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The great Indian advertising battle – Will 2024 election outcast IPL next year?

Rahul Tekwani, Managing Partner, Branding Edge Strategic Communications and Advisory LLP, writes that in India, where cricket is more than just a game, it raises the question: Can the 2024 election campaign outshine the glitz and glamour of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the advertising spotlight?

Rahul Tekwani

With the anticipation of the 2024 general elections looming over the nation, a contest beyond the political arena is taking form - the battle of advertising supremacy.

In a country where cricket is more than just a game, it raises the question: Can the 2024 election campaign outshine the glitz and glamour of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the advertising spotlight?

A clash of giants: Politics vs. cricket

In India, politics and cricket wield unparalleled influence over public sentiment. Since its inception, the Indian Premier League has established itself as a dominant force in the realm of marketing and advertising. With a massive viewership and a diverse range of advertisers, including renowned brands and celebrities, the IPL has commanded substantial influence. However, the upcoming general elections slated for early 2024 are poised to give the IPL a run for its money in the realm of advertising attention.

Elections: A festival of advertising opportunities

Indian elections are akin to a festive carnival. Spanning several months, encompassing rigorous campaigning, and captivating the nation's imagination, political parties are acutely aware of the advertising potential and leave no stone unturned to make their presence felt. From towering billboards, striking posters, catchy radio jingles, and persuasive TV commercials to dynamic social media campaigns, every avenue is harnessed to its full potential.

Moreover, elections transcend beyond political parties; they encapsulate individuals as well. Upcoming politicians and established leaders battle for voter attention, igniting a fierce advertising spectacle.

The IPL sensation

Contrastingly, the Indian Premier League epitomises a cricketing extravaganza unlike any other. Merging the cricket fervour with entertainment, it lures an assorted array of advertisers ranging from consumer goods to tech titans. With its star-studded line-up, jam-packed stadiums, and colossal television viewership, the IPL stands as a prime advertising realm. Year after year, corporations allocate substantial portions of their marketing budgets to be part of this spectacle.

The collision of advertising titans

So, when two advertising behemoths collide, what's the outcome? The 2024 general elections and the IPL are all set to contend for advertising revenues, eyeballs, and audience share.

Viewership and focus: Historically, the IPL has commanded a colossal television viewership and digital engagement. However, during the election season, political rallies and debates take centre stage in prime-time news, potentially diverting some viewers from the IPL.

Celebrity backing: Both politics and cricket in India heavily lean on celebrity endorsements. Political parties rope in Bollywood luminaries, sports icons, and other public figures to gain an edge. On the flip side, the IPL showcases the cricket prowess of international and domestic players. Celebrities will be stretched thin between these two mammoth events, triggering bidding wars for endorsements.

Advertising budgets: Corporations, particularly the major spenders, confront tough decisions about where to channel their advertising budgets. While some might opt for an even distribution, others could tilt toward one event over the other.

Social media onslaught: Social media has evolved into a formidable tool for political campaigns and IPL promotions alike. Both endeavours will strive to dominate social media trends and interact with millions of users.

Regional charisma: Elections often resonate deeply on a regional level, with distinct parties targeting specific states. Similarly, the IPL caters to regional allegiances through its franchise system. This could spark intense regional advertising skirmishes.

The advertising panorama is in a state of constant evolution. Novel platforms, technologies, and trends emerge at a blistering pace. Those who initiate preparations early hold an edge in adapting to these shifts and maintaining a competitive edge. Whether harnessing the prowess of social media or leveraging data analytics for precision targeting, early groundwork can spell the difference.


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