How India's loss at the T20 World Cup will affect Indian brands
Media experts on how India’s loss at the T20 World Cup will impact brands that have invested in the game this time and what it means for its airing partners.
India’s loss against New Zealand has pushed them towards the brink of a league stage exit

How India's loss at the T20 World Cup will affect Indian brands

India’s loss against New Zealand has pushed them towards the brink of a league stage exit
  • After India lost to Pakistan in their T20 World Cup 2021 opener on October 24, 2021, the internet flooded with heartbreak tweets and disappointment memes.
  • On Sunday, India suffered their consecutive defeat as they were hammered by New Zealand.
  • It is almost Diwali and yet nobody, at least on the internet, is in the mood to celebrate. The internet is still trying not to revisit their memories of Sunday.
  • India’s loss against New Zealand has pushed them towards the brink of a league stage exit. Most of us are now hoping that Afghanistan will beat New Zealand and India will win their remaining three fixtures against Scotland, Namibia and Afghanistan.
  • As the consumer sentiment plummeted, brands and advertisers also suffered. We speak to media experts to find out how India’s loss at the T20 World Cup will impact brands that have invested in the game this time and what it means for its airing partners.
Cricket, undoubtedly, is still the most popular sport in India and it is the best way for brands to connect with their audiences. And when it is T20 World Cup, consumers in India are extra excited to cheer for the men in blue. They order merchandise, invite friends over or go to a sports bar to catch the tournament. It is more like a festival of sorts, where a whole family or group of friends get together and enjoy the game. Brands also go overboard, investing on the sport, to be where their fans are.

However, what happens when the team you are cheering for fails? Consumers are heartbroken and if you are an advertising agency, all your post-victory campaigns, which you worked on for weeks, will now rot in your archives. It only takes one bad game to spoil the party and this time, our country lost twice. The India-Pakistan match dampened consumer sentiment and on Sunday, India suffered their successive defeat as they were hammered by New Zealand and consumers lost their will to work on Monday. FoodTech platform Zomato mirrored India’s sentiment in this push-notification yesterday and all I want to do is say, “Same, bro. Wait, who is chopping onions?”
How India's loss at the T20 World Cup will affect Indian brands

India’s loss against New Zealand has pushed them towards the brink of a league stage exit. Now the only hope is if Afghanistan beats New Zealand and India wins the remaining three fixtures against Scotland, Namibia and Afghanistan.

Vikram Sakhuja, Partner & Group CEO, Madison Media & OOH said, “With cricket being a national passion, the fallout is that fans swing in extremes. India's wins leads to high ratings, and losses to poor ratings. In the 2016 T20 WC the super 12s (with 5 India games) had rated 4.4 amongst males audiences. This time round I won't be surprised if India's poor performance in the crunch games leads to a tournament average of sub 3 ratings. For Advertisers who pay top dollar to advertise on this platform it will be a reasonable setback. However if India does manage a top 2 position, the interest and ratings will spike. So fans and advertisers need to pray for New Zealand getting upset by the lesser ranked teams, and India dominating over these same teams.”

Sharing how this low consumer sentiment is likely to impact brand performance and viewership for the rest of the World Cup tournament this year, Ambika Sharma, Founder and MD, Pulp Strategy said, “Match viewership will decline and by some estimates, it may go down by 50% or more as a fall out of India’s exit from the World Cup. ICC having anticipated the disappointment of fans has already decided to allow full refunds, fans are relieved I’m sure. Advertisers, on the other hand, will see a drop in viewership for the next set of matches. However, towards the flag end of the World Cup, most advertisers would have received their visibility via the spots in the matches up to the point of India’s exit. The media team may have some difficulty in selling the last-minute inventory which goes at a premium.”

On the other hand, Mohit Joshi, CEO, Havas Media Group India is confident that the interest levels won't dip. He said, “India is a cricket-loving nation with a huge fan following for the sport and the legends of the cricketing world. While there are sentiments with team India involved and the loss is a huge disappointment, there are bigger sentiments associated with the game, and as a nation, we've always appreciated good cricket and good talent. As we move towards the semis and the finals, we expect to see great cricket, therefore I don’t see the interest levels going down and the love for the game should keep the viewership ticking.”

Sujay Kar, EVP- Commerce, CRM, and Media, VMLY&R India said that some advertisers might be in for a shock.

"These defeats can lead to an early exit for India, which would have an adverse impact for brands that have invested their Advertising Dollars and the Advertising Mediums. Without India in the Knockout rounds, the viewership might go down significantly, which means lesser impressions served and lower business impact. Given that it’s peak festive season and there are no big showpiece events involving India in near future, some of the advertisers have invested heavily hoping for a big post-pandemic boost and they might be in for a rude shock," said Kar.

Grashima Sahni, Senior Director- Planning and Strategy, Carat India told us about brands that might benefit from investing this year despite the early exit. She said, “With team India seeing an unpredictable early exit from the T20 world cup 2021, the invested brands are reaping lower than what they sowed and expected to reap. Investment in live cricket is more about associating with the spirit than pure media metrics. With the early exit and defeat from Pakistan, the mood in fans is dim. The deal deliveries may match the bought media metrics eventually but the qualitative factor of 'context' the brands were hoping to ride turned flat with this exit. Brands that balanced their investments with festive entertainment buys this season will benefit over the highly skewed and only cricket investing brands.”

Sushil Anatharaman, Media Director, Gozoop Group said, “Brand who have taken fixed deals like title, associate and other sponsorships will definitely suffer because the reach they would have expected in the next round will go low if India doesn't qualify. However, if we miraculously do enter the next round, then again there will absolutely be no problems for these brands. Other brands who do spot buying will really not be affected by this.”

Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and Co-founder, White Rivers Media reminded us that brands who spent on digital media can easily pull back their spends.

He said, "Sports marketing comes at a risk-reward ratio, subject to team’s performance. There are times when teams perform really well. Those are the times when brands benefit disproportionately. And then there are times like these, when teams don't perform - those are the times when brands can pull back their expenses. Digital has the power wherein a lot of spends can be controlled on a real-time basis. That may not be the case when it comes to ATL and outdoor media. That's the benefit where there is plug and play possible. Hence, the brands that are investing heavily on digital may not suffer as much. Of course, it's a big opportunity loss because bad performance results in lesser attention and lesser attention results in lesser impressions and lesser impressions results in lesser opportunities to sell and hence lesser advertisement budgets spent."

This time, the T20 World Cup has aligned with the festive season and brands are extra generous to spend on TV and OTT platforms during this time of the year. According to media reports, broadcaster Star Sports sold inventory worth more than Rs 1,000 crore this year. It has onboarded Byju’s, Dream 11, Coca Cola, Vimal, PhonePe, Havells, Netmeds, CoinDCX, JioMart, Skoda, Mondelez, Reliance Trends, Pernod, Upstox, Samsung and Cred as key sponsors. On its streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar, Dream11, Vimal Elaichi, Coinswitch, Oppo, Swiggy, Maruti, AMFI, PhonePe, Mondelez and Upstox have invested this season.

During the ICC World Cup T20 held in 2015, the India-Pakistan match rated 11.9 TVR (TAM data M15+ ABC) on the STAR network and 2.9 TVR on Doordarshan and had garnered 288 million views. This year too, cricket dominated the conversation on Twitter. Between 01 July 2020 - 01 July 2021, there have been over 75 million conversations about cricket on the service in India.

However, this time, the Twitterati is too disappointed. Yesterday, #BoycottIPL was trending on Twitter because fans alleged that the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has commercialised cricket and is prioritising the Indian Premier League over an International League.

Commenting on this Twitter outburst, Anatharaman said, “The Twitterati in India is very less if we compare to the advertising universe size of products and services advertised during IPL. Also, trends on Twitter can end in an hour too and hence people will forget these trending hashtags soon. It doesn't really affect the IPL in any way. In fact, it's been a tournament that has been associated with worse controversies like spot-fixing etc. but the tournament has still continued growing year by year and has also benefitted the brands associated with them.”