Advertising in IPL

‘Advertising during IPL matches is over the top – the ads start as soon as the 6th ball of one over is bowled and end only during the 1st ball of the next over. It is killing cricket’ – I have heard this over and over for the past many days. But hey, they paid big bucks for putting up their advertisements and they need to get a good return out of it – don’t you think that is fair? The answers might be yes, no and maybe – but this article is not about the authenticity of the advertising in-between overs; rather it is about advertising within the overs. Let’s look at some of the options –

1) Advertising on ‘ball boys’: I find this slightly shocking – how couldn’t marketers look at such an attractive market for grabbing eyeballs of the viewers (considering the golden rule of marketing/advertising is to grab ‘eyeballs’ and hence brand recall)? ‘Ball boys’ are the ones who throw back the ball to the fielders after the ball reaches the boundary. Considering the number of times the ball reaches the boundary in T20 matches, doesn’t it make logical sense to grab eyeballs of all viewers when the camera is focused on the ball reaching the boundary, the ball boy picking it up and throwing back to the bowler? Let’s take the minimum amount of time that one such event happens – let’s say 5 seconds. The average number of times the ball hits the boundary during the course of the match (two innings) is say, 70 times – which implies 350 seconds on/close to the ball boy. That is almost 6 minutes of advertising in prime time of the match – where almost 30-35 ads of approx 10 secs each can fit in. The cost? What would be the cost of sponsoring the dress for ball boys with company’s (or companies) logo imprinted on it? Get them in bulk – and the cost would be next to nothing. The eyeballs it can grab – plenty.

2) Britannia ‘single’ and a MRF ‘two’: We have also heard about ‘DLF sixer’ and a ‘Citibank four’ etc. Make no mistake – it’s a very important innovation that has come through, probably only because of T20. Irritating – you bet! But what about ‘brand recall’? Marketers must be rubbing their hands in glee looking at such an innovation. Let’s take this a bit far – how about a ‘Britannia single’, ‘MRF two’ and a ‘Cheetos three’. How about naming some of the bowling/batting ends as ‘Reliance end’ and ‘Birla Sun Life end’? A sample of the commentary would flow something like this –

Daredevils Sehwag has nudged Royals Warne towards the Reliance end – is it going to be a Britannia single, ohh…it is going to be a MRF two…ohh noo, the fielder has misplaced it, probably a Cheetos three…the ball has finally reached the boundary…it is a Citibank four.

The example above is slightly exaggerated, but you get the idea. Advertising during the match (instead of between overs) is much more effective in grabbing eyeballs. You might say ‘Hey, that is irritating advertising’. Oh yeah! Rule number one in Advertising: There is no such thing as good advertising or bad advertising as long as it grabs attention. Rule number two: In case of doubt, refer rule number one.

3) Advertising on Commentators: This is slightly dicy, but it might pay off considering the lower costs associated with it. Instead of the bland plain dresses the commentators wear during the pre-match and post-match analysis, why not tag a ‘Nike’, ‘Reebok’ or any other company logo on their shirts? As long as it doesn’t conflict with the sports broadcaster’s and commentators agreements/commitments (and I don’t think anyone is so stupid to wear a Star shirt on a Sony broadcast – ah! I forget Sidhu!), all the parties involved would be happy (Advertisers for their eyeballs, Broadcasters and Commentators for the extra money that they rake in). Now, the only question is what percentage of match-viewing audience would also watch the pre-match and post-match analysis? I think very few – and hence the earlier logic of lower costs involved in putting up the logo on commentators’ shirts [Me says, get Mandira Bedi with her noodle straps – who in their right minds would miss the pre-match and post-match analysis? I wouldn’t 😉 ]

4) Rebirth of Super Selector: During my Engineering days, there was a wonderful programme called ‘Super Selector’. Summarily, it involved selecting a team across the whole bunch of players whom you think would score max runs/take wickets/effect run outs – and depending on that, points would be allocated. The top scorers used to win prizes from Fabmall. The programme was a raging success. I have no idea why this programme was discontinued – but I think it’s a great idea to rev up with this programme for the T20 championships. That would grab the attention of the younger audience (to whom you can pitch in/cross-sell more products, expensive products – and hence better margins], create advertising for the prize-givers and offer prime time slots to showcase the programme along with different advertisements. I did look at some ‘pseudo super selector’ contests on the Internet, but they tend create more junk in your mailbox rather than anything else. Any clue anyone why this programme isn’t yet on the air?

Those were my few thoughts on during-the-match-primetime advertising. Any other ideas?

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2 comments so far

  1. […] Dhanwada explores advertisement options for IPL. A fun read. Let’s take this a bit far – how about a ‘Britannia single’, ‘MRF two’ and a ‘Cheetos […]

  2. Sulfi on

    I agree with the above article. IPL is more of medium to reach the indian customers in particular the youth. The wholse show is an ad clutter, ..see the stat in the following link to make out how IPL boost advertizing..

    http://www.business-standard.com/india/storypage.php?autono=325502

    The biggest challenge the ad industry is facing now is how to get higher ad impact in b/w this clutter. How many ads can you recall from the last IPL you have seen??

    Advanced scientific techniques like neuropsychology with fmri scans are widely used to understand the functioning of brain and unconscious mind to reach our minds effectively these days…!!


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