IPL 2020: No Whistle Podu Army this time, but CSK guns for glory under Dhoni

Their legion of fans even has a catchy name – the Whistle Podu Army. And they are boisterous, fiercely loyal and follow their team criss-crossing India, wherever they have an IPL match. We are talking about Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Led by the immensely popular and recently retired (from international cricket) MS Dhoni, CSK is all geared for their opening match against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020 this Saturday, September 19, 2020. However, the loudly cheering the Whistle Podu Army will be missing (at the stadium, at least) as the tournament this year is being played in the UAE and most probably in either empty stadiums or with the bare minimum people in the stadium.

Also read: Chennai Super Kings bring on board Levista Coffee as Official Coffee Partners

As the battle royal for the IPL 2020 crown begins in three days’ time, Adgully takes a look at how the IPL franchise teams are engaging with their fans and drawing up their communication strategies in COVID-19 times. The first live Indian sports event during the pandemic, the Indian Premier League 2020 is being seen as a harbinger of ad spend revival and big lifting of consumer spirits, especially after a very dismal and subdued first half of 2020.

Over the last 13 editions, IPL has become one of the biggest cricketing tournaments in the world and a major platform for brands. This year, the tournament has been delayed by several months due to the pandemic, but there is a happy overlapping with the festive season in India, thus giving brands and marketers the much needed boost.

Three times IPL champions, Chennai Super Kings hasn’t had a very auspicious beginning at this year’s tournament. Its prominent team member, Suresh Raina, dropped out of the tournament citing “personal reasons”. Moreover, quite a few members of the CSK entourage have tested COVID-19 positive and the entire team has had to quarantine itself. Promising young cricketer Ruturaj Gaikwad has tested COVID-19 positive again, putting a question mark on his participation.

But these hiccups notwithstanding, CSK has a lot to look forward to, and has been engaging with its Whistle Podu Army in every step of the way.

CSK is back and so are the brands!

Chennai Super Kings has managed to retain old sponsors while also getting some new brand associations on board. Gulf Oil, Nippon Paint and The Muthoot Group continue to back the three time IPL Champions and will definitely look to leverage the winning ways of the team.

Speaking about the association, Abhinav Iyer, General Manager-Marketing & Strategy, The Muthoot Group, said, “The Muthoot Group is humbly proud to be the Principal Team Partner of Chennai Super Kings. Our partnership is strong and in its 3rd year of association. IPL’s moving out of India has certainly affected the scope of ground level activation, staff and customer engagement activities but we still plan to make the most of the available opportunity through a strong digital, social media and ATL campaign. Closer to the IPL launch, we will be kick starting a CSK centric digital campaign themed #SpiritofGold.”

He further said, “Besides Gold Loans, I am glad to share that we have also launched a special, first-of-its-kind, limited edition 8GM CSK Gold Coin of 999.9 purity with key CSK players imprinted on the gold coin itself. Our other product divisions will also be leveraging our CSK association extensively.”

Talking about newer associations, ASAP has been announced as the team’s energy partner, while Fast&Up has come aboard as official nutrition partners; BKT is associate sponsor, Levista is Coffee Partner and keeping the COVID-19 times in mind, EUME has partnered with the team as the official mask partners.

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Au-some stuff! #WhistlePodu πŸ¦πŸ’› #Repost @themuthootgroup β€’ β€’ β€’ β€’ β€’ β€’ We are pleased to share with you the launch of our new special edition CSK Gold Coin! This limited edition 8GM, 24 Carat and 999.9 purity gold coin comes with a special imprint of CSK players. The gold coin weight is 8GM excluding the weight of the coloured, scratch-resistant imprint of players on it. Buy this limited edition coin now at: Muthoot Gold Bullion Corporation: https://muthootgold.in/products-csk# Flipkart: https://www.flipkart.com/muthoot-gold-bullion-corporation-csk-limited-coin-24-9999-k-8-g-yellow/p/itmc7f955be2ff7d?pid=CONFVE6NF5YT9SSK Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07QKKM3HG?ref=myi_title_dp Get your coin now! Wishing you happy and golden times ahead!

A post shared by Chennai Super Kings (@chennaiipl) on

#Yellove lifts the true fan spirit

CSK was the first IPL team to come out with a campaign for IPL 2020 and also the first ones to announce the official and iconic yellow jersey for the tournament. CSK has partnered with The Souled Store for this announcement, which makes the communication fresh and youthful, yet staying true to the traditions of the team.

CSK has also heavily leveraged their social media accounts to constantly stay in touch with their fans all around the world. Whether it is footage of intra-team matches, behind the scene footage, player interviews or just posts to engage with the fans, CSK has done it all and done it big.

Here are some interesting posts from the #Yellove team:

Around the time when a few Chennai Super Kings players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Dubai, CSK put out a positive video where their CEO, Vishwanathan, addressed the Super Fans and gave them the confidence that their favourite team is safe and well.

The vibes are here and so is the game!

Even through these difficult times, CSK has managed to create a positive vibe around the team and fans, while also lifting their spirits and getting them excited about the tournament.

During this time, the way the team has stayed in touch and communicated with the fans is commendable and they surely seem to back their team more than ever.

Here’s an interesting bit of info – CSK is the only team in IPL history that has never changed its captain. Mahi ve!!!

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