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A host of advertisers are gearing up to cash in on the second phase of the popular Indian Premier League (IPL) that will start on 19 September.

The advertisers are encouraged by the timing of the T20 cricket matches as they will happen in the midst of the festive season when demand for consumer goods traditionally peaks across India.

Companies such as Nestle, Tata Motors, Coca Cola, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Dream11 are working on campaigns for both television and digital medium. “I expect advertisers to come back to IPL. The consumer sentiment has been upbeat, restrictions have gone down, and markets have opened up," said Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency. “The environment is better than April when the league started. There’s limited ad inventory, and the demand has been bullish, so broadcaster Star might be able to command a premium as well."

According to media buyers’ estimates, Star and Disney India are charging a premium, with ad rates being raised from 13-14 lakh for a 10-second slot to as much as 18 lakh. The second half of IPL is expected to garner advertising worth 1,200-1,500 crore for the official broadcaster. “The last quarter is one of the biggest, and this year will be no different. We are already seeing robust signs of recovery on media spends," said Navin Khemka, chief executive officer, Mediacom South Asia. “This year, we have 30 matches of IPL as well as the T20 World Cup in the last quarter, which will help in boosting ad spends."

For the first phase, held in April, the broadcaster had onboarded 17 sponsors. However, some of those such as Just Dial, Vodafone-Idea and Groww discontinued their association after the cricket league was postponed following the deadly second wave of covid-19.

Currently, Star Sports has 15 sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Amazon, Asian Paints and Ajio. Star’s video streaming platform Disney + Hotstar has managed to sign a dozen sponsors such as UB (Kingfisher Packaged Drinking Water), Unacademy, Phone Pe and Swiggy.

“Vivo IPL is a marquee tournament, and we are receiving a riveting response from advertisers and sponsors across linear and OTT. The second half of the league presents a unique proposition for its timing coinciding with the festive period and promises to be more intense," said Nitin Bawankule, head-ad sales, Star and Disney India.

“There is a massive rush among brands to associate with the tournament. With over a week for the games to begin, we have already sold out most of our inventory for both the Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar," Bawankule claimed.

Nestlé India said its beverage brand Milo and Royal Challengers Bangalore will promote the launch of paper straws. The company will leverage IPL’s popularity by launching a digital campaign to promote this initiative closer to IPL.

“We have also made this transition for the packs of our Nescafe range of cold coffees. We are now working on ways to replace the plastic sleeve with a paper sleeve for the straws on the pack. RCB, our partners, have always promoted environmentally responsible solutions and behaviour. They are our natural partner of choice to launch this initiative," said Mehernosh Malia, director-dairy, Nestlé India.

One of the official sponsors, Mondelez India, is also looking at tapping IPL to promote in-home consumption.

“What makes this IPL even special is that it’s coinciding with the festive season–a time focused on family togetherness and when in-home consumption will further gain precedence," said Anjali Krishnan, consumer experience lead, Mondelez India. “We will be leveraging this opportunity to further strengthen our connection with the consumers. We look forward to enhancing our consumers’ experience and the strong connections IPL creates year on year."

Meanwhile, associate sponsor Tata Motors has chosen to extend its association in phase two of IPL. The automaker said the more positive sentiment will be needed in the current times when the market is under pressure due to intermittent lockdowns.

“Being a major partner of the league, we will be aggressively present on TV and digital platforms. Being the biggest marketing property in the country and equally watched and liked across age groups, we expect our presence in this league will provide us with unparalleled visibility and consideration in this festive season," said Vivek Srivatsa, head–marketing, passenger and electric vehicles business unit, Tata Motors.

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