IPL 2018 : Changing the face of Digital Branding

May 23, 2018

The Vivo Indian Premier League is a Twenty20 Cricket tournament in India, held during April and May every year. The 8 teams represent few of Indian cities and states. Founded by the Board of Control or Cricket in India(BCCI), IPL is the most attended cricket league in the world.

IPL became a major television property in the country and one of the most viewed events, making SonyMAX, the most-watched television channel. Not only did the advertising revenue surpass Rs.1200 crore, but also the viewership increased extensively, with the launch of a talk show, ExtraaaInningsT20.

In 2017, Star India acquired the global media rights to IPL, which was termed as the most expensive broadcast rights deal in the history of cricket. Star aimed to put a greater focus on expanding the IPL’S appeal with the help of a committed audience. The network organised television announcements of player and captain selection, hence increasing the viewership. Apart from domestic broadcasts, broadcasts in Europe, South America, South-east Asian countries were given to YuppTV, providing seamless, real-time access of all matches to viewers across boundaries.

The very popular digital platform, Hotstar, which offers affordable paid packages, also airs live matches in India as well as USA and Canada. Hotstar also released a self-serve ad tool that encourages their advertisers to better target their followers, and a live game commentary in 6 different languages which is yet to be launched. Apart from this, Hotstar will also stream matches in YouTube serves as a great platform used by IPL fans to watch matches. This is also used by people who only view highlights of the match thereby catering to such an audience that can still keep track of their favourite teams.

Websites like ESPNCricinfo and Cricbuzz, are sports news websites that feature news, articles, and live coverage. People can also watch cricket or view updates about matches on their mobile phones, making it even easier for fans to follow the IPL matches thereby increasing viewership. The smartphone has reached every nook and corner of the society today and hence most of the working class audience can easily watch matches online. This has not only increasing digital viewership, but also helped people who may not be able to watch matches on their TV.

As technology and the world of applications are fast developing, so are the ways of streaming live cricket. We can see how earlier cricket was only aired on television and radio, whereas now the number of mediums available has eased and strengthened the reach and viewership.

How Brands are using Digital Platforms for IPL :

Brands are always on the hunt to find events or programmes that enjoy high engagement and that can bring some advertising opportunities for them to promote their product. IPL has been the most sought after event and has come a long way in the digital and advertising world. Brands have realised that IPL is not just a two-month focus, and hence plan to provide high quality content from months before the IPL starts, that continues even after the IPL gets over.


The title sponsor of IPL, VIVO, has been offering Cricket fans a chance to win an all expense paid trip to the Indian Premier League Final.


Book My Showbeing the exclusive ticketing partner for IPL and also the most widely used, is all set to run targeted marketing and promotional campaigns, to drive number and create awareness.


Audience not only is interested in watching the players play, but also wish to be involved in the game through fantasy leagues and cricket apps. IPL Fantasy league is an online game where one can create a virtual team of real cricket players and score points depending upon how your players perform in real life matches. Fans tend to get involved in such online games, making them more engaged and aware. Dream11, is a leading fantasy cricket app, that follows a similar concept, has captured almost 90% market share due to its fantastic appeal and the legendary ambassador Mahendra Singh Dhoni.


Apart from sponsorship, the Indian mobile network operator JIO has also launched a TV program in Hindi, starring the popular comedian Sunil Grover, where comedians crack jokes and perform hilarious skits to entertain the audience, live. The cast also includes popular cricketers like Kapil Dev and Virendra Sehwag, admired by the audience, hence bringing in more viewers.

The Jio app also offers Jio Cricket Play Along, available for all IPL matches, in 11 different languages. Fans playing along through the app have chances of winning many prizes by answering questions. Jio has never left a stone unturned when it comes to giving the best experiences to its customers. They have now launched a new prepaid recharge plan offering high speed internet and live-streaming of cricket matches during the IPL season.


Airtel has also been running campaigns about their new season pack that they launched during the IPL season, where users are offered more data so they can watch IPL matches using their mobile data. This was a competitive move, in an effort to compete with Jio, which doesn’t seem to slow down on its freebies.


TVS Motor Company has launched a contest called as “ Play for the Star”, in which contestants are required to play a Dhoni trivia game, a Predict and Win contest and a Boomerang contest, to get a certain number of ‘runs’. The player with the maximum runs wins the contest and also wins a TVS Star City Plus along with match tickets. Another platform for IPL fan-engagement, creating cricket buzz and brand awareness at the same time.


Hosted by Star India Pvt.Ltd , the contest is a similar type of quiz-based contest, where winners can win match tickets to IPL matches. People watching Star Plus channel now have a chance to use their TV Serial knowledge to answer questions and win match tickets. Hence Star Plus uses IPL to encourage people to watch the channel.


Amazon launched an ad campaign for the IPL season has so far gained over 20 million views across mediums. The brand proposition,” ApniDukaan” is associated with the Indian consumer. The objective is to communicate how Amazon caters to each and every need of the consumer and helps them achieve their dreams. Events like IPL give brands a window to experiment with storytelling formats. Amazon has effectively used this window to market itself and create awareness.


Vodafone used characters called ZOOZOO, during the IPL season, to promote their network and their value added services. These became extremely popular during IPL seasons as these ads were constantly shown between ad breaks during matches. These attractive characters successfully grabbed the attention of the viewers and were a hit amongst the public


The IPL is a season much awaited for by cricket fans and also Bollywood stars, and fans can’t stop tweeting and posting about it. Social media is a widely used platform that fans use to post or follow IPL content.

Royal challengers Bangalore brought out Virat Kohli on the Facebook cover along with some other leading players of the team. This was supported by media GIFs that came alongside, providing a glimpse of the game. Twitter played the role of providing updates of the match, for people who missed the match. RCB also made use of blog posts, photos, merchandise, etc., while promoting the Go Green campaign urging the fans to take care of the environment.

Kolkata Knight Riders came up with a character called ‘Tutul Da’, posting animated videos of him giving timely updates on the game. He is given the appearance of a typical Bengali man hence appealing to the local fans. They also used the popular Marvel characters like Captain America, to show off their star player Gautam Gambhir. IPL on social media saw teams using Facebook and Twitter to give the fans a sneak peak in the teams and create engagement.

IPL provides the maximum focus periods to brands for two months, which helps them to reach and engage with the customers through promotions. Effectively using brand ambassadors, contests and apps, increases peoples participation in the whole IPL season, and hence leads to a successful ad campaign from the brands.

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