Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Jun 07, 2006
Marketing - Brands
Variety - Sports
Are brands looking beyond cricket?
Ad spends on cricket have taken a slight beating as overall spends on the sports genre has increased.
A YAHOO billboard cashing in on the football fervour in Kolkata. A. Roy Chowdhury
Mumbai , June 6
A recent TAM report shows a marginal dip of two per cent in ad spends on cricket in 2005 vis-à-vis 2004. The report also says there was a 41 per cent increase in the number of brands that advertised on soccer (this is despite 2005 not having any major international soccer event), while the number of brands that advertised on golf went up by 74 per cent.
Does this mean that cricket is gradually losing its charm in India, as brands are beginning to invest on other sports? Mr L.V. Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, says that the ad spends on cricket have taken a slight beating as the overall spends on the sports genre has increased. He says that sports such as tennis and soccer are gaining a lot of popularity and a number of brands are diverting a portion of their spends on these sports. "A lot also depends on the emergence of local talent emerging in the international scene," he says.
Similarly, Mr Manish Porwal, Executive Director, Starcom, says, that though brands are definitely increasing their focus on other sports, it is not at the cost of cricket. "Like any other market that is developing, the awakening on sports beyond cricket is only happening now. These sports are now seeing more engagement and therefore brand associations and money come in."
"We have noticed the increase in popularity numbers of stars from sports other than cricket. Sanya Mirza and NarainKarthikeyan are doing well on popularity but the popularity of most cricket stars has not gone down either," adds Mr Porwal.
World Cup season
With the Fifa World Cup Soccer around the corner, a number of brands such as Coca-Cola, Airtel and LG have kicked off a number of consumer promos around the event. While Coke has tied up with ESPN for the Gyarah Hindustani contest, in which 11 Indians would get a chance to watch the matches live by answering a few questions printed on the coke PET bottles, Airtel in association with ESPN would be airing mobisodes, apart from a host of other activities.
And most of these advertisers feel that it is about time that they look at sports other than cricket. A Coca-Cola India spokesperson says, "India is fast moving from a one-sport country and popularity of other sports including tennis and football are on the rise. These present an exciting opportunity for marketers to build stronger connects."
On the other hand, Mr Sandeep Tiwari, Marketing Head, LG, says that while the passion for cricket has tempered down over the years due to an overdose, investing on it has also become expensive.
"It has become impossible for brands to dominate cricket. Therefore, the trend today is to co-partner with other brands rather than invest on it individually."
Saying so, Mr Tiwari also adds that while they are looking beyond cricket, it doesn't mean that they would move out of it. "Cricket integrates the country and will do so for ever."
However, Pepsi says that it would be continue to be loyal to cricket.
Says a company spokesperson, "Pepsi has a long-term association with the apex governing body of world cricket and remains one of the main sponsors of all international cricket tournaments played under the aegis of the ICC. Our ongoing campaigns continue to strengthen our longstanding association with cricket and brand Pepsi maintains its lead on cricket association scores. The most recent Pepsi TV campaign also reiterates the joy of watching cricket while drinking Pepsi."
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