Rating systems need to be devised

Updated: Mar 31 2007, 07:11am hrs
Large geographical size, but poor infrastructure, single nation, but diverse cultures, large number of newspapers, but poor literacy levels, variety of languages, but no single TV channel that communicates across the country. Communicating to more than a billion people across India, remains a maiden over for any marketer.

In such a fragmented scenario, cricket has emerged as one of the few vehicles to integrate people across religion gender & language. In fact, it is a great leveler connecting equally well across all SECs. Certainly, cricket viewing has evolved a long way from the time when AIR was the only medium to stay tuned with the Ball to Ball audio relay of the match.

When there is gold, there is bound to be a rush. And in this gold rush, has emerged a media clutter, which is the single biggest challenge for marketers today. With the price tag of associating with the game going up exponentially, it is no longer possible for any brand to dominate the cricket landscape. This is something that brands have to learn to live with.

With the unpredictability the game carries and the passion it evokes, the stakes for any advertiser are too high. It has come to a stage where it resembles a financial market. One has to plan for a portfolio of stocks, to reduce risk, and not merely go after a single blue-chip stock. Associating with cricket is no longer the most logical move. Even steps like taking multiple cricketers to minimise the repercussion on the brand, in case one of them does not perform, has been done to death.

The time has come to bring in some accountability and introduce a science into the money being invested through a rating system. This is the best option without tampering with the effectiveness or spirit of the sport. The move to introduce the same would ensure that the game remains a great value for money buy and also helps do away with the notion that cricket is an overvalued ad vehicle.

The author is head of marketing , LG Electronics