Ceat gears up to drive hard during the IPL20

As strategic time out partner, it is planning a new campaign around TV and digital.

NEW DELHI: It does not seem to be tiring of its partnership with the IPL. Leading Indian tyre maker Ceat has been associated with the world’s most valued cricket league since 2015.  And it has once again gone ahead and partnered with the BCCI as a strategic time out partner. It first put its money behind the property in 2015 for three years, Then in 2018, it renewed its arrangement with the board for another five years. Ceat also forged an association with the  ICC World Cup in 2019 too and adopted a digital-only strategy.

What exactly is the strategic timeout in the IPL world?

It is a two and a half minute break from the game. The bowling side can take it between the sixth and eight overs, while the batting team can call for it between the eleventh and sixteenth overs. It was  introduced in 2009, when the IPL was shifted to South Africa courtesy the Indian elections. Popular Bollywood tracks play out loud on the stadium’s sound system. The cheerleaders break into a synchronized choreographed routine on the makeshfit stage in a corner of the ground, beyond the boundary rope. Spectators exit to pick up some refreshments. The players get a chance to rework their strategy and possibly sip some water. The umpires, well they simply catch their breaths. Brand commercials are played out on the large screens in various parts of the stadium. And finally a clock counts down to the start of the game after the break, giving the official strategic timeout partner amazing exposure as audiences can’t miss it.

This year, Ceat will be releasing a new campaign during the IPL targeting premium sedan users across media. “The intention is to reach a wider audience and build on our brand objectives. We intend to be present across offline as well as the digital mediums,” asserts CeatTyres CMO Amit Tolani.

 “We will be targeting consumers in their context in the digital space. We continue to be aggressive in the online as well as offline mediums, given our campaign objectives. The idea is to connect with the consumers where they are present and engage with them in their language and platform of choice,” says Tolani.

It is not certain how much the brand paid for the association but media reports say that Ceat paid Rs 30 crore in the last season of IPL.

However, this year the IPL is a completely different experience, especially with no spectators in the stadium. So, how does a brand like Ceat derive ROI?

Tolani agrees that the brand will miss out in terms of ground exposure like it used to get in the past. But he is appreciative of the fact that the matches will be live on TV and on Disney+Hotstar. “The audiences will get a chance to see their favorite cricketers on screen after a long break. With the culture of work from home across the industries, we believe more people will be latched onto the screen and hence we can expect a wider reach for our brand and the messaging that we want to drive,” he shares.

He further elucidates that most of the IPL viewership is during prime time, so when a brand has an opportunity within this time slot,  it is able to reach a massive audience.

This understanding of Ceat is bang on because the IPL generated an unimaginable viewership of 462 million in 2019 - bigger than any other prime time or non-prime time finite fiction, reality, or nonfiction shows across channels.

In 2019, Ceat released a campaign for one of its tyres called Milaze X3 and the IPL helped in amplifying the message of making mobility safer and smarter.

“We intend to use a similar approach again with a new premium range of our tyres. We have launched a host of our campaigns via the strategic time out association and it has always been delivering results. Along with this, we also plan a lot of digital activations, etc. to engage with our community. We intend to continue with the same rigor this year as well,” adds Tolani.

He divulges further that when a marketing campaign comes out and runs across different channels, advertisers always look for that perfect equilibrium between reach and frequency. “When you have a new campaign breaking out, you need to have a higher frequency as well to drive your communication, different channels of advertising serve different objectives. Brands have to stay true to the platform and tweak the communication according to the medium,” he explains.

It’s not as if the brand has been silent during the Covid period. Ceat released a social media campaign titled, ‘The Unsung Heroes’ which saluted truck drivers who served their nation during the difficult times and ensured timely delivery of essential goods.

Some of Ceat’s previous brand campaigns have been extremely hilarious but bang on when it comes to delivering the message. Be it the ‘Idiots’ or Mahapurush film, the focus has always been on road safety. The Mahapurush campaign focused more on the person who makes every rider/driver’s worst nightmare come true – be it the guy who runs and stops ahead of your bike without any warning, or the one who thinks his hand can stop any vehicle with just a gesture.

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