Brand Equity asks leading marketers to make sense of the three most high decibel properties this year - the IPL, the Lok Sabha elections and the World Cup
Even as the mercury level rises across the country and the summer hits with a vengeance, a large section of brand-owners and marketers are in a huddle with their media-planners for a different reason. The action of planning for a packed quarter is making many break into a sweat. Three marquee and high decibel properties the Indian Premier League, the Lok Sabha Elections, and the World Cup are playing for our attention. The season kick started started in March with the IPL. Each property comes with its own strengths, challenges, reach and cost – all of which make the marketer's life ever more complex. Points out Shekhar Banerjee, head (West) – Wavemaker India, “Cricket has been the biggest aggregator of audiences in India and right now it seems to be the safest bet for advertisers as the TV industry is going through its flux post TRAI – NTO implementation. Between IPL and World Cup, we are observing many common advertisers and categories which is a clear sign of how core these properties are to their strategies.” A large swathe of marketers is latching on to one or the other property, and the occasional cash-flushed ones are going all in with budget allocations for all three. And then there the ones that have broken away from the herd as they choose to opt out totally, rather than have an inconsequential or an unrelated presence during these events. Brand Equity asked CEOs and CMOs across categories to share their gameplans and unravel the dilemma of the trifecta of mega properties.
Saujanya Shrivastava, Chief Business Officer, MakeMyTrip
“It is not the largest spender that gets the most recall or engagement”
Our choice of media is guided by seasonality which has a significant play in the travel sector. With summer season seeing peak travel volumes for our business – IPL is one of the most powerful platforms that has unmatched reach and connect with the masses. We have activated both MakeMyTrip and Goibibo on IPL as Associate Sponsors and have taken the play a notch higher by signing up two IPL teams this year. Cricket is a sport that has appeal across socio-economic strata and traverses demographic and geographical barriers. To top it, the IPL platform gives us the opportunity to build a captivating gaming format of engagement that helps draw in and convert travel shoppers into buyers.
Words of Wisdom
While marquee properties like IPL and World Cup are very appealing to marketeers, one needs to look beyond building pure salience if you choose to put your precious marketing dollars into these properties. At the end of the day, it is not the largest spender that gets the most recall or engagement; it is the unique proposition which will help one stand out in the crowd.”
“With a total reach of 48 million in urban India, garnering average TVR of 5.5, IPL is one event that delivers constant viewership and sustained buzz, every single day, for 50 straight days. Being available in 8 languages, IPL is also one of the most ideal platforms to broaden the audience base.”
Himanshu Bakshi, MD, Danone India
“Brands need to be mindful while making their choices”
Elections is a 60-day affair on TV. While the actual impact days of polling, counting and government formation are few, the programming and its treatment on news channels creates excitement during the entire 45-60 days.
ICC World Cup is also a high impact property, but India needs to perform well for it to cover upsides, else it can be a low performing event for brands.
IPL seems to be a good and safer bet for brands. Consistent ratings over 51 days in core prime time. No other content shows such consistency in ratings over this period of time on an all-India basis. During IPL, non-IPL channels lose viewership in prime-time anywhere between 10-30%. India being a pre-dominantly single TV household country, this property becomes important for brands targeting across TGs or markets.
Rajesh Ramakrishnan, MD, Perfetti Van Melle India
“High impact, cluttered and expensive properties”
IPL, an annual phenomenon, has become a big entertainment platform cutting across age, gender and town-class. Elections and the World Cup, also key events however occur at a frequency of only once in 4 or 5 years. All have thus become very high impact, but also extremely cluttered and expensive platforms.
Gameplan: Stay Away
Q2 is typically a lean period for us and we don’t plan any product launches or new communication during this period. Hence our use of these platforms for this year will be very limited. We have in the past associated with IPL for impact, especially in case of new communication launch or product launch. IPL as a platform helps to maximize consumer reach and create impact. We have also associated with Elections in the past to build awareness among the trade fraternity who have a high affinity towards news channels and thus enabling ease of product placement.
Ali Harris Shere, VP-marketing, Britannia Industries
“We have looked at IPL slightly differently”
Gameplan: Use All Three
We are using IPL and the Elections for their inherent strong media deliveries and have an official tie-up with ICC World Cup to create a high decibel consumer activation. Each of these properties are important because they reach a different set of target audiences for us. The ICC World Cup would amp on youth and cricket aficionados, the Indian elections viewership would skew to older male audiences and the IPL which qualifies as entertainment appeals to family audiences. Hence being visible on all 3 ensures we reach the entire universe of TGs we cater to.
We have looked at IPL slightly differently. While we have a sustained presence on IPL through its Cricket Live series, we have taken live spots towards the second half of the series which suited the timelines of the launch of Britannia Khao World Cup campaign. Due to the view that the appeal of World Cup differs by match, our visibility will be selective. However, we will fully leverage our association with ICC during the World Cup. That includes bringing back the iconic ‘Britannia Khao World Cup Jao’ campaign.
Words of Wisdom
While both IPL and World Cup are attractive properties and have strong reach, IPL delivers better because of a tried and tested format and for the fact that every match performs almost equally well on reach. While World Cup is a strong brand, its appeal from a media perspective reduces slightly because all matches don’t garner the same level of interest and viewership (The India matches are dominate in reach). However, it is the mecca for cricket aficionados.
Veejay Nakra, Chief of Sales & Marketing, Mahindra & Mahindra - Automotive Division
“Established brands with no new messaging can avoid…”
Cricket in India is a larger than life activity. There is high community/family viewing - considering over 82% of TV owning individuals in Indian prefer watching TV together according to BARC data. Amongst all sports, Cricket, has always been the most effective way of building awareness.
General Elections, being a ‘once-in-5 years’ event is always highly anticipated with a build-up of weeks in anticipation. As compared to cricket, which is more into entertainment zone – Elections, in terms of content is far more relevant and impactful to everyday life of people.
For Mahindra & Mahindra, all three properties are marquee properties overlapping each other in Quarter 1 and beginning of Quarter 2. Even though all three are big, each property has a differential role to play. Last financial year, Mahindra and Mahindra has had 3 new product launches. We do consider impact properties when it comes to a new launch, which we did so with our recent launches (KBC powered by sponsor). News Genre being a core component of the TV genre mix, we are consistently on-air through regular programming through on-going campaigns and also present in other media to reach out to the core audience who do consume cricket and elections.
For any new brand launch - High decibel media properties such as these, help build quick awareness and increase reach.
For established brands with no new messaging - It is important to avoid such high investment in short periods of time, as media effectiveness throughout the year is more critical.
Arvind Bhandari, Regional Business Head – Nestlé Infant Nutrition
Know Your Audience
Marketers have to know who their primary audience is (not even secondary audience, because media is expensive) and target them.
IPL is for the diehard sport fanatics, increasingly – 15 plus, male, more urban dwellers,
World Cup – will be a family show so worth investing if financials justify with more spots towards the latter matches. Except the finals which would be expensive, and you don’t know if India makes it, Elections – adult male 25 plus, with selective women audiences.
Elections would be an intermittent watching in most households (single TV is still the norm) so buying high frequency, low duration spots in this genre is not a bad idea at all.
There is Hope Beyond the Big Three
Re-target the consumer, redefine measurement metric and recut the brand for the modern environment. Once you have done the basics right, you may not need to spend at all on these marquee properties. Instead do a more sustained engagement with consumer on digital wherever you can intersect him. These are days of frequent and relevant communication, buying big properties where everyone is converging can be dodged by clever marketers – but this will require us to change the way we approach communication. It should be consumer first, brand second, media third. If we do it like this, big events may not be so necessary, and we can have better ROI for our media monies.
Vijay Parasuraman, Vice President Marketing, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia
Big Bet on Sports and Segmentation
Our 'marketing models' have evolved to target specific audiences in the most relevant time of the year. For us, building attitudinal shifts towards our brands and consumption depth during summer is of growing importance. And sports events like IPL and Cricket World Cup during summer, unlock a plethora of opportunities. This summer, we are betting big on sports and segmentation. The key is to have a segmented approach in reaching out to the right consumers, in the right markets, with the right brands and offerings.
The segmentation strategy is not only on regional segmentation and hence languages, but also on attitudinal segmentation and hence content-segmentation that appeals to every consumer-cohort. The ability to segment consumers and use the right set of brands or portfolio and communicate regionally on relevant platforms comes next. Here for example, our partnership with Star Select helps us connect with select audience for our premium water brand 'smartwater;' same time Star Sports Tamil helps Sprite connect with the larger mass audiences.
This article was originally published in The Economic Times