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New Delhi: With many schools and colleges shut, digital learning platforms are investing heavily in advertising during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) matches to drive user acquisitions.

Armed with popular brand ambassadors, companies such as Byju’s (Shah Rukh Khan), GradeUp (Kartik Aaryan), and Great Learning (Virat Kohli) are also riding on celebrity endorsements for better recall and reach through their IPL ads. The category could spend upwards of 300 crore during this IPL edition, according to media buyers estimates.

The edtech brands are advertising heavily as students are likely to lose another year of physical classes and remote learning in 2021, especially with the fear of the second wave of coronavirus, said Ajit Gurnani, chief client officer at media agency Zenith India.

“The two big brands, Byju’s and Unacademy, have started with large investments in the IPL across television and digital platforms. The category will continue to aggressively invest on penetration driving and awareness/consideration building to funnel investments going forward as well. Other brands, Upgrad, Great Learning, Vedantu, etc. may also leverage the opportunities that exist," he added.

Unacademy, the official partner of IPL, deviated from the run-of-the-mill ads and created seamless brand integration through a series of television commercials shot in the form of a casual commentary box banter. Created in a match-like setting, the ads featured candid conversations between commentators that appeared at the end of ad breaks and started with footage from the match, giving the audience the impression that the match had resumed. However, the scene then cuts to the commentators discussing the match with subtle references to Unacademy and ends with a single shot of the Unacademy banner on the ground.

“Unacademy’s unconventional ad campaign has managed to create a deep integration between the brand and IPL without the bells and whistles of traditional advertisements," the company said in a statement.

Great Learning, which claims to serve one million learners by helping them upskill in areas such as data science, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and cybersecurity, featured ambassador Virat Kohli in its campaign titled “Power Ahead - Jo Seekhta Hai Wahi Aage Badhta Hai", drawing attention to the significance of lifelong learning from one’s victories and defeats alike and showcasing how upskilling is a necessary step for students and professionals to power ahead in their careers. The ad film will air across 40+ national channels of varied genres starting mid-April.

Aparna Mahesh, chief marketing officer, Great Learning said, “In today’s volatile world, constant learning and upskilling will increasingly be the main source of stability for professionals. We believe Virat’s passion to stay at the top of his game will inspire our learners and audience to uplift their careers through mentored learning."

Edtech platform upGrad has brought back its 2020 advertising campaign (featuring an ass being licked at a workplace and the symbolism it holds in a corporate world, the “Naam Ki Nahin Kaam Ki Degree" campaign). The ad is being promoted across digital platforms.

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