Usha Intl's seven year hitch with IPL's Mumbai Indians

Usha has once again chosen to be the IPL's top-rated team as an official partner

NEW DELHI: The pandemic and downturn in economic fortunes of companies can serve as a good excuse for them to lock away their coffers and pull the plug on advertising spending. Many an advertiser has resorted to that, in recent months. But consumer electronics goods firm Usha International does not belong to that tribe. Instead, it has decided to get into bed with the Mumbai Indians as an official partner once again for the seventh year in succession.

The Usha logo will be seen on the leading side caps and helmets of Mumbai Indians players and on the mat during the toss as part of the agreement. The stadiums will also have massive LED screens running across the perimeter, which will showcase brand Usha during a couple of overs of the game. 

The company’s marketing team is also going the whole hog on digital.  A series of activations straddling various digital platforms have been planned, including online contests on days when the Mumbai Indians team is out on the green, battling a rival. Through these contests, fans will get a chance to interact (read: meet and greet) with some of their favorite Mumbai Indian cricketers virtually. The brand will also launch a unique digital campaign, featuring select players.

Usha International head- sports initiatives &associations Komal Mehra believes that associating with IPL defines the strength of a brand during these tough times. “The current crisis gives us an opportunity to strengthen Usha’s brand salience,” she says. “The association is not just limited to creating awareness about our product portfolio but expounding Brand Usha and its ethos ‘Play.’“

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Almost every product category that Usha is present in will be highlighted as part of the association – right from fabric care to climate control to heating solutions to sewing machines to water coolers to fans to cooking appliances.

“It is a great opportunity to strengthen our consumer and partner connect across categories through  on-air and digital platforms,” reveals Mehra. “Contests, virtual meet and greet with select players, online polls are among some of the ways in which we intend to maximize reach across geographies.”

Mehra hopes that Mumbai Indians will go through at least 14 matches like the team  has done over the years. “It is the days when the Mumbai Indians are on ground that will see the majority of the activities -  like contests and polls. We are in the midst of fleshing out all the details with the MI team,” she adds. .

Even as the effort will be to create fresh content for all digital platforms to engage fans and consumers through the IPL, last year’s TVC will be given air play across all channels. It featured skipper Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Kieron Pollard having a great time with children at a 'learn and create' workshop with Usha  sewing machines.

Mehra is quite confident that combined with the IPL, the coming festival period is going to rev up demand for its products in the home and kitchen appliances and lighting categories.

She explains: “Since work-from-home has now become the ‘new normal’ for people, it has made ‘multitaskers’ of each of us, leading to a need for products that make tasks easy while saving time as we work for home and from home. Exclusive consumer offers and finance schemes around the festive season will see a pent-up demand growing further. The festive period typically contributes almost 30-40 per cent to the annual sales for this business. Already, indicators are showing a very promising time ahead. We are confident of healthy sales in the coming quarter.”

Media observers approve. “Usha has almost become synonymous with the Mumbai Indians which has proved to be one of the top two teams in the IPL over the years,” says a senior media planner. “The company has also been further amplifying its association by running its TVCs featuring Mumbai Indians cricketers on various channels. Then this year’s initiative of focusing on  digital initiatives and even a digital video campaign should get it an even  greater return on its investment.” 

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