With a little over a month to go for IPL 5 (starts on April 4), franchise teams have started gearing to garner audience support. GMR Sports owned Delhi Daredevils, which had a disastrous last season, while has changed its tagline from ‘Khelo Front Foot Pe’ to ‘Kasam Daredevils Kiâ€™, has also roped in a set of brand ambassadors â€“ Super Fans, instead of one.
Fans, according to Hemant Dua, Marketing Head, GMR Sports, are an integral part of any franchise â€“ stakeholders in the success or failure of the team. â€œAfter a miserable season last year, it was paramount to revive the enthusiasm amongst the fans and take their aspiration levels a notch higher. We thus thought to recruit brand ambassadors who are an example in their own lives and can inspire the fans to stand for their team,â€ he says.
The flag bearers
The four flag bearers of daredevilry signed by GMR Sports â€“ Anuradha Vaidyanathan (Ironman athlete); Arjun Vajpai (the youngest Indian climber to summit three peaks beyond 8,000 metres, including Mount Everest); Arun Bhardwaj (Indiaâ€™s only ultra-marathon runner); and Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu (the only Indian woman to ski her way to South Pole), according to Dua are achievers in the field of sports other than Cricket who have dared to go beyond imaginations to achieve their dreams.
â€œAll of them have an association with Delhi and we are proud of them. Our Super Fans would be part of an integrated campaign, which will roll out over the next one month,â€ Dua informs.
The Super Fans represent different sections of people in the society. While Vajpai would be expected to inspire the youth, Dharmshaktu would be an inspiration for housewives.Â Vaidyanathan represents the working women class and Bhardwaj stands on behalf of central government employees.
â€œEach of our Super Fan will use the ‘Kasam Daredevils Ki; tagline to swear by the team and not let any stone unturned in making the team win,â€ says Dua.
An integrated campaign
As a part of an integrated campaign, GMR Sports hoping to create buzz on the social media front too. Contests like â€œPredict Whoâ€ and â€œDare to Predictâ€ are already online on Facebook and Twitter. A partnership with Indiatimes â€“ the official online partner for IPL 5 is also in the offing.
Radio and outdoor too would be heavily used to engage the fans, while on-ground activations will form a major part of the campaign as well. â€œSince the players are away right now and are expected to come back only few days before the tournament, we are still contemplating a television campaign,â€ informs Dua.
The entire campaign will culminate at the stadium to take a pledge for the team to win. Without divulging the exact amount that would be spent on marketing this year, Dua shares that the budget is spread acrossÂ mediums with 15 percent on social media, 30 percent on outdoor, 30 percent on radio and the rest 25 percent on BTL.
The campaign will be rolled out in three phases. The creative and digital mandate for Delhi Daredevils lies with Cheil Worldwide while JCDeaux is the OOH agency. Fever is the official radio partner for Delhi Daredevils this season, while an on ground partner is yet to be finalised.
At the airport
It may be recalled that Delhi Daredevils was the first franchise to start its theme CafÃ© at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport last year. In a bid to expand the team properties and revenue base, GMR Sports has planned to launch its own Delhi Daredevils merchandise this year. The inventory would be sold online through a new website which is set to be launched soon. â€œPlans are in place to bring out 10-12 stock keeping units this year,â€ Dua says.
Fun at the parks
The main line-up of sponsors until now for the team includes Muthoot, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Panasonic, Kingfisher and Idea. In order to give a higher visibility and greater return on investments to the brands, GMR Sports is also contemplating launching Fan Parks. Dua elaborates â€œIt would not just be about the logo presence. We plan to integrate our brand sponsors holistically in the campaigns. We are contemplating setting up Fan Parks where fans and the public can come and enjoy the game on large screens with food and drinks.â€
These locations would also be used to sell branded merchandise. While discussions for the first Fan Park is in advanced stages and if the experiment succeeds, GMR Sports hopes to have more Fan Parks next year.
If the marketing activities can get enough attention from the audience and fans, only time will tell.