Indian cricket has seen better days, much better ones. With a dismal performance in the tri-series, the attention the Indian cricket team is garnering from all corners has been anything but positive.Â The repercussions of poor performances have been felt in the most unlikely places. An ET article hereÂ says the Indian teamâ€™s performance significantly affects even the Indian stock market! With a record number of matches being played every year, match leagues being marketed aggressively and players heavily commercialized, the game has slowly and steadily retreated to the background impacting sponsor brands adversely. Naturally, marketers have started to look at options. The World Series Hockey (WSH) was a recent start with Bridgestone bagging the title sponsorship at $10M and Vodafone and Seagramâ€™s Imperial Blue signing up as official sponsors. Pepsi which earlier promoted the cricket fever now seems to have joined this foray and going big on promoting football. Their latest TVC does this candidly with the tagline â€“ â€˜Change the Gameâ€™ promoting football as a â€˜coolâ€™ sport.
While it remains to be seen whether the trend will blow over or here to stay, it shows how marketers are awakening to prospects of their brands being sidelined especially during an upheaval of a sport like cricket. The move is good in the larger interest giving other sports the deserved attention. Sport sponsorship is a sure way of getting your brand out there but the task should be more than just targeting eye-balls through the sport.
The brand should explore ways at building and sustaining the sport through â€˜ebb and tideâ€™. This not only portrays the brand in the right light but also gives your TG solid good reason to strongly associate the brand with the sport. Pepsi has the money and hopefully the intent to do this. They could partner with football schools to up the training quality and enroll more into the sport. The larger picture could be to transform football into a gully sport (street sport). With a huge sports following in India, eventually the culture will most definitely snowball. Merchandising the entire campaign (remember the â€˜Being Humanâ€™ campaign) is an added way to bring out the strong association with the sport. Your audience has to believe in your brand and that starts from the commitment the brand makes to the sport â€“ one that is not to be broken!
Final word: Brand associations to sports should run deeper than just campaigns. Pepsi should get on-board with this idea.
- Coca Cola believes in a happier tomorrow – Branding at its best! (brands-india.com)
- Kick in the Mix – Pepsi Max 2012 Football Campaign (theoriginalwinger.com)