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upGrad will be running its campaign across TV and digital platform throughout the tournamentupGrad
How upGrad is using Dream11 IPL 2020 to spread awareness about its offerings

IPL 2020: Every IPL viewer will know about us and the importance of upskilling and lifelong learning by the end of the tournament: Arjun Mohan, upGrad

How upGrad is using Dream11 IPL 2020 to spread awareness about its offerings
  • Edutech platform upGrad recently announced its deal with Star India to run its latest ad-campaign across TV and the OTT platform Disney+ Hotstar throughout the tournament.
  • We talk to Arjun Mohan, CEO-India, upGrad who spoke to us about the brand’s marketing plans around IPL and how they want to make the most of their association with Star India and Disney+ Hotstar.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is finally underway. While a lot of the fanfare associated with the league is missing this time, the game is finally on and is at last spreading some cheer among viewers and marketers alike.

A lot rests on this IPL considering so much marketing activity had been kept on hold so far. Brands are therefore coming up with innovative ways of launching their communications.

A lot of new-age brands have invested a lot in this season of IPL with an aim of building awareness and creating a place for them in their consumer’s lives. While the league has just started, we expect things to get further heated up from an advertising perspective as we go deeper into the league.

Recently, online higher education company upGrad announced that it has got into a high-value deal with Star India, to run its latest ad-campaign across TV and the OTT platform Disney+ Hotstar throughout the tournament.

Since upGrad isn’t the only online education platform that will be advertising during IPL, we thought of asking the brand how they will ensure there is enough differentiation in their campaign. Arjun Mohan, CEO-India, upGrad spoke to us about the brand’s marketing plans and how they want to make the most of their association with Star India and Disney+ Hotstar.


Q) upGrad has inked an advertising deal with Star and Hotstar to advertise during IPL 2020. Tell us what exactly this partnership entails and how you as a brand, stand to benefit from this partnership?

IPL is one of the most enjoyed cricket tournament across the globe and enjoys viewership from all members of the family. In a move to accelerate the adoption of technology and online higher education, we will be running our recent ad campaign ‘Sirf Naam ki Nahin, Kaam ki Degree’ across Star India’s TV and the OTT platform Hotstar throughout the IPL 2020 tournament. The campaign focuses on the importance of education and your qualification being the only correct wayto grow in your career.

Q) From a synergy perspective, why did you think a sporting league was a good platform for you to partner with? What do you expect out of this partnership?
COVID-19 has revolutionised the online and digital space and has pushed people to move online for their daily requirements. Owing to the critical times we operate in, professionals and individuals are constantly looking for programs and courses to upskill themselves and have an edge over others. There are many players in the edtech space who present a plethora of online options for the learners to choose from. upGrad which is India's largest online higher education company provides quality and industry-ready online programs with renowned universities for seasoned professionals and multiple job-linked programs for first-time jobseekers. We also help our learners with steadfast mentorship and career guidance to help them achieve the desired outcome. Therefore, our association with Star India for IPL 2020 will enable us with the right platform to prepare 550 million viewers for a future-ready career. Moreover, this is our first major sports association and we will also be providing ‘Free Career Guidance’ to help viewers overcome the COVID-19 impact.

Q) You have already launched ad film, ‘Sirf Naam Ki Nahin, Kaam Ki Degree’. For the rest of the tournament, can we expect more films, and how do you further plan to engage with audiences?
The newly launched campaign ‘Sirf naam ki nahin, kaam ki degree’ will be running across TV and digital platform throughout the tournament. This ad-campaign is a clarion call to the 100 million Indian workforce to grow with cutting edge specializations in the fields of data and management from renowned universities across India and abroad and work towards polishing the existing skill sets and help them grow in their professional career. This campaign speaks about our promise to provide learners with outcome-based specialisations to achieve maximum ROI on education along with employability support. The clutter breaking ad campaign has already garnered over 5.5 million views and we will further engage with the viewers by providing ‘Free Career Guidance’ during the T20 tournament. We will also be engaging with our learners and IPL audience through our social media channels which has over 105K followers across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Q) How will you extend this partnership to mediums other than TV and Digital?
Our current partnership with Star India is only for the Dream 11 IPL 2020 season to promote our ‘Sirf Naam ki Nahin, Kaam ki Degree’ campaign across TV and Hotstar.

Q) What does your larger IPL marketing plan look like?
Our key objective for the Dream 11 IPL 2020 is to reach out to Bharat and the ~550Mn viewers who will be enjoying the IPL season from the comfort of their homes. Given the glitz and glamour of the T20 League and excitement for a live cricket tournament after months, we feel it is also the most opportune occasion to reach out to individuals reminding them about the urgency to upskill and prepare themselves for the for thcoming competitive world. Every IPL viewer will know about upGrad and the importance of upskilling and Lifelong Learning by the
end of the tournament.

Q) What is your vision for upGrad? What kind of growth have you witnessed during these last few months and how has the lockdown fuelled your growth as a platform?
The pandemic proved to be counter-cyclical for edtech. We, at upGrad have witnessed significant uptake in terms of traffic on our platform and revenue (we are considering Q4—Jan, Feb, and March—the pre-COVID-19 quarter andQ1—April, May, and June—the post-COVID-19 quarter for the below data).

While all verticals have grown in Q4 vs Q1, the MBA vertical has grown by 63% in terms of revenue and 82% in terms of learner base, making it the biggest winner. The MBA vertical includes the global MBA programs we launched earlier this year in partnership with the renowned Liverpool Business School (LBS) and the Deakin Business School. The Data Science vertical, which has always been on a growth trajectory for us, continues to grow with the Master of Science in Data Science, having grown by more than 60% in terms of both revenue and learner base, making it our bestselling data science program in this quarter. This program, with India’s renowned IIIT-B and the UK-based Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), offers a globally recognised, fully online master’s degree. Closer home, our PG Certification in Digital Marketing and Communication with MICA has grown by 70% in terms of both revenue and learner base. Perhaps the program has grown to be the leader with around 40% of the market share.

In terms of interested candidates, sheer organic interest for our programs went up by around 120%. Women seem to have taken up slightly more of an interest in upskilling, having grown by around 32% quarter on quarter, as compared to men who have grown by roughly 28%. Both youth and older individuals have been considering upskilling. Our website saw a 42% increase for the 45–54 age group in the AMJ quarter, which is the highest amongst all other age groups, followed by the 18–24 age group, which grew by 40%.