16 May 2022 14:35

Mohnish Modi

Mohnish Modi

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Imagine a rivalry of over 100 years and still counting! Once in every two years, these rivals clash with all their grit, fierceness and passion to take home the ‘Ashes’. A legendary sporting rivalry dating back to 1888, a sporting rivalry so competitive that it passages good players into becoming great players and, one that is so heated that the so-called 'gentleman's game' becomes anything but gentle. The Ashes, the epic five-match Test Series between England and Australia, is not only one of the greatest sporting rivalries but is also considered the platinum standard of Test cricket.

This year, the 72nd edition of the series is not just entertaining but is also intense as well as gripping as both Australia and England are at par with each other having won 33 and 32 series respectively. Although, the first day was Australia’s as England put up a terrible show by wrapping up their first innings for a mere 147 runs. However, this is just the beginning as outstanding Australian players like Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins and David Warner along with some phenomenal English players like Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes have 4 more days to go! So, will it be England levelling the score or will the Ashes go down under?

Another milestone to reckon with would be the telecast of the Ashes in 4 languages for the first time in India. The series will be telecast on Sony SIX (English), Sony TEN 3 (Hindi) & Sony TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) for cricket fans to enjoy the grandeur of the rivalry in the language of their choice!

“Given that India has a massive cricket following, this would be a highly watched Series. I would say that this would be more relevant for the urban and Tier 1/2 fans, but that also will be quite significant. The Ashes continues to be one of the most-watched non-India series in India. The cricket enthusiasts who love the original cricket form and have possibly been overexposed to the shorter formats of cricket, will follow this series very closely,” Ajit Devraj, Managing Partner of Dentsu Impact talks about the impact that the Ashes can have on Indian cricket fans. Rammohan Sundaram, Country Head & Managing Partner of Integrated Media for DDB Mudra Group has a more pragmatic say, “The Ashes is the ultimate test of cricket between two commonwealth countries because of the history it has since the Bodyline series in 1932-33. The aura of that cricket led to some of the biggest battles till date. However, with the dawn of Indian Cricket and the rise of some fantastic series that India has and so much cricket that India plays, Ashes has taken a back seat due to the fatigue that would have set in making any non-India playing matches only for the die-hard fans of test cricket. This number therefore does not attract enough for marketers to put their money behind though you will see some brands use the opportunity for incremental reach and for the low cost of association to cricket, which otherwise does not exist.” This could surely be a point to ponder upon for other series not involving India. Even Manish Porwal, MD of Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions, seconds Rammohan’s point. “Cricket lovers in our country is a set which is too large to expect homogeneity. The fever runs differently across socio economical classes, communities, regions, states gender and ages. Unfortunately, however, a large set of us change from being viewers to a just ‘news informed’ set when it comes to non-Indian cricket, even if it is as big as the Ashes. So, the viewership numbers largely drop in India, when India or Indians are not playing, and Ashes is no different. The next day news is often enough for most,” explains Porwal.

B. Sridhar, Group Director of Innocean Worldwide Communications Pvt. Ltd. also agrees, “This is important only from the perspective of serious Cricket enthusiasts who follow cricket all around. This is a minority audience. It doesn’t do much to all other cricket viewers as they mostly consume India-centric cricket content. But a matter of debate is whether the Ashes are the platinum standard of Test Cricket at all, even for the serious Cricket enthusiasts. Leave aside the traditionalists, Australia versus India is arguably the modern-day equivalent of The Ashes. Nevertheless, the serious cricket fans will follow The Ashes as well as the South Africa vs India cricket series happening, quite a bit alongside The Ashes.” Seems the insights are as intriguing as the Ashes itself! “Since its inception, The Ashes has been one of the most important and exciting test series. While it is just played between two countries, cricket fans all across the world wait for it with great vigour and there are no two ways about that. Cricket fans in India, too, wait for this special clash of the Titans. For these cricket enthusiasts, it doesn’t matter if their national team is playing or not; what matters is the fierce battle between the two best cricket teams. The Ashes hold a special place in their hearts,” says a very positive Nitin Kamat, CMO of TAM India.

When quizzed about the monies that Indian advertisers would utilize to promote their brands, Kamat further explains, “The Ashes series in 2019 saw advertisers ranging from insurance aggregators like Policy Bazaar to Automobiles like Toyota and eCommerce companies like Flipkart, e-Learning like Byju’s, FMCG companies like Fogg Deodorants etc. This year, seeing the current advertising trends across various test matches, we are expecting brands to step up their advertising during the series. We should be seeing more Crypto companies along with E-Learning and Insurance companies advertising aggressively through the series.” Rammohan Sundaram also has similar views on the advertising during the Ashes series. “In my opinion, heavy advertisers on cricket will continue to be part of Ashes for incremental reach and to stay connected with those audience and in my opinion all the fantasy league companies will definitely be part of the mix. That in itself will be about 5 advertisers and then a few fintech and edu-tech companies will add to that mix. So, you can expect about 10-12 of them to be part of the advertiser list during Ashes,” he explains. Manish Porwal, on the other hand, has different views as he tells us “Advertisers don’t necessarily choose a particular series. They choose the expected numbers associated with it – viewership and costs and match it with their advertising seasonality. On non-India matches, they decide more basis if the sporting event falls in their calendar and pocket and then evaluate it as another opportunity. I see the cricket-based apps, sporting and new age/digital brands and brands targeting upmarket men to be advertisers for the series. Sometimes, channels also sell packages for these series with their larger sporting events.” B. Sridhar also supports Porwal’s views, “I don’t believe advertisers really gear up for The Ashes. They would mostly have brand presence on The Ashes as a value addition to large investments on India-centric sporting events. Given that mobile sports gaming apps, men’s deodorants, edu-tech and auto category brands align in a big way with sports, they are the ones dominating on the advertising front.” Even Ajit Devraj is of the same opinion as he explains, “The brands talking to the youth will be more aggressive I feel and the mix will be from the usual suspects in mobile, telecoms, edu-tech, insurance, gaming and FMCG.”

With the Ashes being telecast in 4 different languages on Sony Pictures Sports Network, there might be a better impact on advertising & viewership. Rammohan Sundaram says, “There definitely will be some impact but that wouldn’t result in a massive lift in terms of viewership. It is the endeavour of the channel to maximise its potential with all its available might but that doesn’t necessarily change consumer behaviour. It’s like saying just because there is enough visibility the product will sell. So, when India is not playing the product has already taken a hit which then can’t translate to consumption even when visibility is high.” Nitin Kamat is quite positive & describes it as a great opportunity for regional brands. “Cricket is a religion in India and marquee events like The Ashes will definitely gain the advertiser’s interest. With Sony telecasting the series in 4 languages, cricket enthusiasts all across the country will enjoy the matches in their preferred language. This surely will increase the viewership. The much-anticipated series will definitely attract more advertisers – not only the national brands but also regional brands.” Ajit Devraj also is equally optimistic on the multi lingual commentary of a foreign series in India. He says, “It will definitely have a bigger impact. In fact, this allows hyperlocal marketing for specific audiences in different geographies. Additionally, brands will now also have the opportunity to connect with their audiences more locally.” B. Sridhar shows a different perspective and explains, “Telecast of cricket in multiple languages has already become a norm for a while now. The only point is that a non-India series being telecast in multiple languages can make the game a bit more consumable for the cricket fans who would rather watch India-centric cricket. Hence, while I don’t think it will make much of a difference to overall viewership, this might be more like testing waters for the telecasting channel with non-India cricket.”

The media fraternity seems to be divided in choosing the winning side as Rammohan Sundaram and Nitin Kamat are supporting Australia, Manish Porwal and Ajit Devraj are rooting for England while B. Sridhar is just eager to watch some great high intensity cricketing action and is just neutral. Similarly, when it comes to choosing favourites, they love Australia’s David Warner, Steven Smith & Josh Hazelwood and from the English side they picked Joe Root, Ben Stokes & Jos Butler. Even though, it is considered the platinum standard of Test cricket, the Ashes series has had its interesting turn of events with a mix of ups and downs accompanied by an exceptional history. Out of the 330 Ashes Test matches played till date, Australians have won 134 while England have pocketed 106 wins and 90 of them ended in a draw.

Now, with the Ashes 2021-22 Series being telecast on Sony Pictures Sports Network for India to witness the rivalry, which side are you supporting?

In a Q&A with MediAvataar India, Ramya talks about the rapid growth of Influencer marketing and its importance for brand visibility

Here is the complete interaction...

Q.How has Influencer Marketing changed the course of brand visibility in recent times? Also, is it necessary for a brand to collaborate with influencers?

When you work with influencers, you're exposing your brand to thousands of people who may have never heard of it before. They'll be eager to learn more about your brand or follow you on social media since they're learning about it from someone they can trust. Influencer marketing, on the other hand, has the potential to introduce a brand's products and services to a large number of new people who are unfamiliar with it. You can generate new leads and turn your increased visibility into revenues by reaching out to a wider range of people. Through digital marketing and influencers from that location, a brand might have a workshop in Bombay but have clients all over India, making the communication more authentic and relevant to the brand. Influencers have a lot of leverage, and they can help you connect with your target audience while increasing engagement, brand loyalty, and, most importantly, making a sale.

Q.How is whoppl different from any other content & influencer marketing business?

At whoppl, we create content for both influencers and brands. We help Influencers and businesses with scripting, content, creative solutions, strategies, etc among other things. Today's brands are shifting away from stock images and everything basics that are already available on the internet and are shifting their focus to more customized and personalized brand stories, which we assist in developing. In today's world, everyone is gravitating toward snackable content, therefore we help brands do the same. In order to share a voice across platforms and communicate in diverse ways, we develop platform-specific strategies for numerous channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If a company is on Instagram, for example, we'll make a 15-second film for them. We might make a 60-second video with them on Facebook, and a 5-minute film with them on YouTube, creating content that users want to consume across platforms, so snackable content is what we do with influencers and companies, and that's how we're distinct. In addition, we handle everything from inception to delivery, directly collaborating with influencers and cutting out the middlemen, making us more cost-effective. When it comes to influencer marketing, we come up with a solution based on the brand objectives, and then work with the influencer to churn it out, which guarantees that the communication remains intact.

Q.Please share some steps you take for influencer marketing and how different are those steps for each brand you represent?

With the help of our influencer panelists spread across different industries, we infuse a more individualistic approach to our influencer-led strategies that help us create organic and real content rather than typical ad-focused posts. Every Campaign is created from a strategic approach against the background of a strong consumer and category insight. Additionally, we work with real-time observations provided by our network of influencers, which are applied during our campaign planning.

➔ Brand Brief - Deconstruct the brief from the client with the team.

➔ Research - Conducting primary research on the topic + due diligence with comp scans.

➔ Strategy - Craft different AI-driven strategies with our team of influencer panelists, content creators.

➔ Campaign - Present multiple campaign routes to the client.

➔ Execution - Executing the selected route as per client budget.

➔ Measure - Measuring Success of the campaign & KPI goals.

Q.What are the key points to notice in an influencer to measure their authenticity?

You can benefit from brand influencers whether you own a tiny online store or a major E-Commerce company. Influencer marketing is, in fact, one of the most cost-effective and fastest-growing techniques of attracting customers. To get a return on investment, the influencer needs to develop a genuine connection with their audience. However, with many firms undertaking their own influencer research, how can one rapidly verify whether an influencer is legitimate before investing marketing budget?

Here are a few things to look for -

- Check their engagement

One of the first things to check for when establishing an influencer's authenticity is their level of engagement. You can do so by comparing the amount of likes and comments they receive on each post to the size of their audience. The quantity of engagement that an influencer's platform produces can indicate whether or not they have a valuable perspective and opinion. These are all signs that they have a receptive audience that is really interested in what they have to say.

- Look into their past endorsements.

Looking at who an influencer has already worked with is a great way to assess their credibility. Checking an influencer's endorsement history might help you ensure that you're working with someone reliable who shares your brand's values.

- Take a look at their TG.

You may also look at an influencer's social following to check if their content is targeting the right people. A women wear influencer with a predominantly male following, for example, might not be able to wield purchasing power in that industry.

- Watch out for frauds

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular, and many people are choosing to buy followers and likes to stay ahead of the competition. It's easy to detect whether an influencer obtained their following through improper means if they have a disproportionate number of likes compared to their follower count.

Q.Do brands interfere with the content the influencers create?

Because there are particular Brand Objectives for every influencer campaign, brands do have a say in what influencers create. While Influencers are cognizant of what people prefer to consume and how genuine they may be, Brands must adhere to certain guidelines. Also, there is some communication that must be delivered in a specific manner. So, absolutely, brands do meddle in that sense, ensuring that the essential norms are followed, that communication is in line with the brand goals and that they do have a substantial role in determining what the output will be.

Q.Should brands choose global influencers or local influencers?

It is entirely dependent on the Brand. If your business has a global presence, you should surely engage both global and Indian influencers. Today, we see a lot of global Indian influencers talking about businesses that are highly popular in India but also have a niche in other countries. So, while a diverse bag of influencers makes sense, having a worldwide presence makes very little sense if your brand and your logistics are only in India. Of course, if the business wants to build a name for itself in international markets, an international phase makes perfect sense. Local influencers, on the other hand, are the finest way to break into local markets.

Q.Share some advice to the upcoming influencers in the industry.

Influencer marketing is rapidly expanding; therefore it will only take off if your material is authentic, original, and consistent. Today's users are exposed to so much content, so many platforms, and so many apps that they will not invest time and energy in you unless you are doing something unique, something really innovative, or something really out of the box. As a result, whatever you do must be filtered via a creative lens, or the way you do it must have a distinct aesthetic. To make a name for yourself, you'll need a differentiator, relatable content, and consistency in posting.

 

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the biggest multi-sport extravaganza is already underway in the Japanese capital and India has sent its largest contingent to date which comprises 127 athletes. The games are already being aired by Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN) on its television channels and its OTT platform SonyLIV.

Many luminaries from diverse fields came forward to rally the support of the nation for the Indian contingent. Touted to be one of India’s biggest & grandest campaigns in the history of Indian Olympics till date, SPSN’s ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’, a series of films, where they collaborated with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as well as eminent personalities like Shri Anurag Thakur, Union Minister for I&B and Youth Affairs & Sports, Kiren Rijiju, Hon’ble Minister of Law & Justice, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Mr. N.P. Singh, MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Networks India, along with Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Sudha Murthy, Nita Ambani, Sajjan Jindal, Gautam Adani, Adille Sumariwala, Vijender Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Pullela Gopichand, Anjali Bhagwat, Parth Jindal, Harsha Bhogle, and many more to catalyze the Olympics momentum in the nation.

“Presence of celebrities from various fields cheering the Indian Olympics team and their enhanced coverage in media as well as on social media has given an outlet for brands too to build visibility using this platform. Brands are riding on the Olympics wagon by not only curating special hashtags and campaigns but also making athletes their brand ambassadors. They have gone a step further and created inspirational videos showcasing athletes’ journey that intrinsically blends with the brand’s personality and with a further boost to their positioning in consumer’s minds. Brands like AMFI (Association of Mutual Funds in India), Amul, Byjus, Hero, JSW, MPL Sports Foundation, Thums Up and Visa Pay have capitalized on this mega event and have left no stones unturned to reach millions of consumers even in the remote parts of India through telecast of this event on TV & Digital platforms,” explains L.V. Krishnan, CEO of TAM Media Research on Indian brands capitalizing the event for a brand boost.

Nandini Dias, CEO of Lodestar UM says, “Over the last 10 years India has enhanced focus on winning more metals and has taken steps to push the system. Organizations like Olympic quest for Gold, Prakash Padukone and Gopichand Badminton academy, Reliance Foundation Sports all have taken steps to identify and train players. It is important that we all must encourage our contingent and stand by them. It's great that many people holding critical portfolios and celebrities have come together in ads to encourage. But we also need many more organizations to identify/pick a sport and support the players' journey on a long-term basis through the four years of training. We have seen magic in Badminton. We need it in many more sports.”

Navin Kathuria, Executive Vice President – Planning & Buying, OMD Mudramax also shares similar views, “Cricket = Sports in India, broadly across the country. However other sports like Football, Kabaddi, Badminton have been garnering interest in the past few years though relatively on a smaller scale. Having said that Events with a global scale like Olympics does have its segment of audiences and advertisers. The government and Corporates have been supporting the Indian contingent of participants for quite some years now. Also, better performances of Indian sportspersons on the world stage and bringing glory to India in the past few years on global sports events have generated interest and hope. Hence Tokyo Olympics will also get support and attention from viewers as well as advertisers.”

“From a marketing and sponsorship perspective, the Olympics has not been very big in India possibly because our performance and luck with medals have not been good. Also, the money involved in the sponsorship deals is a fraction of what is paid for cricket. However, I see that this time the Olympics are getting a fair amount of attention in media and from sponsors. The govt is also focusing more on it. The early win by Mirabai Chanu will also provide a big boost. All said and done the Olympics provide a good platform for brands to stand out in a niche way without spending a fortune,” says an optimistic Lara Balsara Vajifdar, Executive Director, Madison World. However, like there are two sides of every coin, similarly there is covid-19 still hovering around us with new variants. Will it continue playing a spoilsport for Indian advertisers? “Today any distraction from Covid is good. And we have seen that sports events are taking place all over the world. Consumer demand is also surely coming back so advertisers are ready to open their purse strings,” quips Balsara Vajifdar.

Advertisers, the world over, have always taken sporting events seriously and tried utilizing these events for promotions, new launches, increasing awareness, and enhancing brand recall. India is no less. “Brands have always made the most of sporting events and the Olympics is no different; especially because like World Cup, this is a once-in-four-year event. Athletes from across India compete with other international players in over 18 sports. This multi-sport event is increasingly garnering higher viewership, specifically with more Indian athletes participating and hence proving to be a good opportunity for brand participation. Rio Olympics 2016 attracted 35 Brands in 25 Categories such as e-commerce, automobiles, life insurance, etc. This year is no different. The opening day saw advertisers from various categories starting from e-Learning to automobiles, beverages, etc. So yes, Olympics 2020 has proved to be a breath of fresh air for brands too,” explains Krishnan about advertising during the current Tokyo games. Nandini Dias also shares similar thoughts while talking from an agency perspective. “Live sports events have done very well since the onset of a pandemic. Both in terms of viewership and have been high on conversations across Facebook, Twitter, and news channels. Our agency has been optimistic and many of our clients are participating in some form or the other Amul, Coca-Cola, RBI, Exxon Mobil to name a few. Advertisers who have been reticent, and have had a conservative outlook throughout the pandemic have continued to stay away,” she says.

Navin Kathuria gives a more logical reason as he explains, “There are two factors which will result in relatively higher interest levels and better response for Tokyo Olympics both from a viewer and advertiser perspective: Firstly, due to the pandemic, Olympic games were postponed by a year, this being the 2nd Sports event on a global scale (after Euro Cup), buzz and curiosity are on relatively higher levels and secondly, Indian sportspersons’ performance in the past few years on global sports events has been improving. Thus, the advertising fraternity will look at these games from a fresh perspective. As mentioned above, it does not get the advertiser response like Cricket, but there are substantial corporates who would be looking at Olympic games as an opportunity and an effective platform to communicate their product & brand messages.” Saikhom Mirabai Chanu silver has increased India’s hopes for more to come, possibly gold!

When quizzed with which athlete will pacify India’s quest for gold, “This year, India has sent its biggest contingent for the event. Each athlete has their own merits and strengths. Mirabai Chanu has already created history by winning a silver medal on the opening day for India. Other sportspersons like PV Sindhu, Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, etc. are advancing with their splendid performances. It is, indeed, very difficult to say who will bag the first gold medal for India,” answers L.V. Krishnan. While Nandini Dias is very specific with her bet on PV Sindhu, Lara Balsara Vajifdar who is not a sports buff has high expectations with boxing, shooting, archery, and badminton.

Talking about the ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’ campaign that received a phenomenal response from the audience, the media, and the advertising fraternity, L.V. Krishnan said, “Hum Honge Kamyab has always given a sense of confidence to anyone who hears it. The campaign has evoked a sense of pride in not only the athletes but in the nation as a whole. Prominent personalities from all walks of life, including our honourable PM, have come forward to encourage & congratulate our athletes, as they make our country proud. Through this campaign, Sony Pictures Sports Network has taken engagement of audiences with a multi-sport event to a new level.”

 

If you thought, nothing comes close to the madness of the FIFA World Cup, think again! Another biggest and the grandest football extravaganza is the UEFA Euro, a tournament with its celebrated memoirs and vibrant chronicles. While the coronavirus pandemic definitely has played spoilsport for all kinds of sports, June 2021 brings one of the world’s biggest football tournaments – the UEFA Euro 2020 for football fanatics, sports enthusiasts and for the ‘not so much into football’ side of the world as well. With the biggest names from the 24 participating countries like Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Ansu Fati, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski, Joao Felix Luka Modric and Romelu Lukaku in action to achieve glory, it will surely be a treat to watch!

A pertinent question arising in the minds of many in India will the second half of 2021 will be a game changer for the sports world starting with UEFA Euro 2020 and will it prove to be a boon for the Indian advertisers and the audience? Mohit Joshi, CEO, Havas Media Group India optimistically says, “The second half of 2021 definitely looks more positive and hopeful with the line-up of international events such as UEFA Euro 2020, ICC T20 World Cup, 2021 French Open and Tokyo Olympics, offering a semblance of normalcy in the sporting world. On the advertising front, this could be a very good opportunity for brands that are heavily male oriented, for instance, brands in categories such as deodorants, automobiles, etc. However, a factor to consider is the timing of the matches in India. Most of the interesting matches including semi-finals & the finals are scheduled to start from 0030 Hrs IST, however, we have seen Indians watching TV and specially such matches till late and given the work from home, it could ease and support the viewership.” Nitin Kamat, CMO of TAM India is equally positive. “With vaccination drives across the globe & fans are returning to stadiums, sporting events are seeing the same zeal as pre-covid times. Brands are capitalizing on this opportunity to draw fan’s attention. With IPL pulled back, and major sporting events to look forward to, brands are looking for right properties to advertise. So yes, in terms of advertising and branding, the second half of 2021 will definitely be a game changer. Brands pull out all stops to make the most of tournaments like UEFA Euro. Football has its own set of passionate followers. Brands will definitely look at grabbing this opportunity to interact with fans across platforms”, says Kamat

“I surely think that UEFA Euro 2020 will be a boon for Indian advertisers & audiences alike as it has always been a popular event. Digital has gained maximum expectancy. Vaccinations and the recent dropping numbers will get the positivity back for India. I feel advertisers will more than welcome the Euro Cup because people are more indoors and looking for anything that’s new. OTTs have witnessed a huge pull, but the fact is that there is a paucity of fresh and new content. Euro cup being a month long event will find itself extremely relevant to not just football fans and followers but will also draw new ones in,” explains Sudhir Nair, Founder & CEO of 21N78E Creative Labs. A lot of media & advertising honchos are affirmative about the boost in advertising and things changing for good. Manish Porwal, MD of Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions is quite hopeful with the football fiesta. “I think top sports events like UEFA Euro always finds takers. Football is a sport gaining fast popularity in our cricket led nation amongst the urban youth who also happen to be the target audience to a lot of brands. One only hopes that the second half of the year, earmarked by UEFA Euro, now 2021, is going to be a game changer. There is a huge pent up demand for entertainment and sports events – both as viewers and spectators, and that would help the games quite a bit.”

While there are also some stalwarts who are a little sceptical with the way things are in India currently. Country Head & Managing Partner of Integrated Media for DDB Mudra Group, Rammohan Sundaram believes otherwise & is more pragmatic, “No I don’t think it will be a game changer if you are talking of India’s perspective. India is still not out of the woods and there is a big possibility of a third wave which means direct impact on C that will ensure advertising budgets are looked at more prudently and utilised in the best possible manner. I don’t think the numbers typically attract advertisers unless there are specific global associations with the event, which will mean their Indian counterparts will be present through FCTs. Other than that I doubt if advertisers will look at events such as these given the extra-ordinary number of global cricketing events that are scheduled in 2021. We also know that I-League and ISL has their following and the sports is picking pace in terms of adoption but until you have national heroes of the sport you won’t produce players who could show their mettle even if they were talented because the Indian Team still has some time to play in a Football World Cup event. The day that happens, which I am sure isn’t too far off, things will dramatically change in India.” Dhruv Jha, Head of Content for MediaBrands India also thinks on the same lines. “The situation is dicey and we need to wait and watch. There always has been a following for major world class events more so for the world cup. The big matches create excitement and draw interest of both advertisers and viewers. However, brands will be careful and there will be major negotiations and uncertainties.”

Melroy Dsouza, Chief Operation Officer of Madison India’s sports arm Professional Management Group is of the view that it will be a win-win situation for brands & audiences. “European Football has huge fan following with leagues in England, Spain and Italy being closely followed in India. With the top players from Europe playing in the tournament, the Euros will definitely have a distinct fan following in India. Traditionally, the Euros are also more competitive than the FIFA World Cup with teams being more equal in strength, making it better viewing. With there being lots of uncertainty around International sporting events due to the pandemic and there being no European football leagues played at that time, UEFA Euro 2020 will get advertisers interested. It will give them an opportunity to reach out to targeted audiences who follow football.” CEO of Madison Digital & Media Media Ultra Vishal Chinchankar shares views similar to Dsouza. “With the cases on a decline and the increase in vaccination we sure can hope for a much better 2nd half then the earlier half gone by in 2021. When it comes to football, the Euros are most popular after the FIFA World Cup, so it’s a good opportunity for brands to cash in on the viewership of the Euro 2020. There are many brands associated with football through the year and they will surely want to associate with the Euro 2020 as it’s a prestigious tournament and all countries would want to win. So one gets to see excellent football with many superstars of the game participating and representing their country.

Although, football is climbing up the ladder for the Indian sports enthusiasts, most of the media and advertising honchos agree with prudence that to further boost the popularity of football in India, training and development needs to rapidly increase from the grass root level. Also, the Indian football team needs to win international tournaments and quality for the FIFA World Cup. Many corporates are putting up facilities at world class level and backing potential talent as well. While the trade community and the advertising industry might have different opinions, it will surely be worth the wait as Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited is all set to air the UEFA Euro 2020 live on its television channels and its OTT platform SonyLiv. The telecaster has been dribbling with FIFA World Cup 2018 and plans to score big with the UEFA Euro 2020.

 

Tags – UEFA Euro 2020, Euro 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mbappe, Harry Kane, DDb Mudra, 21N78E, Havas, Madison, TAM, MediaBrands, Alchemist, Football, FIFA World Cup, Sony Pictures Network India, SonyLiv,

BBC World News is not only the top-notch news channel in the world, but it has been at the forefront in doing things differently for its partner agencies and brands. On 30th August 2019, the best corporate footballers from Mumbai’s biggest media agencies and brands competed to win the 5th edition of BBC World News Connect Championship.

Since its inception in 2014, the event has offered Mumbai’s media professionals a platform to showcase their football skills on the ground while networking and building valuable relationships from across the industry. This year not only had a bigger venue at Om Grounds Astro Turf Field at JVPD, Mumbai, but the event promised to be better than before with both the enduringly popular five-a-side matches and a mandatory penalty shootout with 2 female players at the beginning of each game. Guests also challenged their hosts from BBC World News to games with the opportunity of winning exclusive vouchers to take home. The tournament saw a full house as 6 groups each comprising of 3 teams competed against each other to take home the coveted trophy.

The trophy was unveiled by Vishal Bhatnagar, Sales Director, South Asia, BBC Global News who not only cheered for all the teams but was equally excited to watch the matches. “The BBC Football Connect showcases and reinforces BBC’s strong cross-platform sports credentials. BBC World News, BBC.com and the BBC Sport mobile app provides world-leading sports coverage with score updates, analysis, interviews and a lot more.

As you can see, BBC Football Connect draws the best football talent from across the advertising and marketing community in Mumbai. There is not a hard business agenda at the event. It provides a fun, relaxed atmosphere to meet and catch up with friends and associates; happy change from the usual workday that revolves around negotiating deadlines and price lines.

Besides the football connect in Mumbai, we the have the BBC Golf Connect in Delhi, where we host top golfers from amongst our client partners. Now in its 15th year, BBC Golf Connect is one of the longest-running corporate sports events in India.”

Bhatnagar was very specific about how the BBC produces branded content and partners with agencies and clients. “For the BBC, our content reflects our values of putting our audience first. The content that we create for our partners is credible and of the highest quality and adheres to the same values as our editorial content i.e. it has to be interesting & appealing to the audience,” he said.

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The event was attended by a diverse bunch of people from media agencies, some of whom were first timers while others have been regulars for the past few years. “It’s my first time here and it is a good way to meet old friends & colleagues from other agencies. I also participated in the game & scored for my team”, exclaimed Rima Mehta, Media Director at OMD. While some like Yash Desai, Client Partner at Wavemaker said, “This event has been a perfect place for reunion of sorts. I have been attending for 2 years now & get to meet my old colleagues & hang out with them.” A handful of people were more concerned about the game. “This is my first year & I am here only for football. But I also got to meet a lot of my friends from my previous agency which seemed like an advantage”, said Deepak Ramesh, Creative Director at Wavemaker.

The 5th BBC World News Football Connect trophy was won by team Gladiators from Wavemaker while team Falcons of Lodestar / Draft FCB were the runners up. The winning teams were also awarded with exclusive vouchers, thus ending the event with lots of fun, frolic, friendships and reunions!

 

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