IPL 2020: From the brands' lens

It has democratised sports as a medium for advertisers

MUMBAI: For audiences and TV viewers, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all about the action on the field - the ball being belted for fours and sixes on all sides of the pitch. The leather striking the stumps with the bails being lit up as they leap up in the air. The superhuman lunge that lands the ball in the fielder’s hand. The IPL is about the edge-of-the-seat finishes to the matches. That’s what viewers thrive on; that’s what they can’t get enough of.

But there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make the IPL a possibility every year. Humungous amounts have been invested to acquire the rights. And who is it that helps the broadcaster recover the investment? It is the brands that consumers so desire and lap up in the supermarkets and kiranawala stores.

For brands, it is all about that standout moment throughout the tournament so that the investment turns out as money well spent. IPL has transformed cricket and it has seen a noticeable increase in family viewing. It has also democratised sports as a medium for advertisers. An FMCG brand like Fortune has come on board as a broadcast associate sponsor while there is a notion that these brands don’t look at sports traditionally.

Adani Wilmar Ltd media & strategy head Sanjay Adesara denies the claim that FMCGs do not consider sports as a crucial part of their communication mix and media plan. According to him, FMCG brands have been putting their ad dollars in premium sports events like the World Cup or the IPL for long now. And he adds that the percentage has only been increasing year-on-year.

“Now, you cannot consider IPL as a cricketing event only. For the Indian households, IPL has become an entertainment show. It’s a short-format of cricket T-20; entertainment happens around IPL. IPL as a property or event transcends genders and markets. It reaches out to both males and females. IPL is a perfect platform to launch any new communication, positioning or campaign. Currently, we have revamped our brand, look and feel. We will capitalise on IPL as an event,” he says.

Asian Paints, which has possibly hopped on to the IPL sponsorship bandwagon for the umpteenth time, is a die-hard fan of the format. Asian Paints COO Amit Syngle expresses that it is associating with the league once again as it wants to create mass appeal for the brand. “It cuts across genders, age group. Brand association plays a critical role in influencing consumers’ purchase decisions. Not only does it make a memorable impression on consumers, but it also allows customers to connect with the brand and the company,” he adds.

Considerably, IPL 2019 brought more viewers across age groups and genders to television.  The twelfth edition of the IPL saw the highest growth of viewership among kids (2-14 years), an increase of 25 per cent compared to the last session. Even female viewership grew by 14 per cent during the last year.

IPL has acted as the ideal platform to launch new communications as well as products. Fortune has recently launched a brand new logo and a wide range of product offerings and featured Akshay Kumar in its TVCs. As the 1999-born brand revamps its identity, Adesara admits that recent activities are co-related.

“In the past four-five years, Fortune has expanded beyond edible oils which is into basmati rice, atta, soya, nuggets. We have also upgraded our local feel. We are establishing the fact that Fortune is no more an edible oil company or a brand. It’s a range of food products which are available. The new campaign and entire activity is a continuation,” he comments.

“We believe our association with IPL has helped us to engage and connect with consumers in a great way in tier 2 and 3 markets and develop omnipresence for the brand. Our prime objective with this association was to create several effective touch points to attain maximum reach, generate top-of- mind recall and strengthen the brand image,” Asian Paint’s Syngle adds.

PhonePe, the digital payment startup which raised Rs 743.5 crore fresh funding from Walmart before the last IPL, is now a second-time sponsor of the league. A PhonePe spokesperson says that the focus of last year’s brand campaign was on building awareness around digital payments for both rural and urban audiences. A mass media platform such as TV offered it the perfect opportunity to do so as it is the medium with the largest reach in the country.

“We have continued the association this year as well. We are the official co-presenting sponsor for the television broadcast of VIVO IPL 2020 and will be launching a series of TV ads during this IPL season. Alia Bhatt has joined Aamir Khan as our brand ambassadors this year,” the spokesperson adds.

Fortune’s Adesara says width and depth are the strength of IPL. According to him, one can expect both. In past seasons also, IPL has delivered reach but he mentions that the addition of regional feeds has strengthened the reach more. IPL is a great property to associate with. 

It seems Star’s bet on regionalisation has paid rich dividends for the broadcaster. Last year, there were dedicated Telugu, Kannada and Bangla sports channels for matches. According to BARC data, while viewing minutes in Hindi increased by 18 per cent, other regional languages including Tamil, Telugu,  Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi saw 10 per cent growth.

The PhonePe spokesperson points out that customer acquisition and brand recall among the target audience are a few of the metrics that it looks at while measuring the effectiveness of the association and the brand campaign.

“We aim to grow the pie of digital transactors in the country, especially from tier 2 and 3 markets and beyond. We aim to drive greater awareness and preference for PhonePe's features and services. The key theme will be to catalyse progress for everyone through our brand platform of 'Karte Ja. Badhte Ja',” the spokesperson adds. PhonePe has earmarked Rs 800 crore for marketing in this calendar year. It can be predicted that a major chunk of it will go for IPL as it has already roped in a B-town brand ambassador and will launch many TVCs during the tournament.

While Asian Paints also has an association with KKR, it plans to boost the brand presence with consumers across key markets like West Bengal. With the growing popularity of the IPL especially on digital, the brand also intends to continue its strategy with regards to shorter edits and higher frequency of spots along with content partnerships to maximise the reach. With IPL 2020, Asian Paints seeks to further boost visibility for its key brands, in addition to enhancing mind recall among consumers, Syngle adds.

Last year, along with regular advertisements, brands relied on innovative communication strategies to drive more engagement. With the spectacle of cricket, we can hope to see new types of marketing campaigns too from 29 March.

Latest Reads
This July, Immerse yourself in a wonderful world of amazing stories with Privé Collection on &PrivéHD

Be it true love, ghosts, football, killing – you name it and the collection has it all! Here’s an exciting, tragic, creepy, action-packed and funny assortment of tales like no other! From fearless action sequences to epic adventures or maybe a cheerful animation to something hysterically funny, we...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Applause Entertainment partners with Gurinder Chadha and Sunder Aaron

MUMBAI: With a strong focus on building an exciting and ambitious content slate that serves a diverse set of audiences, Applause Entertainment has rapidly emerged as one of the leading studios in India. An Aditya Birla Group venture, the content studio led by media veteran Sameer Nair has announced...

Television Production House Fiction
Sportskeeda to launch an original interview series “Free Hit” with Sourav Ganguly, Kapil Dev, and Yuvraj Singh

Sportskeeda, India’s largest all-sports news website is all set to launch its original interview series “Free Hit”. The first-of-its-kind series FreeHit catches-up with legendary cricketers in their own homes, and listens-in as they narrate their journey of becoming what they are today. 

Television TV Channels Sports
TV9 appoints Raktim Das as COO of Studio9

Beefing up its management team and adding momentum to its pan-network digital expansion plans, TV9 Bharatvarsh announced the appointment of former Zee executive cluster head, innovation studio, and custom content Raktim Das as COO of its property Studio9.

Television TV Channels Regional
Bombay high court suspend 2 FIRs against Arnab Goswami

Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was given an interim relief by Bombay high court on Tuesday as it suspended two FIRs against him for allegedly making provocating and inflammatory statements over Palgarh lynchings and gathering of migrant workers outside Bandra railway station.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Outgoing Mathrubhumi TV CEO Mohan Nair on his decade-long journey

NEW DELHI: It is no mean feat to contribute towards the legacy of a leading media organisation when it ventures into newer turfs, but outgoing Mathrubhumi TV CEO Mohan Nair made it possible with sheer grit and determination, as he led the foray of the legacy print publisher, ruling the Malayalam...

Television TV Channels Regional
ABP Ananda as the emblem of Bengali culture: 15 years & counting

West Bengal’s most illustrious news channel, ABP Ananda, has added yet another chapter to its glorious history, completing 15 years of operations this month. Since inception, the channel has been the quintessence of local, on-ground reporting in Bengal and has carved a special place in the heart of...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Mathrubhumi TV CEO Mohan Nair moves on

NEW DELHI: After a stint of more than nine years at the broadcast section of  media giant Mahrubhumi, Mohan Nair has confirmed his departure from the role of CEO of Mathrubhumi TV and Kappa TV to  It was under Nair’s leadership that Kerala-based media group had ventured into...

Television TV Channels Regional
PTC Punjabi Film Awards - Celebrating Punjabi Cinema in a "World’s First" style

Amid the dark clouds of the Corona virus pandemic tightening their noose over the globe, PTC Network and its creative team are all set to commemorate a decade-long journey of the PTC Punjabi Film Awards. The commemorative event would indeed prove to be a whiff of fresh air for Punjabi cinema fans,...

Television TV Channels Viewership

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required