is your view on how can the brands ride upon the unique opportunity that sports genre offers?

I think sports is such a unique viewing experience. The passion, the emotional ride, and engagement one experiences while engrossed in a game is like no other. This makes the environment in which the brand story is consumed extremely potent. It is so different from watching a serial or a show or a documentary. I think we should create work specifically for such occasions. Brands around the world have done this. On-ground activations can be fabulous. Emirates did such a memorable idea last during a Benfica game a few years back. Match analysis shows, the prep shows, these days people follow all of them. I think they can be leveraged interestingly, and conversations can be created around them.

#4- Which other campaigns as per you are some of the most impactful ones on IPL?

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We have seen some nice campaigns in the previous years. But as a standout creative campaign, I think nothing comes close to the Vodafone Zoozoos. That has truly milked the unique IPL format and the opportunity it presents. Cadbury Gems did a lovely campaign too a few years back. The branding of Karbonn Kamal Catch and Yes Bank Maximum have been very effective undoubtedly.

#5- What are typically the brand objectives of investing in a property like IPL and what metrics are used to measure the success of such a campaign?

I wouldn’t apply the typical metrics to measure ROI on IPL. It is such a unique format – to consider it only in terms of eyeballs and viewership is short-sighted if I can say so. Strategically speaking, IPL has the potential to solve so many issues. Instant national awareness, market creation, giving a challenger brand the chance to capture the mind space of a nation, giving branded legitimacy to an unbranded/unknown player, changing behavior. The IPL is such a powerful platform. Where else can you engage with 700 million people, across ages, regions, demographics, day in, day out for months !!!

 

The interview is a part of the series, #BrandsLuvIPL, featuring Top Brand Custodians and Marketers to ascertain the reach, impact and the untapped potential of sports marketing in India with reference to IPL.

 


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