With MS Dhoni and Co. winning their first two World Cup games in an emphatic manner, advertisers who kept away following India's less-than-stellar performance before the tournament are said to reconsidering. Two big wins — against Pakistan and South Africa — seem to have put to rest scepticism about the Indian team's ability to attract audiences. For instance, industry estimates peg the viewership of the India-Pakistan match at three times the 100 million who saw the Australia-England match. Figures for the two India ties haven't been released yet.
"Suddenly, there is a possibility that India will go a long way in the tournament. We are already getting feelers from brands who now want to invest in the World Cup," said Nandini Dias, chief executive officer at media agency Lodestar UM.
Before the tournament, advertisers and media buyers were undecided, given high rates, a lacklustre team and match timings, with some ties beginning too early in the morning. "In such a scenario, many advertisers chose to wait and watch," said Vinit Karnik, national director, sports and live events, GroupM ESP. That seems to have changed.
A spokesperson for rights holder Star India said more brands are getting on board after India's strong performance in the first two games.
Star said it has 38 sponsors across various channels with more than 100 brands advertising during the World Cup. The India-Pakistan tie had 93 advertisers across television and digital platforms.
Star's digital platform Hotstar saw more than 25 million views during the Indian-Pakistan match, it said.
Advertising during the tournament is essential for some high-profile companies.
"We have a campaign planned in March 2015 in line with our marketing strategy," said Ronita Mitra, senior vice-president, brand communication and consumer insights at Vodafone.
"The World Cup is the right platform to get desired viewership and eyeballs. The fact that India has really performed well in the first two matches augurs well to take this even higher."
As Karnik of GroupM ESP pointed out, "Advertisers are chasing audiences and for that they are willing to pay a premium for such numbers."
A media planner who did not wish to be named said Coca-Cola is likely to consider advertising during the World Cup if India manages to reach the final stages, which looks more likely now than at the start of the tournament. The company couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
Even brands that are already advertising during the World Cup are looking at a spending boost. Karbonn Mobile, a sponsor on Star Sports, is considering a consumer engagement programme on different digital platforms after India's recent successes. The brand was waiting for sufficient viewership traction to build up and the two India games were a big step in that direction, said Shashin Devsare, executive director at Karbonn Mobile.
Similarly, carmaker Hyundai, a global sponsor of the International Cricket Council, is also looking at stepping up its engagement around the World Cup. Apart from an on-ground presence in all stadiums, it currently has a strategy to collaborate with news channels, and a digital game plan.
"We are happy with the way the tournament is shaping up and the engagement level it has created with the youth. We would like to further enhance our engagement and these wins act as a stimulus," said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, at Hyundai.
On the digital front, brands that already had campaigns running are looking to pump in more money to extend their reach.
"Some brands of ours such as Mad Over Donuts are even taking one of their offline campaigns online to increase engagement after these two wins," said Ahmed Naqvi, chief executive officer of digital agency Gozoop.
Media planners said Star still has some inventory left since it has opened up its regional feeds as well for advertising. For those wanting to advertise only for the India-Pakistan match, Star was charging a premium Rs 25 lakh per 10 seconds. That compares with Rs 5 lakh per 10 seconds otherwise for national advertisers during the World Cup. If Team India can power ahead further and especially if it keeps winning authoritatively, those numbers could soar over the boundary. Source: Economictimes.indiatimes.com