This ICC Men’s World Cup is different. Not only will it be aired for free on Hotstar but the tournament will also see some changes in ad formats. World Cup is predicted to be delivered to 450 million viewers, we take a closer look at what's in store for the media and marketing blueprint.
ICC Men’s World Cup, which brings a huge advertising opportunity for brands, has given us many iconic campaigns over the years. Hero Honda’s ‘Dhak Dhak Go,’ Pepsi’s ‘Change The Game’, and of course Mauka Mauka’ are etched on our minds like it was yesterday.
Since then, the industry has seen many technological advances and advertising landscape has changed with new formats. Scannable QR codes, real-time trigger-based interactive banners, gamification, interactive screen cards, and more pushed the envelope of marketing a little further every year.
This time, ICC World Cup will see a Jio effect. Disney+ Hotstar is airing the tournament for free in five languages and advertisers are optimistic about seeing an expanded user base and are expecting 450 million viewers, that is double than last season.
Additionally, brands are fighting neck-to-neck to make an industry-first move with generative AI. With this, World Cup 2023 is slated to see newer and innovative formats.
Social Samosa takes a closer look at the marketing toolkit for ICC Men’s World Cup 2023, the changing media mix, and tips from media experts on how to stand out in the clutter.
Freemium to Open Up New Avenues
With Hotstar going behind the paywall for the tournament, advertisers are expecting increased ROI and ARPU for the platform.
“This World Cup season, marketers and advertisers can expect 10-15% lower CPM rates, improved targeting options and expanded audience reach,” shared Namrata Soni, Associate Director – Media Planning & Buying, DENTSU CREATIVE India with Social Samosa.
With AI-generated highlights and data analysis, viewing habits are changing with every tournament. As consumers evolve, the marketing strategy is expected to pivot too.
"The media mix and strategy during the World Cup is expected to be a departure from traditional TVC spots, sponsorship and big celeb push, technology integration, and leveraging social media platforms to creating memorable and engaging brand experiences,” said Rishabh Mahendru, VP, Client Success, AdLift.
What this departure will see, as per Mahendru, is a shift to augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), LED installations, digital billboards, and interactive experiences.
For example, earlier this year, TCL had leveraged AR to launch Instagram Filter and Web Game for cricket fans. Burger King’s ‘The Greatest Hack’ campaign also kept technology at its center, which allowed viewers to hack moments of cricket matches to win offers on the App.
AR could be an attractive medium for brands this year and new formats are expected to take shape during the World Cup.
Vinay Hegde, Chief Buying Officer, Madison Media said, “360 degree allows advertisers to create immersive experiences. AR takes it a step further allowing an advertiser to create interactive and personalized experiences by over-laying virtual elements into the real world. And hence, newer and more novel formats of advertising are possible.”
Additionally, Mahendru expects to see Moment marketing during the matches that use in-app notifications and other in-app media.
Ideal Media Mix
WC 2023 might be the year of media fragmentation as there are multiple options for advertisers. Hegde mentioned how traditionally brands have been exploring sponsorships, merchandise, player endorsements, conduct contests and quizzes.
But, with novel options and a variety of choices, it can get confusing.
“Social media platforms are one of the key channels to generate pre-buzz, engagement and fan building activity for a brand. By means of interactive content, ever-evolving short-form content pegs, and influencer collaborations, social media strategy is expected to continue to focus on building fan base, high engagement, and frequency for your brand. Home to the largest pool of targeted audience on digital, it will continue to be a cost effective medium to achieve the key KPIs every brand chase i.e reach, views, engagement & community building,” said Soni.
Last year, Viraj Ghelani, Shubham Gaur and Naveen Singh were seen posting content around ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Content creators shared videos and skits with cricketers participating in the tournament. Apart from influencer marketing, the tournament was promoted through fan zones and had an AI-powered app for the first time. To further fuel the fan culture, ICC shared AI-generated match highlights on Facebook and Instagram in partnership with Meta.
Not just brands, cricket’s governing body is also embracing AI in cricket to deliver a wholesome experience and to attract more fans.
This year too, influencer marketing is one of the tools expected in a marketer’s arsenal.
Hindol Purkayastha, Executive Vice President & Business Head of North & East, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi also said that it would be interesting to see brands and broadcasters leverage influencer marketing.
“The format clearly is working and allows for snackable content that gets the engagement and reach going. I do feel however that to get the short duration right, many brands miss out on ideas that can actually help in brand building. Very few brands look at this as an opportunity to build the context that can help them in the long run,” said Purkayastha.
After seeing Jio Cinema implementing 4K Videos & on-ground coverage from different angles, Sarfaraz Ansari, Senior Vice President – Integrated Media, DDB Mudra Group said that we can expect 8K formats in future.
He highlighted some advantages that digital advancements are bringing for advertisers.
“On TV, be it any popular cricket event, it’s not practically possible to run a contest per over or per ball. But in case of digital, it can be very easily done with huge on-the-spot engagements. We could see this in the current predict gamification introduced by Jio Cinema i.e., “Jeeto Dhan Dhana Dhan” by Alia Bhatt. At every ball a question was asked along with prediction & the winner was gratified. Advertisers can now focus on whether to opt for awareness campaigns on television or campaigns with the objective of awareness followed by trials / engagement on digital,” said Ansari.
Digital seems to be a popular choice this cricketing season after advertisers witnessed JioCinema breaking records. The streaming platform saw 3.2 crore viewers during the CSK and GT match.
Digital gave brands an opportunity to innovate. For example, Gulf Oil on JioCinema had display banners during live match, diverting its audience to its gamification page called “Gulf Fan Academy,” where the winners could stand a chance to play live cricket with MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya etc.
As per Mahendru, out of the total budget designated for the IPL 2023, 60 percent was designated for digital medium.
Experts believe it is plausible that an increasing pie of the spend will be allocated to OTT this World Cup.
“While TV among the linear mediums continues to be important, it’s the digital communication and experiences that sees more experiments and expansion from a media mix standpoint. With fragmentation, content of all formats will need to be kept in mind - short form, long form, colabs, etc playing a different role during on / off match moments,” said Mithun Cotha - SVP - Data & Insights, GREY group India.
Digital offers more innovative formats but the exact allocation between TV and digital will depend on viewership trends, audience demographics and advertiser strategies to ultimately meet brand objectives.
Festive Spirits to Uplift Consumer Mood
The World Cup always aligns with the festive period, which is perfect timing for brands as consumer spending is also at its all time high. As these two prime events come together, there is slated to be a shift in conversations too.
“With IPL season now over, the evening frenzy of watching your favourite teams play is now out and in comes the national pride. This immensely changes the contour of the conversations amongst the audiences. What tournaments like the World Cup and IPL do, is that it immediately gets your larger purchasing audience (NCCS A+ B) together, thus simplifying the marketer’s decision,” said Purkayastha.
Categories like auto, FMCG, BFSI, e-commerce, consumer durables and smartphones are expected to be big this time, considering that the onset of the World Cup will begin just before the peak festive period of Diwali.
However, there’s usually a huge media splash during the festive period.
“With the World Cup itself being a festive celebration in India, particularly when our team is winning, consumer excitement will be at its peak. Brands will need to find innovative ways to ensure their message stands out amidst the clutter and competition for mindspace,” said Amyn Ghadiali, President - Business & Integration, GOZOOP Group.
Ghadiali referred to the Fantasy Akhada campaign featuring Harsha Bhogle, which he believes struck a balance between innovation and relevance. He said that to make the most of the evolving media landscape, brands must continue to generate such disruptive ideas and go beyond traditional approaches.
Tips to Stand Out
To stand out in the clutter of World Cup and festive ads, experts said that multi-channel marketing will be key to maximize reach this year.
Sharing how brands can leave a mark, Ghadiali said, “By ensuring their campaigns do not end at a TVC and a couple of print ads with social extensions that are boring and generic.”
How a marketer uses available interventions and innovations to reach its potential TG and match it with the ideal ad unit for efficient outcomes, will also play a defining role.
Cotha suggested, “Balance the mix of delivery mediums by focusing on the audience and their interests. Understand competition. Remember, messaging and context are more imp than an innovative presentation. Innovation is a novelty presented through messaging – they are not separate. Novelty doesn’t necessarily mean great storytelling.”
ICC Men’s World Cup is expected to break viewership records as Hotstar offers a freemium option and ad spends are also expected to see a jump due to an expected increase in users. Brands and advertisers are looking for new formats to keep up with the changing landscape of advertising. This year, remember to balance innovation with creativity to stand out.