IPL 2020: A look at how brand partnerships was the theme of the season on broadcast

Brand partnerships IPL 2020

Social Samosa takes a look at how the IPL 2020 frenzy in the festive season converted into brands experimenting and achieving from content integrations.

Several dramatic waves of changes have hit the A&M world since the first national lockdown was announced in March 2020. One of the first signs of normalcy or the new normalcy was the revival of Live Sports with IPL. After a hiatus of nearly 7 months, the sporting league not only had the audience’s attention and created new viewership records but also held innumerable opportunities for brands to extend the connections they have been building with their audience through months of lockdown. Coinciding with the festive season was a major plus, leading to several brand partnerships to develop and flourish during IPL 2020. It also witnessed new categories taking on the baton and leading the way for more immersive experiences for the consumer.

For the IPL 2020, the live telecast was set to immerse the audience and create various touchpoints to engage the viewers in newer ways. This season also focused on solving business challenges by providing solutions to brands that were specifically customised for this purpose. What was delightful to see was how despite the global pandemic, brands chose to utilise the IPL as a unique opportunity to engage with their audience and created some spectacular content innovations along with the broadcaster.

This brought to light a more solution-oriented approach that focused on solving a brand’s business needs through the lens of creativity, content innovation, and providing solutions that were seamlessly blended into the cricket theme and aimed at an immersed and engaged set of consumers. In addition to this, the broadcaster also increased the duration of the pre-match show in order to provide more cricket content to viewers, team updates, player watch and other such new segments to sustain and increase viewer engagement.

Now let’s take a look at some of these iconic brand partnerships and content innovations in the IPL 2020.

An Exciting & Engaging Cricket-ainment Show

Star Sports, in partnership with the Brands this year created on air experiences in addition to the Brands’ IPL ad spots. These content experiences focused on weaving brand narratives seamlessly into the programming, making it an immersive experience for the viewers.

A great example of this is Amazon India. To promote and increase the reach of their marquee annual sale, Amazon Great Indian Festival, Star Sports ideated and created several branded content interventions. These included never seen before live interventions where the viewer was taken back into the studios during the commercial breaks. These interventions were played on all channels in different languages.

To keep the content fresh, Star Sports used multiple anchors and multiple locations within the studios to reveal different deals of Amazon sale on a daily basis. Star Sports also produced a customised cricketainment show exclusively for Amazon. They seamlessly integrated several elements of the sale into the show to create excitement for the sale that was going live at midnight. 

The show included popular faces from Bollywood & the cricketing world such as Angad Bedi, Neha Dhupia and Jemimah Rodrigues. 

This show aired post the 16th October match at 11.20 pm signalling the start of the sale. The show garnered nearly 60 Mn AMAs (previously called impressions) and generated a cumulative reach of nearly 50 Mn audiences through the program as well as the promos supporting it. 

According to media reports, the e-commerce giant with this native content campaign was able to generate leads in 99.3% pin codes in the country with this sale and related promotions during IPL. The content integration by Amazon India emerged as one of the most recalled brand activations in IPL majorly due to the chord it struck with users on a functional level. The integration also enjoyed favourable results in terms of brand metrics like overall consideration and awareness.

Customised Brand Stories

For IPL 2020, Facebook partnered with Star Sports to showcase how the platform acts as a catalyst to bring fans together in supporting their teams and their heroes during these unprecedented times. Over the years, each IPL team has been able to get itself loyal fan clubs. RCB’s fan club on Facebook has received an overwhelming following, helping the team create an engaged community of loyalists. The Brand Story on Star Sports has RCB fans flaunting dramatic colours and speak of their love for their favourite team in the IPL.

This community started out small and was meant to be a simple fan page for every RCB fan to have a sense of belonging, support their team and share moments of joys and sorrows together.

What it has become today is loyal, fan crazy, community which has not only engaged in RCB and IPL related conversations but also played a role in creating awareness during the global pandemic. Star Sports creatively weaved a story that brought alive the fan story and their individual relationships with the team and how Facebook plays a pivotal role in bringing them together.

Gone are the days when sports marketing was about a singular hero campaign that went all the way. In an era when consumers wish to be a part of the story, brands need to complement their position as a sponsor or make the best out of their Free Commercial Time Spots through integrated offerings that educate, entertain, and essentially help consumers. 

The effectiveness of Live Sports for holistic marketing has been proved time & again with a long list of brands who’ve built their national presence and consumer loyalty on the back of various leagues, especially IPL. As brands take bolder steps to create solutions in partnership with the broadcaster, they need to create immersive experiences that go beyond vanilla advertising.

IPL 2020 has been great in viewing some great and iconic integrated marketing campaigns that combine the power of television with good and innovative content, solutions that solve for the brand’s business needs and are in accordance with brand’s overall consumer behaviour trends. Looking forward to some more exciting brand partnerships on broadcast in the forthcoming season of the IPL.


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