JioCinema or Star Sports: Who is winning the ad campaign race for IPL 2023?

With the release of the IPL 2023 ad campaigns by the companies holding the television and digital rights, decided to understand the adland's view on the same and which one of the two, 'Shor On, Game On' or 'Digital India Ka Digital Tata IPL' is hitting the bull's eye as of now

Shreya Negi
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JioCinema or Star Sports: Who is winning the ad campaign race for IPL 2023?

For years now, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been known for its innovative and captivating advertising campaigns, and the upcoming 2023 season is no exception. 

What has taken the most interesting turn this IPL season is that earlier on it was mainly the Star properties like Disney+ Hotstar and Star Sports, that were  creatively taking the IPL fandom to newer heights but now with JioCinema winning the Digital Media rights for the showcasing of the TATA IPL 2023, the IPL ad campaign game has upped to an extent that it almost seems like there’s an ad war brimming ahead of the tournament’s commencement.

Keeping pace with the development, reached out to various agency professionals to get an understanding of what are they thinking of the two ad campaigns rolled out by JioCinema and Star Sports for TATA IPL 2023 and found out that it is the JioCinema’s ‘satire on the redundancy of appointment viewing’ ad that seems to have mustered the adland’s keen interest and mindspace.

Mukund Olety

As per Mukund Olety, CCO, VMLY&R, IPL is when the decibels hit the roof and both campaigns are high on the decibel metre as they both are intended to celebrate the cricket festival. 

“While the spot from Star Sports celebrates the content, the spot from Jio Cinema focuses on the viewing experience and the features. Both ads are similar in a lot of ways – the small-town India vibe, the overpowering music and the packed frames. The Star Sports one has an interesting visual idea,” he said.

Olety also shared the belief that there is nothing wrong with the two ads but they are similar to a lot of other IPL ads done in the past and that ‘Manoranjan Ka Baap’ is still a tough one to beat.

For years now, cricket followers have loved the tunes of ‘Bahanebaazi Ab Normal Hai’, ‘India Ki Vibe Alag Hai’, ‘Ab Khel Bolega’, ‘Game Banayega Name’, etc. as the ad films have either banked on the popularity of former Team India and Chennai Super Kings’ captain MS Dhoni, or of other prominent faces from the various teams that participate in the tournament. 

‘Bahanebaazi Ab Normal Hai’ ad campaign by Star Sports for IPL 2022

Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘India Ki Vibe Alag Hai’ ad for IPL 2021-

‘Ab Khel Bolega’ IPL ad campaign of Star Sports in 2020- 

Star Sports’ ‘Game Banayega Name’ ad campaign for IPL 2019-

But this time around, audiences are getting to see a mix of both in the ads launched by Star Sports and JioCinema. The storylines of the campaign revolve around the ethos of the big-ticket property and its hype in the cities that are pitted against each other in the tournament, and the other starring MS Dhoni in his CSK kit, which apparently also feeds on the notion that this might be the last time viewers will get to watch the helicopter-shot slinger play in the IPL.

Below are the links to the TVCs for IPL 2023: 


Star Sports-

Rahul Gupta

In the views of Rahul Gupta, Founder and Creative Director, By Design (formerly IBD India), both campaigns have indeed lived up to the hype around the biggest cricket festival in India. 

“While Star’s ad focused on bringing the nation together which they do year-on-year, the future is digital, so Jio’s ad stood out for me in that sense because of the details of the viewing experience highlighted so vividly. The interaction between MSD and the viewers hit the nail on the mark,” he stated.

He also went on to add that the marketing strategies of both JioCinema and Star Sports, in principle, are quite similar, however, the main point of difference is that Jio has capitalised on the ever-growing mobile users’ segment in India.

In fact, the ad film released by the official television broadcaster of IPL 2023- Star Sports titled, ‘Tata IPL, Shor on, Game on!’ features Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, fuels the cricketers to achieve incredulous moments during the tournament, and it has not just been conceptualised - but also created by the Disney Star team.

On rather different lines, JioCinema’s ad campaign starring MS Dhoni and Suryakumar Yadav is ‘a satire on the redundancy of appointment viewing’ and is aimed at triggering excitement about watching the League on digital for free with a slew of fan-friendly features. 

Conceptualised by Ogilvy and produced by Chrome Pictures, JioCinema’s ‘Digital India Ka Digital Tata IPL’ campaign featuring Dhoni and Yadav caught in the thick of their respective matches, being abruptly and humorously interrupted only to find out that live match action is, in fact, being controlled by the acquaintances of the same actors who formed the cast of web series, Mirzapur, i.e- Shweta Tripathi and Abhishek Banerjee.  

In later stages, more bystanders come and join Tripathi and Banerjee along with their group of friends as they sample this new way of experiencing the IPL - which demonstrates how watching the IPL on JioCinema offers fans an unprecedented degree of autonomy during live action, something that TV cannot offer.

On the other hand, Star Sports has also released its second promo as well, featuring cricketer Virat Kohli with a clarion call- ‘Har Ghar Banega Stadium’ and bringing to life the IPL fan cohort called ‘Shor Squad’ who feel that IPL is best enjoyed with grandeur and ‘Shor’.

The second promo, created and conceptualised by TILT, highlights the experience and the thrill of watching IPL along with friends and family as the Run Machine Kohli invites fans to watch the marquee tournament on TV along with friends and family, transforming every house into a stadium.

Virat Kohli urges the public to transform every house to a stadium for IPL 2023-

Moving closer to the commencement of the cricket frenzy, Star Sports will also be unveiling more films featuring top cricketers like Rohit Sharma, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja.

Having said that JioCinema will also hero a series of features- be it free-streaming, first-time ever 4K streaming, commentary in 12 languages, multi-cam mode, 360 VR, multiple feeds in the days approaching IPL as they believe that the unison of all such features would elevate the average fan’s viewing experience. 

Siddhartha Singh

According to Siddhartha Singh, Managing Partner and COO, Infectious Advertising, IPL has become a 'celebration' and both parties capture that well, metaphorically. He added, “The coming together of people and enjoying the moment is endearing and both score well on that!”

Additionally, he also opined that while JioCinema has clearly defined its enemy, for which it should get ‘full marks on the communication strategy’, Star has left him a tad disappointed as it falls into the ‘Ah I expected this’ bucket.

Upon being questioned as to whether JioCinema has taken a jibe at the broadcasting player that won the media rights for television in its ad, By Design’s Gupta replied, “One can term it as taking a jibe, however, what Jio has essentially tried to do is redirect users to their platform rather than the traditional viewing media, more so by emphasising the features that are not available while viewing on television.”

Having said that, Gupta also remarked that in his views, riding on Dhoni’s brand value and his long-lasting association with IPL or Indian cricket as a whole is of course a ‘sure shot’ way to appeal to the masses. 

“It’s a tried and tested strategy over the years. The fact that this could be his last IPL is the cherry on top. Although, on the other hand, with the World Cup around the corner, having three main cricketers come together in one ad speaks to youth at large (millennials and after),” Gupta pointed out.

However, in Infectious’ Singh’s opinion, JioCinema has definitely sneered at Star Sports in its campaign and that too in an absolutely brilliant manner - as the former has put the control back in the consumer's hands, so somewhere it makes one lean into the experience- something that the consumer wants today.

Furthermore, he also said, “Dhoni all the way is still the ‘Poster Boy’ of IPL” which is why it is JioCinema’s ad campaign that has stood out for him over Star’s ‘Shor On, Game On’.”

Similarly, Olety also remarked that Jio has definitely taken a jibe at Star Spots and pointed out that since the content is the same, they ought to have played on the features and the experience of watching it on a digital platform, which they have and “calling it not just TATA IPL but Digital TATA IPL is a smart one because it clearly brings out the differentiation.”

Digital India ka Digital IPL TATA IPL 2023 Shor On Game On Ad review IPL ad campaigns By Design Siddhartha Singh Rahul Gupta Infectious Advertising JioCinema Ogilvy India Star Sports IPL on digital IPL on TV Disney Star MS Dhoni