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Brands' enthusiasm for IPL 2019 undeterred by polls, forthcoming World Cup

Much has been written and discussed about how the Indian Premier League (IPL), over the course of its 12 years of existence, has become an important platform for brands. This is year is no different. 

Though there is a clash of interest with the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, this hasn’t dampened brands’ enthusiasm for the tournament, which is often called the ‘Superbowl of India’. As per the viewership numbers available, week 1 of IPL 2019 had an historic opening with 283 million viewers and the numbers have been sustained as the tournament enters the third week. 

Commenting on the partnership and the new campaign, Vineet Singh, Director, Dairy, Nestlé India Ltd, said, “We are proud to be the Official Sports Energy Partner for a champion team like Chennai Super Kings. Milo believes sports not just builds health, but teaches valuable life-skills. Encouraging children to play sports by providing products packed with energy, great taste and nutrition is the core purpose of this brand. This unique partnership is a reaffirmation of Milo’s commitment and will encourage kids to take up sports and imbibe life values that only sport can deliver.” 

JBL, the brand from Harman India, has been leveraging IPL as a platform to enhance brand awareness. Sumit Chauhan, Vice President, Lifestyle Audio Division, Harman India, considers IPL a great platform that is helping the company and brand JBL create ambassadors amongst the young consumers. He added, “There is a definite business impact, but more importantly, it directly resonates with us as a brand and our audiences.” 

Adding further, Chauhan said, “JBL plays at the convergence of music, sports and culture and we are present wherever there is youth and high energy.  Keeping up with our efforts to delight our consumers who are sports fans, we have collaborated with Delhi Capitals this year. JBL has secured the branding rights for the team merchandise and promotional activities throughout the ongoing IPL cricketing season. Since its inception, IPL has had a massive reach, with fans tuning in from around the world. It gives us a chance to bring music and sports on the same platform, and connect with millions of young, vibrant, sports enthusiasts across the world.” 

Food delivery company Swiggy created quite a stir during IPLI 2018 with its witty ad films. Recounting the experience, Srivats TS, VP - Marketing, Swiggy, said, “Our association with one of India’s biggest television entertainment spectacle, which draws the attention of millions of cricket fans, has been a great platform for Swiggy as it places us right where the consumer is present. As the leader in food delivery, Swiggy sees a strong month on month growth of orders. Last year, we saw an additional 5-7 per cent growth during the season as compared to non-IPL months. With the theme ‘What a delivery’, Swiggy successfully brought out the very strong connect between cricket and food. Our various TVCs, like the Gulab Jamun ad on ‘no minimum order value’ not only received a lot of appreciation from consumers and industry stalwarts, as seen across social media platforms, but also helped establish Swiggy’s proposition, making it a part of every household’s cricket viewing culture. Last year, more users started making Swiggy part of the daily lives, like millions of people before them.” 

Coolwinks, which has come onboard as the sponsor for Sunrisers Hyderabad, is currently busy channeling multiple mediums to boost its brand presence. Apart from several on-ground and in-stadium activations, the brand has also focused on digital campaigns a lot. Parallel to which, it is running contests on its platforms for consumers under Coolwinks Cricket Zone like Be the Toss Ka Boss, Win SRH Merchandise by Coolwinks, Be the Ball Boy/Ball Girl at SRH Home Game, etc. 

Ganesh Iyer, CEO, Coolwinks, informed that the brand was ready to launch its TVC in about a week’s time and added, “We are also focusing our energies onto platforms like YouTube to extract maximum audience attention during this time.” He further said, “As far as investment is concerned, it totally depends on the combination of the team and its players’ performances. You can peek into past journeys, but their current and future performances can differ.” 

Elaborating on plans for IPL 2019, Chauhan said that JBL has created entertaining and high energy initiatives around the association with IPL. The company recently organised a friendly cricket match between Delhi Capitals and JBL Sunshiners, comprising a team of young, talented musicians from KM Music Conservatory (KMMC) and the ‘Sunshine Orchestra’, mentored and supported by Academy Award winner AR Rahman and his Foundation. 

JBL has multiple more initiatives planned for its consumers. It is running contests for fans on social media platforms, wherein winners stand a chance to win match tickets. There is also a JBL army, who cheer hard for the Delhi Capitals team at the matches. “A lot of our initiatives are already underway in the form of these digital and on-ground activities, and we have more in the pipeline, which will be rolled out in the coming days,” Chauhan informed. 

Following the tremendous success during IPL 2018, Swiggy is keeping its motto for IPL 2019 very simple – allowing consumers the convenience of enjoying the cricketing action while Swiggy takes care of all their food needs. Srivats explained, “In what is probably a global first, Swiggy and Hotstar have come together to allow consumers to order food within the streaming platform without missing a moment of the action. Besides this, Swiggy will continue to have a series of short and witty cricket themed TVCs, digital videos, Match Day Mania offers, real-time discounts and highly relevant in-studio integrations. At Swiggy, we define the success of our association not just by business growth but also through brand and consumer love.” 

As far as innovations are concerned, Coolwinks has lined up a couple of them. Iyer explained, “Our target wasn’t just to bring in new consumers to our platforms, but to also strike a huge and lasting brand recall for our existing consumers as well. At this stage, we are concentrating on (both existing and new) customer’s end-to-end experience through our strategies, offers and campaigns.” 

Speaking further, Chauhan said that for marketing, JBL has a focused approach to cover all the passion points of its consumers, who are mainly youth – from sports to music to entertainment and adventure. “We have a robust presence in both offline and online to ensure we are reaching out to them at all the right platforms. We seek to maintain the status of being the leading audio brand in India and delight our consumers always. We will continue to associate ourselves with artistes, and entities who work with aspirational storylines. It is reflected in our recent partnerships like IPL, ‘Gully Boy’, ‘MTV Unplugged’, etc. You will see the same approach in our future collaborations as well.” 

According to Chauhan, the journey has been good so far. It has given the brand an opportunity to drive growth with the masses, who are avid followers of sports as well as music and connect to an even larger, untapped audience. “We hope to create great success with Delhi Capitals this year, and leave an impact on many more consumers,” he affirmed. 

Summing up his experience with IPL and cricket, Coolwinks’ Iyer said, “Given the craze for cricket amongst Indians, there is no way one could go wrong with it. It takes care of everything – from enthusiasm to entertainment. We’d say it turned out pretty good for us. In fact, we saw a 2x jump in our traffic in our first match itself – which wasn’t even the home match. Since then, there has been a substantial increase in traffic, registered user base and app downloads, and we are quite positive that this will continue in the long run. Plus, it’s just the beginning and more than a month and a half is still in our hands.”

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