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Perspective | Brands set to ride the ICC Wave

The ICC Cricket Cup 2015 is all set to begin this weekend. All the teams have already begun warm up matches in the Host country. While in 2011 India had an amazing performance, not to forget that they won the World Cup title that year. This year too there are hopes that the team will perform extremely well. While Dhoni is all geared up with the World Cup fever, the Captain has been very cool to leave behind the tension before the Cup.

The ICC Cricket World Cup hasn’t begun yet and there is already a lot of excitement and anticipation about the India-Pakistan cricket World Cup clash on February 15 in Adelaide, South Australia and this has been huge among Indian and Pakistani displacement living down under.

With about 6000 Indians travelling over to Australia for the World Cup, travel firms have done a good amount of business this season.  While millions will be glued to their screens to witness the world’s greatest cricket rivalry of time.

The 140-year old Oval has already been redeveloped and the capacity has now been increased to over 50,000 with new world class spectator facilities, the host countries have begun with spectacular opening events for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 from yesterday in Christchurch and Melbourne.

Meanwhile, in India, with cricket round the corner, many of the Television manufacturers and DTH operators are all set to build a better connect. LG in collaboration with Dolby is opening 200 experiential stores so that the consumers can get to experience the surround sound and get a feel that they’re watching it from a live cricket stadium.

On the other hand Salil Kapoor, COO, DishTV tells us that, "For this World Cup, we decided taking a more strategic route instead of coming up with tactical offers. We conducted a pan India consumer survey, which revealed that the millennial generation has tremendous interest in sports and that HD is the preferred choice for watching sports. The research also showed an interesting angle that usually in a family its only one person who is interested in sports, the  rest are still focused on GEC, movies, music etc.  Keeping these insights in mind, we relooked at our packaging and have made significant changes in our packages. First we decided to up the HD quotient and added maximum number of HD channels. We now have 39 HD channels, which are the highest no of HD channels shown by any DTH player in the industry.  We even fortified our sports packaging, offering maximum sports channels (12) in India. Additionally, we have the best sports packaging at every price point."

He adds, "The marketing activities are planned to promote High Definition edge that we have as a brand. It is a cricket plus approach as there is something for everyone to enjoy in High Definition. DishTV has always been about entertainment for the family. While everyone is just talking about cricket, we decided to keep cricket at the centre and add more elements to it."

Speaking about the associations and price bands, a Senior Reliance Spokesperson told us that, “In ICC we have many of the rights that we get as a partner. You will see more content and all of that is a part of the bouquet. We have tons of visibility in terms of being a partner. Now we have already balled the perimeter, and this time we make the perimeters more dynamic.” While he refuses to comment on brands ready to pay a premium for advertising in the World Cup, he jokingly says, “I don't know, I think the broadcaster can answer that better.”

Well it is a known fact to us by now that the rates for this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup are higher than the last year. A senior brand custodian pointed out that, “The rate is Rs. 5 Lakh for a 10-second slot for the World Cup and it’s almost same as for the IPL. It is unfair that the rate is same for two different cricket formats. The demand from World Cup advertising is almost the same as that of the IPL while not promising same TV ratings for each and every match. In that case only India matches will gain high TRP, while others may not, but the rate one is paying is the same. If everything goes well they will get the upside, if everything doesn't go well then that’s a risk you've to take.”

With so much of excitement round the corner, there are a lot of developments which are happening around the ICC Cricket. Everybody is trying to get mileage out of this cricket tamaasha. Sachin Tendulkar has been named as the brand Ambassador of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2015 and this is the second time in the history of the World Cup that an Indian maestro will be the Ambassador at the ICC’s pinnacle tournament.

On asking Shankar Nath, Senior Vice President, Paytm about their plans for the World Cup this year he said, “For cricket, we are taking up the Super 4s property. Across all the matches of World Cup, every time a 4 is hit, Paytm will be present as an L band on the TV screen. This will be across all national and regional feeds on Star Sports.”

While they will also be amplifying the same through digital the brand is all set to take its next step. On the other, he tells us that discussions for advertising during IPL are currently underway.

He adds, “World cup cricket is the single largest television event in the country. We will significantly drive our brand presence and recall through presence in this property.” Indeed it is so and hence brands want to make most it.

On asking Soma Ghosh, Vice President (Marketing) India & South Asia, Castrol about the brands investment in the World Cup, she said, “Cricket is the most popular sport in India and it doesn’t get any bigger than a World Cup especially as we are defending this time around. We have some exciting plans lined up and will be spending the right amount of money required to meet our campaign objectives.”

While the brand is all set to use both mediums TV and digital, Castrol Activ has been on an ongoing journey to connect with the youth. She adds, “This generation lives with their mobile phones and social media. Hence Castrol India is leveraging the ‘Second Screen’ to engage with cricket fans to provide an innovative experience through a variety of interactive digital initiatives during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. However we will also be utilizing the TV platform to amplify all our digital initiatives and reach out to more people.”

She shares some of her exciting plans with us, “We have some exciting plans for the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The ‘Castrol Activ Cling On To The Cup’ campaign aims to ‘virtually’ bring cricket fans to the centre of all the live action during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 to support the team. The campaign will create engagement opportunities through digital and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Hangouts etc.  Just like our 2 wheeler engine oil Activ that is the market leader has Actibonds that cling on to the engine to ensure continuous protection.”

According to media planners initially the broadcaster faced difficulty in getting sponsors. While as of today, the broadcaster has about 30 plus sponsors are all set for traffic on their website to show live feeds from the Australia and New Zealand. Not to forget that they have got an overwhelming response from advertisers for the India-Pakistan match on February 15. With about 70 advertisers already in the kitty for the Indo-Pak match, the broadcaster is power packed on D-Day.

Apart from a host of broadcast innovations, Star is also offering an unprecedented number of advertising options for advertisers all across the country. It has created multiple sponsorship and spot buying options tailor-made for different feeds allowing advertisers for the first time ever to buy different cuts and air creatives in different languages to target their audiences more sharply. The ‘Cup for All’ has got an overwhelming response with several first-time advertisers like Nestle, Marico,Yepme.com, Paytm, Raymonds, Pidilite, Lloyd and others signing on along with the usual cricket partners.

In a media statement, Sanjay Gupta, COO, STAR India said, “The World Cup is the biggest event for Indian consumers. The last edition was watched by 90% of TV viewers in the country, making it the largest aggregation of consumers possible. With India as the defending champions, the whole country is set to follow the team’s defence of its title in Australia and New Zealand and we, at STAR, plan to make this World Cup, a ‘Cup for All’. We will introduce many firsts and innovations in sports broadcasting to take the great game of cricket to the next level and provide an unprecedented viewing experience to the millions of cricket fans in India.”

When asked L K Gupta, CMO, GirnarSoft, about their plans for the season he told us, “There is always a dilemma when it is the ICC Cricket World Cup and then there is IPL as well. So this time it’s one following the other. In our case we would rather spend money in IPL because we want to chase a consistency of eyeballs when it comes to cricket.”

He adds, “When you look at the packages and the rates, it makes more economic sense to be on an event like IPL, which has a sure shot viewership for every match rather than having your viewership fluctuating up and down drastically between India matches and non-India matches. The level of investment is huge with regards to each of these events.”

He goes further to tell us that their focus will be more on television than on digital, but they may look at digital if they can reap the benefit.

Meanwhile, a lot of brands with whom we got in touch with are planning spends around all bases. But eventually it’s about optimizing spends because in the end it’s only that much money that a brand can spend. Yes, some brands are ready to pay a premium.

Indeed in this gamble some brands will benefit big in case India clicks else it’s a lot of money gone waste and guess advertisers are happy to pay that price.

A senior media buyer opined, “While brands seem to be eager to encash on the ICC World Cup on Television, there seems to be no dearth of takers on the digital front. Brands are ready to shell out 30-40% higher than the usual spends on the regular average video views available in the market.” By Archit Ambekar | Twitter: @aambarchit

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