The call of IPL7….

MUMBAI: The call of the IPL so divine that you have to be there for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

This year’s campaign by Sony MAX for the IPL is with a tagline that revolves around the concept of ‘The call of the IPL’.

“It is as if you cannot refuse a call from the god. In the same way, when IPL calls, you have to be there,” is how Sony MAX and Sony MIX executive vice president and business head Neeraj Vyas explains the thought behind the campaign for IPL7.

Vyas, the Guest Editor of the day at, was speaking on the finer details that go into the making of the campaign to promote IPL. MAX has the broadcast rights for the twenty-20 cricket tournament.

“You have to be there when IPL calls you,” reiterates Vyas.

Sony’s IPL campaign will be launched towards the end of the first week of March.

The core theme of the IPL campaign continues to be entertainment but the broadcaster’s challenge is to every year come up with a bigger and bigger campaign idea.

‘Sirf Dekhneka Nahi’

In 2013, Sony took its campaign to a much higher level bringing in a celebrity in choreographer and director Farah Khan.

‘Sirf Dekhneka Nahi’ was the punch-line of the 2013 campaign featuring Farah Khan, urging people to express themselves whenever a wicket falls or a boundary or a six is hit.

The campaign for IPL season 7 is expected to be a step ahead of 2013 campaign. “IPL is an entertainment vehicle which appeals to families, friends, men, women and youth. It cuts across different target groups. And this was the brief given to the creative agency (Havas Communications),” says Vyas.

The preparation for the campaign started in November 2013 with the first creative meeting. “This was followed by several meetings to come out with that one idea, that one hook to develop the campaign,” Vyas points out.

While five 30 second creatives have been made with common people, one 60 second creative has been made, which will have a glimpse of Farah Khan. The music for the campaign has been composed by the duo Vishal and Shekhar.

It was JWT that worked on Sony’s IPL campaign in 2013.

So why hasn’t the campaign come out as yet? Vyas says, “Well, this time, neither the venue nor the dates have so far been announced. But, we will be launching the campaign towards the end of the first week of March.”


So, as people eagerly wait for the new campaign, we at, take you through the journey of past IPL campaigns.

Sony MAX has since the first edition of IPL, which started in 2008, been promoting the new format to build an audience.

What started with IPL being ‘Manoranjan Ka Baap’ with unknown faces, the campaign has grown bigger and better over the years.

The ‘Manoranjan Ka Baap’ campaign, directed by Rajesh Krishnan of Soda Films, was a spoof from the 80s films, where the wife and her two sons are taunted every now and then for their missing father.

While the villagers keep asking the mother and the sons ‘Kab aayenge Manoj aur Ranjan Ka Baap?’, the trio believed that he would come some day. And then when the wife gives up hope, her sons come running and point at the TV set which says, ‘Aa Gaya Manoranjan Ka Baap.’ The promo that got around 78,377 views on YouTube was aimed at positioning IPL as the ultimate entertainer.

The second season saw two promos under the tagline ‘Ek Desh Ek Junoon.’ While one promo shows how god made one land, but man created boundaries, the other promo shows how one billion people are doing the same thing at the same time. It shows how people rejoice over a ‘Six’ and get sad on a ‘wicket’, but all these emotions are depicted at the same time.

The promo was created in-house and took the communication one level up from the first season which had proved that the format was accepted across.

IPL by its third season had built a huge fanfare and while the second season was played in South Africa, the format was back in India in its third year.  The channel went all out promoting the series and came out with the campaign ‘Saare Jahan Se Achha’.

The video showed a red carpet laid for the players belonging to IPL teams from various cities. The video became hugely popular and this was quite evident from the 412,650 views it garnered on YouTube.

‘Bharat Bandh’ was the message the channel gave out to its viewers as the tournament stepped into season four. To send this message, seven promos were created.

One showing how a politician was left wondering who had announced a 51-day ‘Bandh’ and the second promo showed a goon being upset with his business going down, considering there was a ‘Bandh’. The third showed a ‘Hot’ lady stepping out of the train and looking for help on the station but there was no one there to help.

The fourth promo involved two female neighbours, who for long had hated each other but now have come together saying ‘nafrat bandh’ with ‘Bharat Bandh’.  The campaign was conceptualised by JWT and it too became popular.

In the fifth season of IPL, MAX got more personal with its promos. The campaign was under the tagline ‘Mauka’, for a get-together for family and friends.

The campaign saw five promos doing the rounds: ‘Mauka Phuphaji’ which garnered around 17,289 views on YouTube, ‘Mauka Stadium’ which saw approximately 45,229 views on YouTube, ‘Mauka Family’, with around 19,233 hits, ‘Mauka Father’ with around 17,898 views and ‘Mauka Friends’ with 15,663 views. The campaign was based on the idea of how IPL had the power to get people together.

For the first five seasons, MAX roped in common faces, with no actors. But, as the game grew bigger, the channel knew that its campaign has to be at the same scale. It was then that in the season six of IPL, Farah Khan was roped in to promote its campaign ‘Sirf Dekhneka Nahi.’      

The campaign had come from the insight that cricket is not just a game in this country but a passion that moves every Indian to get up to celebrate and dance.

And to promote this thought, Farah Khan established three unique signature dance moves each for a four, a six and a wicket. Through the campaign, MAX invited the audience to shed all inhibitions and groove to the tune of Pepsi IPL 2013.

The campaign featured three short films, three dance instruction videos and one big grand film. To make the campaign a nationwide sensation and to add to Farah’s dance moves, the channel had also roped in music director–singer duo Vishal and Shekhar who composed the tune for the Pepsi IPL 2013 campaign.

The campaign was created and conceptualised by JWT and directed and filmed by ad film director Rajesh Saathi of Keroscene Films.

Talking on the last year’s campaign and Farah Khan, Vyas says, “Farah Khan fit the bill completely. She directly connected with the audience and she cut across audience groups. She is a choreographer, a director, an actor and a mother. And she does all this with so much perfection. So when a Farah Khan says, ‘Sirf Dekhneka Nahi’, people know she means it. Also because she is a director herself, she could add so many other bits to the campaign to make it look even better.” 


“Since the inception of the game, marketing has been one of IPL's strengths, and both TV viewership and stadium attendance were promoted simultaneously. One reason for IPL's success has been that multiple entities (tournament owner, broadcaster, team owners, etc.) all promoted IPL, while ICL was promoted by Zee alone (as it played all those roles),” informs PipalMajik CEO Chandradeep (CD) Mitra.

How different will be MAX’s IPL 2014 campaign?

Pepsi, the title sponsor of IPL 7, has brought on board actor Ranbir Kapoor as an intern for promoting Pepsi IPL 2014.

MAX will surely think bigger for this year’s campaign.

For PipalMajik’s Mitra, marketers need to constantly promote their brands to break the clutter and keep their brands top-of-mind. “This is especially true for seasonal brands and time-bound events. Sports events particularly need to drum up excitement to engage fans. There has been some evidence of IPL viewership plateauing or declining in the last couple of years. This year, post last year's scandals, and likely scheduling of matches outside India, the need for the IPL brand to be rejuvenated and promoted is even greater,” he adds. 

Also, with other major sporting events like Football World Cup and T20 World Cup competing for sports lovers' limited time and attention, this year “IPL definitely needs major promotion this year,” says Madison Media COO Karthik Lakshminarayan.


Talking about the previous campaigns, Lakshminarayan says, “The campaigns so far have helped the channel garner good impressions in terms of ratings. Almost all of the marketing efforts are realised in the first week of the series as that draws in the viewers. So one can safely say that the ratings in the first week is largely the result of the media campaign that the channel runs. Post that the ratings are dependent on the matches played thereafter and the results etc.”

So while there are loyalists for the series, there is also a huge chunk that is attracted to the game through the marketing campaign. “The campaign drives on emotions. There has always been general excitement around the marketing campaign of IPL, this year should be bigger,” adds Lakshminarayan

The first leg of IPL 2014 mostly will be held in South Africa, and the second leg in India. “Keeping this in mind, the communication has to be more engaging this time. For me digital media should play a very critical part in the channel’s communication about the game,” says MPG planning head – west Soumya Sarkar.

For Sarkar, it is not the brand ambassador that will drive the communication this year. “The channel has to keep interacting with the audience. So it needs to come up with more contests, fan clubs and online chatting among others to keep the viewers hooked,” he adds.

(Following are links to Sony’s earlier campaigns)

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