A number of handset companies are going all out to leverage the tournament by launching maiden or new campaigns, apart from sponsorships
In its nine years of existence, Indian Premier League (IPL) has become a must-advertise-on property. From companies across categories churning out crores on sponsorships and lakhs for a 10 second spot to treating the property as a launchpad for new products/ad campaigns, the tournament is now as important as Diwali in a marketer’s calendar. Consider how Vodafone introduced everyone to ZooZoos in the second season of IPL, or how Amazon India launched its maiden campaign on the platform in 2014. Time and again, the homegrown cricketing tournament has proved to be a safe bet for brands.
In an earlier interview to BrandWagon, Rohit Gupta president, network sales at Sony Pictures Networks India had said, “Because of the audience IPL brings — children, men and women across economic backgrounds — all categories can represent themselves at the property. Last year, e-commerce was the largest advertiser; in fact, it had a share of almost 20-25%. This year, apart from e-commerce, the handset category has come up in a big way.” This year is no different. With internet penetration and an uptick in smartphone purchases, handset manufacturers flooding the Indian market are spending on IPL. Indian brands like Micromax and Karbonn were literally born out of IPL seven-eight years back; this season is seeing a new set of smartphones.
Apart from Vivo, which is shelling out 100 crore per year to be the title sponsor for two years, brands like Lava and Gionee aren’t shying away from utilising the property. So far, smartphone brands like Vivo and LYF have launched their maiden television campaigns while Gionee is using the IPL platform to unveil its new identity.
Having launched this January, the latest entrant in the smartphone category, LYF, a brand by Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Retail, signed sponsorship deals with three teams including Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiants and Royal Challengers Bangalore. It released its first TVC during IPL featuring actor Kangana Ranaut with cricketers MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and R Ashwin. Gionee, which is undergoing a brand makeover globally, unveiled a new logo in India. The theme of the brand communication is that Gionee brings smiles on the faces of millions, through its innovative technology. The campaign rides on the association with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), of which it is a principal sponsor. Though the cost is high, brands jostle for association with IPL and this time, the stage belongs to smartphone manufacturers.