At a time when the cricket world is buzzing with activities about the T20 World Cup, I got to thinking about the role cricket plays in the life of a marketeer in India. I have come to a conclusion that in the last 2 decades, the game of cricket has been like a God’s Gift to marketeers in India, ahead of Bollywood, and definitely ahead of all other sports. Why I think so? Let’s take a look at what cricket offers to a common media planner, compared to other options:
1) Fan-following: The fan-following of the game spreads across the country, covering almost all regions (urban and rural, east to west), all socio-economic strata and all age groups. And though the popularity does not spread as much to the women than men, it is important to note that cricket is probably the only thing that even trumps the soap operas, and ensures that the TV at home is tuned on to it – so even if the women are not interested the game, it is likely that the advertisements through the match will still be able to put their point across. And of course, the advent of T20, and with that of IPL has also seen growth of popularity of the game among women.
2) Placement: In-film placements are common now, however their impact is, as yet, limited. Cricket, on the other hand, seems to have absolutely mastered the art. The placement options are all around – from on-ground branding, field billboards, drinks trolleys to player kits/bats/jerseys etc. Additionally, and generating a better brand recall/awareness are the ‘commentary placements’ – remember Citi Moment of Success and DLF Maximums? – and before you say that they were irritating you while watching the match, think about this: taking Citi’s example, this has irrevocably attached Citibank to a positive word like ‘success’ – a sure winner!
difficult to miss brandings like these – brilliant placement opportunities!
3) No. of hits: The duration and frequency at which advertisements can be present in your telecast is staggering. Compare day long advertisements, repeating after every over (~every 5 mins) vs two bursts of 5-7 minutes each in a TV program! And the latter burst is usually long enough for people to flick through other channels during that time, unlikely in the former case. The no. of hits is one parameter where cricket beats other media vehicles hands down!
Is this an uncommon phenomenon, specialized to India? Not completely, as sports have traditionally been the big ticket draw items in most countries, just think Super Bowl in the USA – most companies plan full-blown marketing campaigns around it, reserving their very best campaign launches for the event. However, the 3rd point in the above list differentiates cricket a bit – for other games like rugby, football etc., the frequency of ad hits in a telecast would not be as high as in cricket, where there is a natural break between overs.
So, here’s a toast to the favorite sport of the country! May you prosper for years to come, saving marketeers plenty of headache! 🙂