Home >Industry >Advertising >Tokyo Olympics: Brands cheer Team India by launching campaigns, forging player partnerships

As the countdown to Tokyo Olympics begins, the buzz around Indian contingent has picked up with a variety of brands launching motivational campaigns to support and cheer Team India. Motivation, grit and relentless pursuit to achieve one’s dreams have emerged as key themes across these campaigns. From print ads, television spots, on-ground activations to various form of digital campaigns, brands are leaving no stone unturned to stir the emotion of pride that representing one’s country brings at the global stage.

The goal is to lift the spirits of the Indian contingent that is currently in Tokyo all set to represent the country amidst most strict safety protocols owing to covid-19 pandemic.

Jigar Rambhia, national director-sports, Wavemaker India noted that the buzz is quite high with enough brands advertising in a run up to the Olympics. Watch brand Omega as well as tyre manufacturer BridgeStone India have been running print campaigns while JSW and Rin are running TV ads.

“Even government has been running a campaign. We have one of the largest contingent this time with 127 athletes participating. If we end up getting a medal in the early days then the brands will go overboard and start talking even more and increasing their ad spends," he added.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), for instance, has signed brands such as Edelweiss, INOX Group and Nippon Paint as national sponsors. While dairy brand Amul, Raymond and JSW Group have come on board as partners. Raymond is the official styling partner. MPL Sports Foundation has come on board as principal sponsor in a deal worth 80 million rupees that covers the Tokyo Olympics as well as the Asian and Commonwealth Games next year.

As per ad industry estimates, each official sponsor with IOA has shelled out 8 to 10 crore. All the partners have rolled out some form of promotional activities.

“The number of sponsors that have come on board for this Olympics is quite encouraging than the last edition of the global sporting event. More domestic brands have joined the contingent after Chinese sportswear Li Ning was dropped as IOA’s official kit sponsor. The value of sponsorship has gone up considerably from the last Olympics as well," said Ritesh Nath, an independent sports consultant.

One of the official partner MPL Foundation, for instance, launched an advertising campaign #FanBannJaaoge across TV, digital and print media featuring stars of the Indian contingent such as PV Sindhu, Wrestler Bajrang Punia, Fencer Bhavani Devi, Shooter Manu Bhaker, and others.

“The athletes representing us come from the length and breadth of India and we want the entire country to rally behind them as they seek to bring us laurels," said Sai Srinivas, trustee, MPL Sports Foundation and co-founder and CEO, MPL.

MPL Sports Foundation has also put together a virtual Indian Olympic Fan Army which is expected to cheer for the team, watch the matches and submit their fan moments through photographs, videos, emojis and illustrations.

In the lead up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Visa India signed the World Badminton Champion PV Sindhu as the first ever Team Visa athlete from India. The company recently launched A Million Cheers campaign featuring brand ambassador PV Sindhu and personalities such as footballer Sunil Chhetri, cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Mohammed Siraj, shooter Gagan Narang, and Bollywood actress Huma Qureshi – who have participated in “Tap the Shuttle" challenge and encouraged fans to cheer for PV Sindhu.

“Recently, we launched a campaign called 'A Million Cheers' across TV, OTT and social media, which encouraged Sindhu's fans to send cheers for her using #SmashItSindhu. The campaign received tremendous participation and response from consumers, as a result of which we gathered way more than a million cheers from fans even before the start of The Olympics," said Sujatha V Kumar, head of marketing for India and South Asia, Visa.

The payments giant has been a long-standing worldwide partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1986 and will continue through to 2032. It also runs a global athlete support program during each edition of the Olympic Games.

Apart from official sponsors, multiple brands have also joined the bandwagon to cheer for India participating in Olympics.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)has launched series of campaigns under the title ‘Jeet Ka Padak’ (Medal of victory) which includes a music video wishing Team India the best. The company is backing seven of its employees who are representing the country at the games. Other campaign elements will include Olympic Trivia Quiz, Videos on archery and hockey; inspiring stories of players on social media platforms and on-ground activities including ‘selfie’ booth at BPCL’s fuel stations.

“The sense of nationality that the Olympics fosters is what turns the Games to a worldwide phenomenon. Therefore, BPCL has lined up series of campaigns to take the brand to people during Olympics under the title ‘Jeet Ka Padak’," said Abbas Akhtar, chief general manager, PR and brand, Bharat Petroleum.

Puma India, for instance, signed 18 athletes and rolled out a digital campaign ‘Only See Great’ highlighting how these athletes have strived for greatness during such extraordinary times. Mia by Tanishq is also running digital videos with four female athletes capturing their interest beyond sports. Myntra is also cheering for the team on its social media platforms. Homegrown short video platform, Moj launched #MojCheers4India challenge along with an anthem ‘Kar Dikha India’ to show support for the Indian athletes.

“A lot of young and upcoming athletes, apart from highly visible players such as Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, have also got backing from local sponsors and brands. Although these will be short-term engagements but at least it is a step in the right direction. If any of these athletes manage to bag a medal then brands can leverage their popularity in form of a possible brand ambassador partnership," said Nath.

Nath noted that the Indian contingent is strong with a hope to get medal in relay and weightlifting. According to him, Neeraj Kumar in the javelin throw category is one of country’s brightest prospects. “Women’s hockey team, badminton and tennis are other key categories where we are hoping to do well," he added.

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