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BW Businessworld

Why Do Marketers Love IPL On TV?

An enriching communal experience, unmatched opportunity and creating fans for life- that’s the power of marketing during IPL on TV today

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From a time when sports marketing majorly looped around strategic product placements, with big brands attempting to build awareness and credibility, leveraging sports as a genre has come a long way. Much credit for brands investing-in a larger pool of their money in sporting events, like the Indian Premiere League (IPL), can be safely given to the rise in their televised coverage. While exposure through sponsorship packages no longer suffices the requisite recognition, brands today strive to reach a global community and eventually become household names through advertising on this big-ticket sport genre.

An Unrivalled Crowd-Puller

The fact that sports marketing exists is because it has a huge audience. IPL itself has been an attractive platform for both, advertisers and fans, alike. Its televised version has paved its way as the biggest reach platform, drawing no parallels across mediums. Giving credence to a report by BARC, IPL’s reach for 2020 season recorded a whopping 405 million—out of a total TV universe of 836 million—across 21 channels that Star & Disney India aired the matches on, making it larger than any of the renowned general entertainment category (GEC) programs, that collectively reached about 350 million in 2020.

Additionally, the sport ensures a high quality reach, up to 60% higher attention than those on all other genres put together, as suggested by the Attention Measurement data. 

This happens dues to 2 factors one , due to the high anticipation and live nature of the content , the viewer is mostly around the screen looking at the screen , plus the ad breaks in cricket are around a min only  and at max 2/3 ads play in those pods compared to a 4-10 min breaks in other genres where most people then either leave the room or do something else before content is back on leading to very low attention to brands.

Furthermore, enabling a complete family-viewing experience, it serves a great catalyst for advertisers to reach multiple stakeholders at same time, thus, facilitating a cultural imprinting of messages at scale, which is a big value driver for advertisers.

“Because of the sheer number of viewers involved, IPL is THE platform for any company that is trying to reach a vast number of audiences using the TV and digital mediums,” emphasises Snehil Gautam, Head, Growth & Marketing,, & had launched their TV campaign, “Ghar dhoondhna koi inse seekhe”, featuring Vicky Kaushal and Kiara Advani, during IPL 2020. 

The brand had spent 60% of its annual marketing budget for advertising during this tournament. Through this partnership, it garnered a high-impact result of a 5X–6X increase in app installs, as well as a 2X–2.5X increase in website traffic. Overall, there were 50%-60% rise in app downloads after the campaign. There was also a rise in supply during the campaign, which means the number of listings by homeowners and brokers on the website increased.

IPL TV & Advertisers- The Perfect Match!

A plethora of brands have been quick to appreciate the power of IPL television broadcast- the scale, attention and co-viewing nature it imbibes. We have often seen large advertisers targeting multiple agendas, using their presence to drive SOV, High OTS and shape consumer attitudes and consumer behaviour, by advertising in IPL.

Echoing the same sentiment is Vivek Srivatsa – Head- Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors, who asserts that IPL is all about strength and endurance and thus, a natural fit for the brand to advertise. “While sports marketing took a big hit last year with no on ground events, the return of IPL has opened the doors wide for brands to engage with the audience on air and online. Our association with the IPL is a perfect example for this. IPL was one of the biggest sporting events last year and it proved to be a very effective and a large-scale platform to amplify the visibility of our product Altroz, launched in January 2020,” shares Srivatsa.

Driving tremendous value from this association, Altroz saw highest sales period during Sep-Oct, with sales growth of 13.45% on a month-on-month basis during October 2020, along with Google search index doubling during IPL campaign.

Amit Tolani, CMO, CEAT is also convinced that IPL is a great platform for brands to piggyback on the massive reach that it offers. “Sports marketing is of great interest to a brand like CEAT where the core objective of the brand is to drive saliency. During the pandemic, this field definitely took a backseat. However, with IPL 2020 being the most watched sport on TV till date, all doubts about the efficacy of this field were put to rest.”

As per BARC’s data, the cumulative spot reach for CEAT in IPL 2020 was 282 million. Additionally, the brand witnessed a healthy uplift in brand metrics in terms of recall and awareness

CEAT as a brand has been invested with sports for over 25 years now. The journey started with CEAT Cricket Rating and then was augmented by IPL sponsorship through strategic timeout partnership and bat endorsement by cricketing heroes like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, etc.

Taking in account the emerging brands and start-ups with limited outlay and visibility for few weeks, they too find huge traction for their business in IPL, as the exposures in the relatively lower time period is also good enough to give their brand and business a significant inflexion. While the effectiveness of this gala event is already established in increasing any brand’s value, companies, especially start-up catering to the younger audience, as we have already seen in 2020, wherein many new categories debuted in IPL.

Gautam suggests here, “IPL is a sure-shot way to reach your target audience with a high impact, unlike most other platforms, especially if people in the age group of 20-35 are your target audience. Another trend is that audiences are switching from SD to HD channels on television. Brands must keep track of these adjustments in order to adjust their budgets.

The other thing to bear in mind is that there are more outlets for sports ads than ever before. On television, there will be more choices, such as jersey advertising, parameter advertising, and content marketing in event programming. Brands must analyze their spending in light of market changes and decipher how these platforms can be used.”

IPL 2021- Riding Big On Expectations

With more live sports resuming now both in India and world over, brands will look forward to engaging with the customers on-ground and online. With some of these events now going phy-gital, there is a big opportunity for brands to engage with the participants and the viewing audience through smart product-based integrations.

Online viewing and Podcasts is going to emerge as another engaging field and could play a major role in driving engagement. In sports marketing, we believe one should continue to stay invested for a long term and stay consistent. Only then the brand messaging and saliency can be leveraged with the sports association,” expresses Tolani.

Going by the market sentiment, experts suggest that brands will continue to devote a large portion of their budget to famous sporting activities, especially on IPL broadcast, because they are realizing that branding at such large-scale events propels them into hyper-growth territory. They are acknowledging the fact that it makes commercial sense across categories- be it emerging start ups like with relatively smaller spends, or large automobile manufactures like Tata motors or auto ancillary businesses like tyres, with relatively larger outlays- who want to influence a variety of stakeholders consumers, dealers, distributors, salesmen and employees across the country . 

It is also anticipated that many more internet brands and startups could join the large format sports event advertising space in the future. There will also be more creativity in ads, with new stories and technologies emerging.