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For creative agencies, Vivo IPL is India's SuperBowl

Brands, creative agencies and media houses wait eagerly for Re.imagine awards 2019

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MUMBAI: For 11 years now, the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) has entertained the country as no other sporting event has. Not just the cricketers on the pitch but brands, marketers and advertisers have gradually upped their game to keep viewers engaged during the sporting extravaganza.

In a bid to bring the advertising culture to the forefront of Indian sports broadcasting, Star India built a platform called the Re.Imagine Awards to recognise and encourage the creativity and innovation in the use of integrated media in advertising campaigns aired during Vivo IPL on Star Sports and its OTT platform Hotstar.

This initiative by Star gets all the marketers, media and creative agencies to join hands, thereby pushing all stakeholders to innovate the advertising experience.

First year of Re.Imagine Awards was a major success, with all the big brands and agencies participating. Over 300 campaigns by 120 brands vied for the awards. Brand Factory, Amazon, Dr.FIXIT, Sprite, Peter England, Swiggy, Tata Sky, Vivo and Fevikwik were some of the brands that jostled against one another to bag top honours.

Brands have long recognised the power and popularity of cricket in India. However, with the video proliferation and regional language market expansion, more avenues seem to have opened up for the marketers to position their products.

“The Re-imagine awards are quite unique. The fact that it focuses on one event (Vivo IPL) and the work generated and aired in it makes it interesting. Especially since the event by itself is both a massive opportunity for brands and equally a challenge of sorts to stand out in the storm of brands advertising in it. The shorter format further pushes the challenge bit. Another special feature of Re-imagine is the judging criteria of both creativity and integration," Lowe Lintas CCO Sagar Kapoor said.

In 2018, winners of Re.imagine awards were Fevikwik for Khushiyon ke chand pal and Swiggy for No order too small. After its campaign during Vivo IPL matches, Swiggy’s ad recall increased by 62 per cent. The food delivery app saw 25 per cent growth in orders across India and 42 per cent spike in Google searches. The campaign also helped in uplifting the perception of the product proposition of fast delivery by 18 per cent.

Swiggy ran a series of integrated campaigns throughout Vivo IPL season such as Match Day Mania, various TVCs and in-game innovation. Vivo IPL-themed advertisements explored relatable scenarios that have made Swiggy a household name today.

“Many brands plan exclusive and relevant campaigns for IPL/cricket. This year too we will see the same. However given the reach of IPL as a platform, regular advertising works as well,” said Havas Media group CEO - India and South East Asia Anita Nayyar.

"IPL with its undisputed reach and combination of cricket and entertainment is a zero risk property for brands. There have been many a brand launches using this platform over the years and brands earmark specific budgets for the event,” she added.

Ogilvy, Madison, IPG, GroupM, DDB Mudra, Lowe Lintas, and Havas Media among others were some of the high-profile creative agencies that were a part of the Re.imagine awards last year.

The 11th season of the cash-rich league enjoyed humungous reach both on TV and OTT platform of Star India.

Building on the success of Vivo IPL 2018, the host broadcaster seems to be carving open more avenues for brands and marketers to collaborate for the latest edition.

For instance, Star is putting together custom integrations and ad-tech solutions for television and digital respectively. This initiative of the broadcaster has been devised keeping in mind start-up companies that intend to use cricket as their preferred choice of vehicle for maximum impact.

The American SuperBowl continues to remain one of the most awaited sporting leagues around the world from an advertising perspective. Agencies and brands create customised ads for the SuperBowl, spending millions of dollars on their campaigns to conjure up an iconic moment of marketing.

In a conversation with Indiantelevision.com last year, Star Sports CEO Gautam Thakar had said, “In the US, as you know SuperBowl has been on for a long time and this has built-up. It is like high points of the year and there is a lot of social viewing and from the advertising perspective, people actually take pride in what they have created and are very expensive. Some of the ads only air at the time of SuperBowl and they spend millions of dollars doing that, but it breaks through the clutter and gets them virality.”

Kapoor and Nayyar believe that Vivo IPL is the SuperBowl of India.

“Besides being a big property, IPL is great for its very content. People do not watch IPL for ads but they will definitely watch our ads more because of the IPL. So it remains one of the most exciting platforms to land our brand messages,” Kapoor added.

Thakar had pointed out that broadcasters can play a limited role but ultimately marketing professionals need to drive the agenda of matching the Vivo IPL advertising to the SuperBowl standard.

 “We had Re-imagine awards for IPL, it was the first time we were doing it but the idea behind that was to spur the marketing community to think of the IPL in a different way and create advertising for the IPL. We will do the awards every year now to showcase what is the best advertising. In our own little way we are trying to enable it but ultimately the marketers need to embrace it,” he added.

As the 2019 Vivo IPL season inching closer by the day, Star India has announced the latest edition of the Re.imagine awards. The competition is bound to heat up as gurus and creative geniuses aim to deliver for cutting-edge, ground-breaking and pioneering campaigns. The audience can look forward to some unique and interesting campaigns this year as well in addition to the high-octane action on the field.

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