#SSIPLWatch Our collaboration with Mumbai Indians in 2019 generated significant results: Darragh Ryan, Bacardi AMEA

Darragh Ryan

Among the global brands to partner with Mumbai Indians for IPL 2020 is William Lawson’s. Darragh Ryan sheds light on the objective behind the association.

Apart from focusing on the digital avenues for reaching out to cricket enthusiasts, William Lawson’s is also experimenting with innovative formats to take on-ground experiences to the virtual arena. Darragh Ryan, Head of Whisky, Bacardi AMEA speaks at length about the various formats being explored by the company to keep the IPL buzz going and opportunities that the tournament brings onto the table.

Edited Excerpts:

What was the insight behind your association with Mumbai Indians?

The ‘No Rules’ ethos has found great resonance among our consumers through our campaigns around traditional sporting events across. Therefore, in India too, it was natural for us to engage with a sport and a platform that is among the country’s most loved and popular events.

Known for their bold, salt-of-the-earth personality, the Mumbai Indians team stood out as the perfect fit for our own disruptive persona, leading to our first association with them last year. Our collaboration in 2019 saw some significant results and we succeeded in engaging with the right consumer set through our conversations across digital and on-ground platforms.

What does the overall marketing plan for the IPL season look like? What kind of a role will social media play?

As a brand, we strongly believe in taking the unconventional route, be it for our product or marketing. Digital mediums remain a key platform for us in the marketing plan, however, we will continue to ensure that our campaigns go live through the line and engage with consumers across all touchpoints. On-ground, we will be activating through the line campaigns as we did last year in India and the UAE.

With digital being a key focus this year, we have exciting content lined up with two of the country’s boldest, edgiest influencers – Nikunj Lotia, aka Beyounick, and SquadRann created by Rannvijay Singha.

Please take us through your media mix, how much percent of it is reserved for digital?

Considering the on-going situation, our strategy across brands is to focus heavily on our digital mediums as well as to use interesting and innovative formats to take our on-ground experiences to the virtual arena.

Additionally, we have always believed in leading with our content curators and collaborating with them for their content to echo our brand’s personality, making it more organic and engaging for our consumers. This season too, we will be co-creating a number of pieces with creators who will be adding their own flavor to the game and re-creating it Highlander style.

Coupled with this focus on digital media, we will still undoubtedly be leveraging a range of other mediums to reach our consumers.

Also Read: #SSIPLWatch IPL grants great opportunities for clients to leverage the potential of radio as a channel: Harshad Jain, Fever FM

How will you be leveraging IPL season to bounce back from the pandemic induced business lull & changing consumer habits created during the lockdown?

Consumers are now spending more time at home – developing hobbies, increasingly exploring virtual tools, working from different parts of their home. More importantly, they’re finding new ways to recreate those pre-lockdown moments or occasions with family and friends. Therefore, across brands, our main goal lies in co-curating these new occasions and formats, along with our consumers.

For example, many of our brands have been hosting virtual mixology masterclasses, to enable our consumers to enjoy their favorite cocktails on a special occasion when they can’t step out to the bar. The #HappyAtHome concert hosted by BACARDI, recreating ‘weekend gigs’ that consumers can enjoy from home along with their friends, is another format where we adapted to consumer needs.

Similarly, we recognize that sporting occasions like cricket matches continue to remain a popular consumer touchpoint that they discuss and enjoy with family and friends, even when they can’t visit a stadium.

Our key purpose, through this association with Mumbai Indians, is to leverage this ‘digital cricket’ experience in an edgy, bold way and to create disruptive yet relatable content that consumers sitting at home can identify with.

By focusing on creating and sharing in these ‘moments that matter’ with our consumers, we are confident of a continuous and relevant engagement, even in an ever-changing scenario.

Pre corona vs. post corona: has marketing during the IPL or sports marketing in general changed dramatically? What are the key advertising & marketing trends you foresee?

Sporting events, at large, see a great number of touchpoints on-ground that brands leverage in creative ways. Last year, we had a number of activations with our brand mascot ‘The Highlander’ heading to the stadium, encouraging consumers to participate in contests which helped bring our brand ethos to life.

This year, given the pandemic, the landscape is different, but it also gives brands an opportunity to be far more innovative. We do anticipate that brands will continue to leverage touchpoints like team/sports loyalty, match-viewing traditions, and celebrating wins. However, they will definitely look to curate different ways to bring these on-ground experiences and moments to virtual mediums. The focus, this year, will undoubtedly, be to drive engagement through new formats and interactive tools.

Apart from this movement to digital avenues, consumers are also spending far more time working and relaxing at home. This has given brands the opportunity to bring engaging activities, experiences, newer hobbies, and upskilling initiatives to the consumers’ homes. This new lifestyle has also led to a range of daily moments and experiences that brands are finding a voice in.

While these are trends that brands are leveraging right now and in the near future, these scenarios may undoubtedly change as things open up.


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