India's performance in the tri-series may have been unimpressive, but that hasn't dented India Inc's enthusiasm about the World Cup.
India's not-so-assuring performance in the recently concluded tri-series has not dented the enthusiasm of advertisers who are queuing up for the ICC Cricket World Cup from February 14.
This time around, the tournament will be telecast in six languages and select matches will be broadcast in 4K - a global first in broadcast of cricket. The official broadcaster for the World Cup, Star India, has also added two new HD channels to its bouquet, with one channel providing feed in Hindi - a first again for India.
"On the back of different feeds, Star has created sponsorship and spot buying options for English, Hindi, languages and HD feed among others.
For the first time in live cricket, advertisers can buy different cuts, air creatives in different languages to target their audiences more sharply. The response to this has been overwhelming, not just from the usual cricket advertisers, but also from a host of other brands," says an official spokesperson of the Uday Shankar-led television network.
Some advertisers had earlier said that they would adopt a wait-and-watch strategy. However, as the tournament approaches, the confidence in the property is strengthening.
"You have to remember that the ICC rules forbid any non-commercial partner of the governing body to associate and advertise with the World Cup, or any other ICC event. So, LG, Pepsi and Hyundai, who are official partners of the ICC had their campaigns break much earlier. Others who want to associate with the World Cup, have to advertise on the broadcast medium during the tournament," says a top management executive of a leading consumer products brand.
Given the number of cases of rights infringement that have gone to court in the recent past, the international governing body for cricket had last year taken a proactive measure to make sure that no third party tries to commercialise its content or events.
As a result, official partners are allowed to run campaigns associating with the World Cup, while others cannot use the ICC logo, symbols and proprietary content for any commercial purpose. Thus, viewers saw the LG Buy and Fly offer ad campaign since January. Similarly, Pespico's campaign is themed around the frenzy which grips India when the ICC Cricket World Cup is on. Others however, will have to wait for the tournament to kick off and advertise on-air.
Apart from regulars like Maruti, Airtel and Sony, first-time World Cup sponsors like Nestle, Marico, Yepme.com, Paytm, Raymonds and Lloyd have joined the party. The addition of southern languages has resulted in interest from south-based brands like TI Cycles and Manappuram.
Vivek Gaur, co-founder and CEO, Yepme.com says, "Our target audience, 20-29-year-olds, in their first job, first relationship, relate to sports well and cricket is the biggest engager of them all.
The overall connect with World Cup is the highest as against any other tournament". Ritesh Ghosal, chief marketing officer, lifestyle business, Raymond Limited, says, "Raymond was quiet for some time and it was high time we engaged with the market. World Cup has a male target audience plus younger viewers are watching cricket. It made sense for us to tap this audience. If you want to build your brand story, World Cup is a good platform to do it."
If building brand loyalty and salience is key to first-time advertisers , the regulars were keen to induce top-of-mind recall as the summer season nears. A number of launches are expected in consumer durables and appliances including ice-creams, beverages and allied consumer goods.
R S Sodhi, MD, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, owner of Amul says, he can't afford to miss the World Cup. "Given that the summer season is round the corner, our seasonal products such as ice-creams and chilled beverages would be advertised during the World Cup. The audience is huge and across countries in that sense. We do not want to miss out on this opportunity. We will not have any specific World Cup campaigns, but product-specific ads."
Consumer electronics makers such as TV and handset manufacturers also hope to cash in on the World Cup fever. Manish Sharma, MD, Panasonic India and South Asia, says, "Considering the enthusiasm for IPL and Cricket World Cup, we plan to spend 15-20 per cent of our total marketing budget for this year during the IPL and the World Cup season. We also plan to launch a special edition of the Viera TV during this season."
Besides, expect action from categories such as e-commerce, travel and tourism, aviation, telecom and alcoholic beverages such as beer, who will of course do their bit in a surrogate manner.
DTH PLAYERS GET READY FOR WORLD CUP
• India's first direct-to-home operator Dish TV has ramped up its high-definition bouquet over the past six months and concentrated on sports friendly packaging. It now offers 39 HD channels, the highest in the industry and has fortified the sports packaging, offering maximum sports channels (12) in India at various price points
• Videocon d2h launched India's first 24-hour 4K Ultra HD (UHD) multi-genre channel on its DTH platform. Videocon d2h will be using this channel to stream the ICC World Cup matches in 4K UHD on its platform
• Tata Sky has also launched its 4K UHD set-top boxes. The price points for both the brands are pretty much in the same range, with Tata Sky's 4K UHD STB available at Rs 6,400 for new subscribers and Rs 5,900 for existing customers
• Airtel Digital TV has announced that all customers buying Samsung Curve and UHD TVs can avail an HD DVR connection (allows recording) at the same cost as that of an HD connection. The HD DVR box has an inbuilt hard disk of 500 GB