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AdStand: The IPL Circus

Going by the build-up campaigns on television and radio, one get the impression that it is more about gibberish and senseless visuals n lacking in planning or scheduling

Delhi | April 4, 2016

Adstand by Naresh Gupta

Somehow IPL has become an important property in marketing calendar of many brands. This year, with the ICC WorldT20 championship hosted in India (it concluded last evening), will this mean that the excitement for IPL will wane? Will the audience’s love for slam bam cricket stay alive after the World Cup is over? Brand IPL is doing its best to generate excitement with a new brand campaign and with the countdown across a variety of team handles. The teams haven’t started their own blitzkrieg, but I suspect the teams are getting ready and in next five days we will see all the teams building up the frenzy.

First, the new brand commercial from IPL. It is an indulgent introduction to this edition of IPL. There are giant floats, supermanish flying players, daredevils that jump out of bikes and a variety of other stunts that will make you feel that the great circus of olden times has come to town. The only thing missing from the circus plot are some flying carpets, leaping lions and dancing elephants. It hasn't been shot in India, and there is hardly anything either Indian or cricket in the commercial. What has stood out for the TVC is the music which seems to be a Malayalam song from the past, written by a stand-up comic and is supposed to mean nothing. Gibberish to go with senseless visuals seems like the perfect match. If anything the music is apt in the TVC.

Then there are two long radio commercials that are currently playing. One is meant for those who hear the commentary in English and the other for those who hear it in Hindi. The two radio ads are snippets of commentaries from celebrity commentators strung together with neither a thought nor a theme. To top it, it looks like the small child discovered sound studio, dials and controls and loved what he did as the first project! I wish I can say to L Sivaramakrishnan “tricky one, up goes the finger” on this one. To top it, the frequency of the spots on the radio stations seems to suggest that the brand decided that muscle is what matters; there is no sense of planning or scheduling. As an audience, there is no point on hearing the two radio ads, back-to-back, and then again back-to-back.

The third ad is from Hotstar, asking the “Digital Duniya ke Dildaar” to watch the matches on Hotstar. Hotstar has been building its affinity with cricket for some time now. It has spent a lot of money to build the partnership with the WorldT20 championship, and it is continuing the effort with IPL. There is only one question I have after watching the ad: Why is it that only the young boys and girls have a phone that can stream Hotstar? Why is it that mothers or fathers or uncles and aunts and even older brothers and sisters and teachers and waiters have no idea of Hotstar?

Over the next one month, there is a lot of IPL based communication we will get to watch. Theme songs, social media promotions, twitter trending battles, Instagram feed and may be even Snapchat stories. I wish that ones that are being incubated are far more engaging and entertaining than what we have seen till now.

The IPL circus is here, and I guess it will be difficult to escape it.


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