Thursday, April 7, 2011

After World Cup win, brands pad up to score high in IPL

MUMBAI: It may not be the American Super Bowl, famous for being a huge platform for marketers to break their high-octane advertising campaigns, but our very own Indian Premier League (IPL) has got a bevy of brands creating tailor-made communication for the upcoming cricketing extravaganza. Starting April 8, consumers will see a slew of new brand activation programmes, product launches and an overall buzz created by sponsors associated with IPL-4. 

While mobile services brand, Tata Docomo is learnt to have roped in Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor to launch its campaign at the start of tournament, others like Canon, Godrej, Cadbury and LG will either introduce new products or start fresh communication during the 50-day-long tournament. 

The main sponsors on SET Max, the official broadcaster of the IPL, have spent anywhere between Rs 30 crore and Rs 40 crore each from their marketing budgets to leverage this high-reach tournament during the crucial summer months. 

"If brands are spending huge money on getting IPL sponsorship, it only makes sense for them to tap this media window to launch new products and innovate around the property," says Punitha Arumugam, group CEO, Madison Media, a media agency. Madison's client the Godrej group, which has been on board SET Max since the first edition of the IPL in 2008, has rolled out a group loyalty programme 'Godrej Power Play' to gather traction via the IPL platform. "The IPL is a great way to showcase a mammoth brand activity like this. The thought is to get our existing consumers to widen their portfolio of Godrej products," says Ashutosh Tiwari, executive VP, strategic marketing, Godrej. The group will launch new products in the appliances and hair colour categories during the IPL. 

Others like consumer durable major LG plans to launch a series of LCDs during the middle of the tournament, along with advertising for its other products like air-conditioners. The Korean brand, which kept away from advertising during the recently concluded cricket World Cup, will spend Rs 30 crore on the IPL. 

"We feel this is a great way of pushing our new products keeping in mind the summer months," says L K Gupta, CMO, LG India. 

Traditionally, come April and marketers in categories like white goods, soft drinks and ice creams up their ante to increase their seasonal sales. For instance, Cadbury too will launch a campaign for its powdered beverage brand, Tang, which is apt for the summer. 

Keeping in mind the viewership profile, with females forming a big chunk, this year has seen a lot of first-time FMCG brands hop onto the IPL bandwagon, including L'oreal, Johnson & Johnson and ITC. 

Canon, a photographic and digital imaging solutions brand which was till recently evaluating pulling out of the IPL due to the crisis in Japan, is now going ahead with its original plan. It will launch a range of low-light technology cameras and a series of printers on the back of the IPL and push it with a campaign featuring its brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar. "In view of it being a long-term investment behind the brand building in India, we decided to stay put with our plans. We have taken care of the supply-side issues," says Alok Bharadwaj, senior VP, Canon India. Canon says the new launches are perfectly timed considering that families go on vacation during the summer and that this communication will help push sales.

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