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Ceat, Electrolux leverage cricket for brand gains

Rina Chandran

"There is a tremendous association between the Ceat brand and the awards it has come to stand for excellence in cricket, and it has stood the test of time," said Mr Kalyan K. Paul.

Mumbai , Nov. 5

OPEN with some glamour, place some current and former cricketers in the middle order, and close with some branding— that is the strategy for cricket awards events.

Mumbai saw two back-to-back cricket awards events last week — the Electrolux Wisden International Awards and the Ceat Cricket Rating Awards — and the Garden City will be the venue for the Castrol Awards for Cricketing Excellence next week.

Invitations to the events are much sought after and media coverage of the invitees sometimes exceeds coverage of the winners. Still, the sponsors enormous gains.

"There is a tremendous association between the Ceat brand and the awards — it has come to stand for excellence in cricket, and has stood the test of time," said Mr Kalyan K. Paul, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Ceat Ltd, which instituted the awards in 1995. "Ceat's positioning of `Born Tough' stands for toughness and quality, so there is a perfect brand fit."

Ceat, a flagship company of RPG Enterprises, earmarks about 20 per cent of its ad budget towards the annual event, which has a fair share of Bollywood,and the company took the ceremony to Nairobi in 1999. The company also has on-ground activities at its Ceat Shoppes and will extend the awards to domestic cricket. The awards are seen as an important way to connect with the younger consumer segment and building a more youthful brand image. "It helps in our thrust into non-truck radials for cars and bikes, which are favoured by the youth, and helps us associate with them much faster," Mr Paul said.

The Castrol awards for Indian cricket is in its sixth year, and has helped communicate the brand message to a larger section of people across SEC segments, said Mr Naveen Kshatriya, MD, Castrol India Ltd. "We are associated with high-performance motor sports in other parts of the world, but in India it is cricket that stands for performance and excellence," he added.

The Electrolux Wisden awards event was held in London last year and this year's event saw a host of brands including TVS, Outlook, Mid-Day, Hindustan Times and Peter England signing on. "Wisden is regarded as authentic, credible and as the Bible of cricket, particularly among the die-hard fans of the game and cricket is a family affair that even women follow," said Mr Sanjeev Wadhwa, General Manager - Marketing, Electrolux Kelvinator India Ltd. "We wish to communicate our positioning in an integrated manner, using all media options available, and we believe there is tremendous awareness of the brand among the followers of the game today."

While the cost of organising the event — it was telecast live on ESPN-Star Sports and included video links to players who were absent — is "substantial," it is less than sponsoring a series, he added.

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