As IPL made a comeback in the post-pandemic world, viewers & marketers were quick to on board. But, has this ecosystem too changed with the impact of COVID-19? With #SSIPLWatch, we find out...
When IPL was first announced in July-August, a project led me to research the correlation between sports tournaments and global crises. Summer Olympics (Austerity Games) for instance, were held after a hiatus of 12 years due to World War II and is till date looked at as a manifestation of human resilience. Comparing this example to the current situation wouldn’t probably be fair, but it helps set the context.
The arrival of IPL was generally met with positive consumer sentiments. The reasons are rather obvious - the lockdown did not diminish the demands, it saturated them. The pour over of these pent up demands is now evident for most products - IPL was no different.
With the first real opportunity for creating a marketing campaign to sell and not just communicate (lockdown campaigns were mainly around connecting with consumers) , brands latched onto it quickly. The marketing game however, was largely debated. Industry experts on various occasions questioned the quality of IPL campaigns and the approach taken by brands.
CRED, of course, became the hero of this conversation as the FinTech startup rolled out an INR 100 Cr campaign focussed on mass awareness during IPL. Does the campaign work? Why is a startup spending so much? Is the product function clear? Questions were rampant but visibility high. Is it enough though?
Which brings me to my second and more pertinent question. In the current scenario what is the barometer for measuring the performance of a campaign?
Consumers have changed, accept it, adapt...
Consumer sentiments change everyday with a pandemic at the fore. Content consumption patterns are dynamic and even erratic. So, how do we know if a brand campaign performed for the brand and their consumers? Working in the A & M industry day in and day out leads us to find many campaigns monotonous or pointless - but what about the consumer sitting in Roorkee and scrolling through Facebook while humming a rap anthem he heard in the advertisement of a face wash? The earworm of an anthem stuck with him to the point that he bought the face wash.
Measurement parameters have changed because the consumer himself has changed. Thus, we decided to go to the source itself. To decode why a brand has invested in a campaign or associated with six different IPL teams, we spoke to the brand itself with #SSIPLWatch.
IPL and its strong digital presence (in the form of UGC on social media and online streaming)
#SSIPLWatch is a series of interviews, features, and observations created with the sole purpose of understanding how brands approach IPL marketing and why it works for them. We also attempted to understand general AdSpends sentiment. Our observations are mainly around IPL teams and how they conduct their social media plans like a brand - the product they sell being the team and the sponsors who pay for the visibility. Oh yes, social media visibility is now a major part of sponsorship deals and is evidently visible across the handles of all teams.
The pandemic has changed various aspects of the industry, IPL marketing including. While bigger changes are yet to be consolidated and reported, the smaller but tangible ones are evident in the brand approach.
Read on. I hope #SSIPLWatch is as insightful for you as it was for us.