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Sponsors pad up for the IPL

MUMBAI: Despite competition from the ICC Cricket World Cup, companies are staking serious money on the eight edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While some of them are returning, some are first-time advertisers.

E-commerce firm Cardekho.com is foraying into sports advertising for the first time through its associate sponsorship deal with the IPL 2015. The company is aiming to boost traffic numbers and build its brand.

GirnarSoft CMO LK GuptaSpeaking to TelevisionPost.com, GirnarSoft CMO LK Gupta noted that the IPL sponsorship deal is its maiden marketing initiative via a sports platform. “We are definitely betting big on IPL. We will evaluate other sports properties that we could potentially associate with.

“It’s a great platform for us to showcase our products and win consumer mind-space. Advertising in the IPL is a brand-building exercise for us. We are expecting a big spurt in traffic. With our focus on mobile, we are also expecting a great deal of app downloads.” GirnarSoft is the holding company of Cardekho.com.

In terms of the theme of Cardekho.com’s on-air campaign on Max, he noted that the company’s ads will be targeted to the new car and used car segments. “We are confident that our viewers will find the theme refreshing. We have delivered successful TV campaigns in the past, but given that this is the IPL and a lot of advertising fatigue is bound to occur, we have recognised multiple executions as the right way to go and that’s how we will be different from our past campaigns.”

He also revealed that Cardekho.com is not looking to tie up with any IPL franchise for this season, nor is it looking to sponsor and promote sports beyond cricket in the near future.

“Our primary TG lies between ages 20 to 45, because that’s where most of the car buying capacity lies. If not directly involved, a lot of the youth between 15 and 24 also greatly influence the car purchase decision in their families. So even they directly fall into our TG.”

In terms of the effectiveness of TV as a marketing medium, he said, “We are going after the mass market for car buyers and it’s safe to say that TV plays a great roll in communicating with the masses. By displaying our propositions and imagery on national television, we can occupy more consumer mind space, vis-à-vis advertising through other media, which is to be used more tactically, depending on initiatives and geographies.”

Some companies are going to be present on both the cricket World Cup and the IPL. For example, Paytm is present on Star Sports’ ongoing broadcast of the cricket World Cup. Now it has just done a deal with Multi Screen Media (MSM) to be an associate sponsor of the IPL broadcast.

Sonia DhawanSpeaking to TelevisionPost.com, Paytm spokesperson Sonia Dhawan said an Indian mass brand cannot but associate with cricket. “Cricket attracts high-profile personalities from every sphere of life, from Bollywood celebrities to industrialists and from journalists to sports enthusiasts.”

Its cricket investments are paying off. “We have taken up the Super 4 property across all World Cup matches on Star, and it is already paying us rich dividends. We will be spending millions of dollars in the upcoming season and will also be considering other sports to build mass connect in India.”

For the IPL season, Paytm intends to establish brand recall and salience. “The IPL is a great platform to establish reach, and that is what we aim to do through this initiative.”

For the record, last season Paytm had done a marketing campaign ‘Is T20 season harr koi jeetega’ in partnership with the IPL title sponsor Pepsi. It had launched a TVC along with Pepsi featuring Ranbir Kapoor. It also did a mega shopping festival coinciding with the previous edition of the IPL.

So what is the theme going to be this time? “We are closing our discussions on the upcoming campaign. It surely will bring excitement among our viewers,” Dhawan informed.

She added that the company is not considering a franchise sponsorship yet. Asked about the reason for the e-commerce category becoming aggressive on cricket, she noted that sports is the only genre other than news which has time-sensitive content and has a captive viewer who cannot skip the ad breaks nor can have deferred viewing on TV, web, or mobile. “This has made the e-commerce category more aggressive on cricket.”

She goes on to add that Paytm is evaluating all possible associations and may consider becoming a sponsor of the ICC if an opportunity arises in future. “Our customer base has a youth bias, and thus cricket fits in perfectly with our core TG.”

But Dhawan also added that Paytm is looking to sponsor and promote sports beyond cricket. “We are looking to promote our brand through association with other sports. Cricket’s dominance is now being challenged by other sports like football, hockey, badminton, kabbadi, etc. This opportunity has been proven by the increased viewership for these sports. There is enough space for a few other sports to be popular among advertisers and the audience,” she avers.

linkedin keshavAlso aboard the IPL as an associate sponsor is Intex Technologies. In fact, marketing director Keshav Bansal said that 30 per cent of the company’s spend is completely focused on sports association. So, what role will the IPL play in this? “The IPL will allow us to bring salience around the brand through which we hope to build value for our customers in the near future. Our primary goal is to establish a strong presence of the brand in the minds of cricket lovers.”

Intex Mobiles will play some of its commercials on Max. “Considering IPL is a youth game, all of our commercials are going to be youthful, slightly humorous, and premium,” he explained.

In the past, Intex Mobiles has tied up with the Rajasthan Royals. This time, it will not be following this strategy. The company looks at a TG in the 15–24 age group. “A large chunk lies in this TG, but recently purchasing powers among females have also increased. So our TG consists of both females and males.”

In terms of the effectiveness of TV, he noted, “We have seen a great impact with this medium helping the brand getting established in the TG. It helps us connect with the large chunk of audience immediately and the benefit of choosing genres in media buying helps target the right target audience.”

According to Dhawan, while TV is an expensive medium, it is also effective to reach the target audience. “A brand can speak to a captive audience and leave a meaningful impact to establish and reinforce the brand,” she said.

Different mediums serve different purposes for Paytm. “Print is very useful when we want to communicate detailed information to the audience. Radio and outdoor are good reminder mediums. BTL activities help us in activation. Overall, a balanced 360-degree communication plan is essential to derive maximum mileage for the brand,” she explained.