Will IPL ever attain the status of a Super Bowl?

07 Feb,2018


By Sanjeev Kotnala


The kind of frenzy Super Bowl generates on social media on Indian timelines, it is safe to presume it is one of the most followed sporting events within the advertising-marketing fraternity.

Everyone seems to experience, read and comment on the TVCs that the brands especially preview at the Super Bowl.

The teams salivate at the quoted production budget, which is way above marketing budget of many brands. They read about Super Bowl TVCs in multiple B2B sites and blogs to understand the intent, insight, integration and implementation. And they are ready to declare and defend their favourites. But, it is not just it.

This hyperinterest demonstrated by the global and Indian MAdTech fraternity is unique to Super Bowl, America’s most-watched event. Initial reports for 2018 suggest 103 million viewers. There are other more significant sporting events with a far broader global audience not getting this attention from brands or advertising fraternity.

Look at few of these sporting events.

  • FIFA 2014 averaged 187 mn viewers per game. The Germany-Argentina championship game had 913 mn viewers.
  • UEFA 350 mn viewers.
  • Cricket World Cup 2015. India Pakistan match had 313 mn unique viewers.
  • Tour de France 2016. 1.5 bn viewers in 3 weeks.
  • FIFA World Cup 2015. 750 mn viewers. 61 mn just for the US-Japan Match.

IPL 2017 first three matches got 185 mn viewers.  The whole tournament sees 1.25 bn impressions and the average impression per game was a decent 21.9 mn.

However,  in our  cricket crazy nation,  desi Super Bowl IPL fails to get the same attention. It’s not about buying and paying big for time on IPL.

There have been sporadic cases of clients investing a large part of their marketing budgets on IPL, smartly buying properties or pushing media to a create a fresh one. Amazon, FreeCharge, Ola, Oxigen Wallet, Zomato, Foodpanda, Faasos, Swiggy, and AskMe from e-commerce have used the platform efficiently. Voltas, Ploycab wires, Vodafone and MakeMyTrip, have used the platform for previewing TVC or created new properties to leverage the tournament.

No denying that there is an overcrowding of brands fighting for space and audience attention. Many of them inefficiently use the opportunity and do not adequately amplify the association. Time the client-agency re-evaluated their investments in the game.

There are far too many trying to find their say. There is utter confusion.  The brands need to work extra hard to be counted and associated with the property.

If you have money, IPL is a safe bet to reach cricket-fanatic male population but also has a sizeable female audience. In a way, it demands to be treated as a separate media season.

The situation suggests that only a disruptive engagement with the audience will give desired returns. Sponsorship is not good enough. Associating with multiple teams to gain visibility not disruptive enough.

Most brands, unfortunately, are interested in protecting their share of exposure. They end up treating it as another reality show or serial,  and wait for TRPs to do the magic. Very few brands in the industry focus on milking the opportunity.

The brands and communication agencies must evaluate IPL differently. Otherwise, it will remain just another Reality Show.


Super Bowl Commercials

Tide TVCs humorously convert every Clean TVC to become just another Tide TVC. I loved it. Will we see it in an Indian context, only time will tell? But, it is something that the Indian audience may appreciate.



Alexa lost its voice. Simple, straight and honest. It takes the integral feature and players with it to get the point across. Don’t think brands in India consider the audience smart enough and hence stay clear of poking fun at themselves.



NFL Touchdown Celebration hugely liked by the audience in America and is the best Superbowl TVC by some portals. I believe it may not get appreciated by Indian audience. And that will be the sole reason that we will be spared a crude copy of it in some sports premier league in India.



The new 2018 KIA STINGER and legend star rock and roll icon Steven Tyler? Now just imagine this spot with Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Salman- who would be the best bet in India.



Something that you may positively end up seeing in India is Pepsi – This is Pepsi generation. The brand is yet to outgrow its fascination with generations and montage.



Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.