Automobile market gives thumbs down to IPL5

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Falling TV ratings and cautious advertisers have been key characteristics of the ongoing season of IPL. While on one hand categories like telecom and beverages have been very enthusiastic on the use of this media platform, there are others like automobiles and consumer durables which are shying away from it. Pitchonnet.com probed further on how is the automobiles category taking IPL this season? Is it a thumbs up or thumbs down? And what are the key factors affecting the decision of these automobile marketers?

Volkswage Paasenger Cars is the only car brand, which is betting big on IPL 5. The brand launched IPL editions of two of its models Polo and Vento. The brand has also launched a new TV campaign around IPL and has also branded the six hit during the match as Volkswagen Super Six.

Lutz Kothe

Lutz Kothe, Head of Marketing & PR, Volkswagen Passenger Cars

Lutz Kothe, Head of Marketing & PR, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, says, “Last season the IPL proved to be a great platform to build and enhance our brand in the market. The best proof was our successful action model Vento IPL Edition. This year we look forward to further build on this platform and make it even broader.”

But other than Volkswagen, other automobile brands don’t seem much enthusiastic about IPL this season. Maruti Suzuki India has associated with the online broadcaster of IPL Indiatimes.com and is completely staying away from TV or on ground sponsorship of the tournament. Talking about staying away from IPL ad-spots or on ground sponsorship Shashank Srivastava, CMO, Maruti Suzuki India says, “For established brands with round the year advertising plans it does not make sense because the economics on IPL are not cost effective. Compare this: In IPL 4 the CPRP’s for a 10 second slot on IPL was coming around 5-5.5 lakh. While we were amongst the main sponsors in World Cup 2011 (we struck the deal well ahead in time) our costs were less than the CPRP’s in IPL 4.”

Nalin Kapoor, Sr. GM & Group Head – Marketing, Hyundai Motor India

Hyundai, which always has cricket as an integral part its media plan in the last two years, is also staying away from IPL entirely, despite the launch of new iGen i20 and a new brand campaign for the same. Nalin Kapoor, Sr. General Manager & Group Head – Marketing, Hyundai Motor,says, “We have associated with the IPL in the past but this time when we were devising our media strategy, we felt that IPL does not fit in our scheme of things.”

Similarly, other big automobile brands like Chevrolet, Ford and Honda are all shying away from advertising on IPL. Interestingly, two-wheeler major Hero Motor Corp, which is the official sponsor for Mumbai Indians, has also stayed away from buying TV spots for the tournament. So what is irking these automobile players that they are giving thumbs down to IPL 5?

Shubha George, COO (South Asia), MEC

Tough economic times
Experts are of the view that the cautious economic situation in the country is also one of the factors behind auto marketers staying away from it. Shubha George, Chief Operating Officer South Asia, MEC says, “The economic situation in the country is a little tight and automobile is one of the categories which has been highly affected by this and so automobile players have been cautious about their media plan in these times. That’s why they are staying away from the platform or preferring to associate online.”

No new launches
Mostly automobile advertising spends are higher around a new launch and some experts feel that this quarter there aren’t many new  launches from automobile players and that’s why not many of them have been present on IPL. Maruti’s Srivastava agrees, “There has been no great launches in this space recently and that’s why most of the automobile players are not advertising on IPL or are taking the digital route like us because that is more cost effective.”

But even players like Hyundai which has launched a new model and a new campaign have stayed away from this platform. MEC’s George says, “I am sure Hyundai would have evaluated IPL. I would say probably if there was an entirely new brand launch or a completely new car, then it would make more sense for an automobile marketer to spend on IPL.” She further adds that one has to take into consideration the fact that IPL is an expensive property, even if the rates remain same or go low, the viewership is maturing and that makes it more and more premium for marketers.

Shashank Srivastava, CMO, Maruti Suzuki India

Gear change to online
Interestingly with online viewership going up, indiatimes.com is being preferred by some automobile players like Maruti Suzuki India. Sample this: In the first week of the tournament, including the opening ceremony, the IPL website recorded 137 lakh views, as against 88 lakh views last year. This represents a 56 per cent growth over last year.

Maruti Suzuki India is the main sponsor of IPL online. Maruti’s Shrivastava says, “Digital platform is an important medium for us to engage our consumers and IPL on the digital platform is much reasonable in terms of costs and has strong deliverables. Unlike television and on ground sponsorship, the clutter on IPL digital medium is much less while the reach is still very significant.”

This trend shows that with the initial hype around IPL dying down marketers are getting more and more cautious about spending their bucks on IPL.





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Abhinav Mohapatra

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