Anil Thakraney: No effect on Brand IPL

27 May,2013

By Anil Thakraney


There is a lot of chatter going on over the impact of the latest scandal on the IPL’s brand value, and the possibility of advertisers ditching this ‘sinking ship’ next year. In response, let me first put up a daily life situation: Have you noticed how the chana vatana sellers suddenly land up when you are stuck at a traffic signal? In fact, they usually arrive when there’s a nasty traffic jam (somehow these chaps come to know of it!). Also, even as the bad jam leaves us in a foul mood, many of us do purchase the goodies from these boys.


Why am I giving you this strange example? Because it’s the same story with branding and advertising. Think of the car passengers as audiences, the traffic jam as the mega event, and the chana sellers as the advertisers. The chana sellers will only go where the crowds are, regardless of the poor emotional connect between the traffic jam and the passengers. And the latter will buy from these guys because they (the hawkers) have nothing to do with the traffic jam. In much the same way, as long as the IPL continues to draw in the audiences, the advertisers will be there because the numbers is all that matters. Regardless of the scams that engulf the tournament. None of the zillion controversies have dented the IPL’s mass appeal in six years, nor will the latest one.


And equally significantly, the viewers will not hold the IPL’s dirty deeds against the brands advertising their stuff during the tournament. This is because the junta isn’t stupid. Even the layman knows that Vodafone, Star Plus, Pepsi, Yes Bank, etc, have nothing to do with the spot fixing mischief by certain players, or the betting by bookies and some shady team owners. Therefore there’s no question of advertisers giving up on the IPL. As a case in point, news channels have been continuously running footage of Sreesanth and gang while they were busy spot fixing. As a result, the logo of the Rajasthan team sponsor printed in their jerseys, UltraTech Cement, keeps leaping out at you. Would that affect the sponsor’s image or their sales in any way? No chance!


As for the IPL itself, as I mentioned in my previous post, this tamasha is here to stay. The format has won the hearts and minds of the Indian masses, and all the ugly controversies over the years don’t seem to have affected its popularity at all. Even if the BCCI, which is under pressure, finds a way to prevent spot fixing in next year’s edition (a very, very tough ask), IPL 7 will throw up its own set of fresh scandals, and it will be business as usual. In any case, what’s the IPL minus all the high drama? After all, it is just a glorified, modern day nautanki.


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