Expert Speak: IPL 2022 – A bigger stage for local brands & new-age entities
With BCCI adding two more teams and Tata Group coming on board, experts feel the IPL 2022 ad inventory will increase by 25%, opening the road to more startup and new age brands such as cryptocurrencies.
Not only IPL 2022 will be in the homeland, but with the addition of two new teams- Lucknow and Ahmedabad. The marquee event has set a much bigger stage for advertisers and viewers this year, opening many newer roads for the ad inventory.
Year on year IPL gets bigger in scale and viewership. During the first phase of IPL 2021 (29 matches), Star had disclosed 188 billion minutes of total watch time (14% higher than 2019) and a reach of 367 million viewers. Overall consumption-wise, IPL 2021 had clocked 255.4 billion minutes till 45 matches, compared with 248.4 billion minutes in 2019 for the same number of matches.
With the strong viewership, the league has been a launchpad for innovative advertising campaigns. It has also opened avenues for new-age advertisers outside the realm of television. From regional ground sponsorship to virtual sponsorship, to multiplex cinema chains owning the rights to screen the matches, advertisers are abuzz with every possible sponsorship property.
Discussing how brands can get creative this year, experts tell us that with an increase in ad inventory by 25%, Tata’s name can bring in more trust and credibility to the league.
IPL 2022 Ad Inventory – More Scope For Smaller & Local Brands
From CRED to Byju’s, WhiteHat Jr, Dream 11, and MPL, many new-age brands and start-ups have created massive awareness campaigns on the back of IPL in the past few years. In the last year specifically, brands including Mumbai’s The Souled Store, FanCode, Delhi’s Evolut Wellness, Gorakhpur’s Niine Sanitary Napkins, Andhra’s Double Horse Urad Daal, and Bengal’s Cakeshop Mio Amore, made it through the team associations.
Evolut Wellness was Delhi Capitals’ Official Fitness Partner for IPL 2021. Founded in 2020, it also ran a brand campaign throughout the season.
Mumbai-based casual wear brand The Souled Store was the merchandise partner of Royal challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings and Gorakhpur’s Niine Sanitary Napkins became an official partner of Rajasthan Royals in 2020.
Tata Group has not only replaced Vivo as the title sponsor for this year but as per reports, will be paying the BCCI Rs 670 crore for the sponsorship rights. The name of the homegrown conglomerate, experts say, will help compliment the IPL presence and can provide more avenues to the local brands.
Plus, the addition of two new teams will help advertisers to target respective markets too.
UP and Gujarat, are two important markets in HSM for most brands due to the potential they have. Both markets have very limited local options to build critical mass. Also, Lucknow and Ahmedabad are big cricket markets in India, contributing 17% to the overall viewership to Vivo IPL 2021, as per BARC.
“Creating a buzz in UP has always been a marketer’s dream. Historically brands have struggled to gain penetration in the market due to market challenges like different dialects/media dark/literacy rate being low to name a few. Cricket as a format is known to break barriers and through associations, if leveraged well would help brands penetrate well into these markets. Also, Gujarat is home for many of India’s local brands, and a team in IPL would help such brands to elevate to national stature,” says Vandana Ramkrishna, COO Madison Media Ace.
The biggest avenue that opens is the sheer increase in inventory and the number of days extended due to the inclusion of new teams – up by about 25%, she adds.
The wrap of the IPL 2021 had created a wide buzz for the audiences not only because it was played in two seasons but mainly due to the scintillating comeback of CSK bagging its fourth IPL title, highlighting the importance of regional markets.
According to Linu John, VP, Zenith, the sponsors will leverage the maximum from event associations as they get a quick reach and a strong association for the brand. The deep-rooted presence of Tata will help compliment the IPL presence and also create a stronger trust in its consumers.
Also read: IPL sponsorship – what’s in it for Tata?
However, Amit Wadhwa, CEO India, dentsu Creative, says that for teams, the opportunity to activate plans at a local level certainly makes it interesting for local brands but this surely won’t be limited to them.
With Tata coming on board is interesting but he doesn’t see this as a local versus global brand differentiation.
From sponsorships (with teams as well as the league) to on-air tie-ups, the IPL association has been moving the marketing needle for brands, bringing an uptick in brand awareness among consumers.
Categories To Look Out For
The league is a favorable proposition for many categories ranging from BFSI, e-commerce, Auto, Beverages, Digital Start-ups, Mobile Handsets, Consumer Durables, and more.
Last year, e-commerce brands emerged to be the biggest spenders followed by the durables and automobile brands (as per the HI-CRICKET report).
Also read: How advertising on IPL propelled digital brands towards success
Other than the mushrooming of a number of fantasy gaming apps, there is an increased inclination and engagement from FMCG brands that see value in the IPL broadcast associations. This was apparent from a 2x increase in FMCG sponsors in IPL 2020 vs IPL 2019, where P&G, ITC, Adani, Mondelez, Coca Cola, HUL, Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser, GSK, Pepsi, came out as some of the biggest spenders.
R. Venkatasubramanian, President and National Head – Investments, Havas Media Group India says that automobiles as a category have always been associated with IPL in a big way and Tata closing the title sponsorship is a testament to that.
This might strengthen the auto industry’s association with IPL 2022 ad inventory.
He further adds that F&B, handsets, e-commerce, and seasonal categories such as ACs/coolers have always spent big on IPL and would continue to do so in IPL 2022 ad inventory with newer launches and online sales during that period. Gaming and ed-tech is another category that has spent highly in the last couple of years and will continue this year as well.
Abbhishek Chadha – Senior Vice President and Business Head (North and East), Interactive Avenues, believes that the tournament will see increased participation from new emerging categories fintech/crypto/ed-tech/vertical e-commerce companies.
Last year, CoinSwitch Kuber became the associate sponsor for IPL on Disney+ Hotstar and Unocoin alone had set aside a budget of INR 2 crores. However, towards the end of the year, crypto brands drew flak over misleading ads and BCCI had ruled that IPL teams were no longer allowed to agree to cryptocurrency exchange sponsorship deals.
Now that it is clear the government seeks to regulate and not ban the cryptocurrencies, after a brief pause, crypto ads have returned and experts foresee them betting big on the tournament.
John says that this year will be big with the crypto players dominating the IPL beyond the existing categories on the series. The slump of the last two years around the April-May period is expected to not continue and help brands to be more active and leverage the period.
Also read: The role of startups & digital brands in the new-age sports marketing game
How To Get The Bang For The Buck?
With such popular events, the stakes are always high and the benefits advertisers get are even higher. However, one needs to stand out from the crowd through smart investments in the IPL 2022 ad inventory.
To get the bang for the buck, advertisers need to be focused, committed, and run fully integrated campaigns that are contextual to the environment without compromising on their brand message and appeal, advises Ramkrishna. For instance, Swiggy Sneak one in – Gulab Jamun ad.
Along with the commercial playing on TV, last year, the brand also executed social conversations on digital which had the actual ability to order just one Gulab Jamun and the same being delivered while the match was still on.
Also read: Swiggy IPL Campaigns that effectively delivered product offerings
Similarly, CRED made quite a splash in the last season of IPL. It sent social media into a tizzy with its campaigns, starting with Rahul Dravid morphing into “Indira Nagar Ka Gunda”, followed by Jackie Shroff learning Zumba and Kumar Sanu selling insurance. The advertising fraternity too was abuzz with opinions about the campaign and its budget.
In terms of utilizing monies wisely, Ramkrishna says that there are some very innovative packages like CTLs, PPL, Features, Moments, Scorecards, etc. that is being offered by the broadcaster as well as the digital partners at a relatively lower ticket size which advertisers can use to sample the tournament.
Venkatasubramanian suggests brands simply choose a feature option to advertise and if executed at the right time, during the game, in a contextual manner, this option can also generate robust ROI for the brand. Similarly, if a brand wants to roll out different sets of communication across different parts of the country, this too can be effectively managed by driving different communication and different language feeds to the channels.
However, he adds that it is important to understand all the offerings provided by IPL to advertise and then choose the option(s) accordingly.
Rajeesh Rajagopalan, National Business Head- Grapes, adds that this kind of creative update is something that India has not seen in the IPL till now. But he is optimistic that a lot of brands will start working and creating creative campaigns.
Shrenik Gandhi, CEO, and Co-founder, White Rivers Media urges brands to give complete freedom to the creative teams to experiment.
Also, brands need to diversify their media spending. Brands should not be focused on a single ad platform and should rather have an equal diversity of spends across multiple platforms and the day in the life of an avid cricket watcher.
Prasad Shejale, Founder and CEO, Logicserve Digital, suggests that brands can create moment-based creatives wherein they can highlight products/ services for a specific location basis on the competing teams.
They can run area or city-specific campaigns based on the teams playing on a particular day. Brands can also experiment with key moments during the matches and plan activities around these events like the first 10 overs, first six, first wicket. Brands must also focus on connected TV promotions as the consumption of CTV is rising these days and more people are on these devices for watching their favorite teams play against each other.
When it comes to spending, experts advise brands to be careful and invest their monies thoughtfully. While the tournament certainly remains an overly crowded field for advertisers, finding the right context and moment for marketing will help brands reap greater benefits.