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Howzzat! BPL hits ton with replay bug

Boby Kurian

BANGALORE, Jan. 29

REMEMBER BPL Oye, the first countdown show on Indian television? The consumer durables major, BPL, is now riding high on the success of another media innovation associated with live cricket, christened in media circles as the BPL Replay Bug.

It's simple. Every time there is a slow motion replay on live cricket telecast, the BPL logo appears prominently on television screens. BPL has been running this across all channels telecasting live cricket, both test matches and one-day internationals. The key channels are ESPN Star Sports, SET Max and Doordarshan.

Now, BPL claims this "bug'' has given it the third highest spontaneous brand association with cricket, only behind soft drink biggies Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

"Research shows that it has provided us with high visibility and impact over the last two years. We are closely behind Coke and Pepsi in consumer perception of spontaneous brand association with cricket,'' Mr Anand Narasimha, Head, Corporate Brand Management, BPL Ltd, said.

"The beauty of the device is that it is highly intrusive and catches the viewers' attention at an exciting moment of the cricket match, and not during commercial breaks when viewers tend to surf channels. What's more, the bug appears at least 200 times in a single one-day international,'' Mr Narasimha said.

But, more significant is the economics of this media innovation. BPL has spent approximately Rs 8 crore on this bug in the last two financial years, which is hardly two per cent of the total marketing budget associated with cricket in the country.

According to Mr Narasimha, a conservative estimate shows that the top brands shell out anything upwards of Rs 150 crore annually to associate with cricket. This includes match sponsorship, star endorsements and all media communications.

Coca Cola and Pepsi reportedly spend close to Rs 25 crore, while LG, Samsung, Hero Honda and Sahara expend a minimum of Rs 10 crore every year on cricket. "Two years back, we looked around for a strong association with cricket; but we didn't have that kind of money to splash around. It's then we thought about the Replay Bug. On an average, it has worked out to about Rs 4 crore per year,'' explained Mr Narasimha.

It is no wonder then that the Replay Bug has emerged as a hot property. "I have word that our competitors such as LG and Samsung are eyeing it,'' Mr Narasimha said. Meanwhile, BPL will carry on to bug viewers with replays.

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Howzzat! BPL hits ton with replay bug


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