Television

World Cup is worth every penny of investment-Dasgupta

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MUMBAI: SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta has claimed that the World Cup cricket 2003 telecasts on MAX will provide 40 brands with a unique opportunity to make it bigger than the best. 

Dasgupta was speaking at the Advertising Club debate on "Will your brand perform better than Sachin, Rahul or Saurav at the World Cup?" in Mumbai on Thursday.

During the course of his presentation, Dasgupta outlined the reasons why World Cup Cricket 2003 (WCC) was a great marketing opportunity. We produce some excerpts:

Cricket goes beyond the normal realm of sports:

Cricket is to India what soccer is to Europe; or what the Olympics or Super Bowl is to the US. One of the reasons why cricket scores over other games is that it is a well-run and professional set-up in India.

The ICC has recognized the power of the Indian audiences and has ensured that the timings of the matches coincide with the prime viewing time slots in India. All the matches are slated for prime time viewing.

The forthcoming WCC is the longest of its kind with 43 days of unlimited action. During the WCC, film distributors avoid releasing films; but are keen to telecast signals in theatres. In fact, out of home (OOH) is a popular trend that has increased gradually over the past few years. The forthcoming World Cup will ensure that pubs, schools, entertainment centres and multiplexes could telecast matches for avid cricket watchers.

India will play Pakistan after four years. India's route to the Super Sixes stage is a favourable one, as it has to beat either England or Zimbabwe in order to reach there.

Cricket delivers:

Cricket is a key maker of brands. LG, Hero Honda and Pepsi have attained leadership positions in four years since the 1999 World Cup. Today's "Aaj Jeethna Hai"; Godrej's "transparent billboards"; 8 PM's "time for friends" and Colgate's "talk to me" were some memorable copies created during the last World Cup.

Cricket has the shortest and unforced break lasting 30 secs as against the conventional breaks of 2.5 mins.

Non-India matches will also be lapped up by the Indian viewers as they would like to follow the tournament to its logical conclusion.

Probable reasons why marketers shy away from cricket:

The high cost of outlays

The high cost of marketing support needed for on-ground activities

Cricket is perceived as a male dominated game

Should advertisers and agencies cherry pick the matches or should they go in for a sustained presence?

Should advertisers and agencies choose other media for 'halo' effect?

What kind of innovative ideas could be explored to ensure minimal intrusion but deliver optimum results?

Opportunities offered by cricket in breaking through:

The matches are finite and the airtime is limited.

Making an impact to break through the clutter of ads is a challenge that inspires creative people.

A special creative message could be developed to ensure that the brand gets a cult following. For instance, the Aamir Khan Coke ad during the Champions Trophy.

The brand messages register on an immediate basis.

What will MAX bring to the table:

MAX will ensure that a customized feed conducive to Indian hearts will be provided specially for wooing the masses and the classes; males and females; adults and young-at-hearts.

MAX will have 140 spots and 60 spots during the first round and second round respectively as against the terrestrial channels 210 spots and 170 spots. MAX will ensure that viewer satisfaction and client satisfaction is given high priority.

Advertisers could expect high interactivity; give calls for immediate action by using pull throughs; and ensure sustained interests through involved viewing. MAX will have a daily poll even for non- India matches wherein viewers will be forced to take sides with one team.

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