In India, the period from August to December is synonymous with the festive season, and brands typically allocate substantial budgets for this time of year. However, this year is exceptionally special as it coincides with the ICC Men's World Cup 2023, commencing on October 5.
The convergence of the World Cup and the festive season is a unique opportunity for brands to maximize their return on investment (ROI) through strategic marketing efforts.
Marketing experts are excited about the World Cup's potential as a global media platform. While it may require some adjustment to festive budgets, its reach promises to enhance the impact of brand campaigns.
Reflecting on previous instances like the IPL in 2020 and 2021 and the T20 World Cup in 2022, R. Venkatasubramanian, President of Investments at Havas Media India and Managing Director of Havas Play, highlighted that sports events aligning with the festive season are not unprecedented. Categories closely associated with cricket or ICC tournaments, such as automobiles, finance, beverages, mobile, consumer durables, gaming, and e-commerce, are expected to continue investing in sports. Moreover, other sectors like FMCG and consumer durables may also expand their advertising efforts.
Vishal Chinchankar, CEO of Madison Digital & Madison Media Alpha, expressed great optimism about this festive season for advertisers, expecting a surge in spending, both on traditional TV and digital platforms.
Srinivas Rao, Chief Investment Officer at Wavemaker India, emphasized that having a major sporting event like the World Cup during the festive season provides additional opportunities for brands to reach their media goals effectively. He noted that such events are ideal for showcasing a brand's usage and proposition.
With a significant portion of annual ad budgets earmarked for the festive season, advertisers may wonder if they need to reallocate funds for the World Cup. Venkatasubramanian predicted that budgets would grow thanks to the World Cup, with advertisers investing 6-8% more than usual during this festive period. The 42-day tournament and India's role as the host nation are expected to provide an extra boost to brands.
Srinivas Rao added that the level of association with the tournament would depend on brand objectives. Some brands might allocate their entire budget to it, while others may prefer to focus on impact properties during the festive season and avoid sports entirely.
According to Jyothi Jadhav, Vice President of Strategy & Insights at dentsu X India, prominent brands are likely to capitalize on the World Cup. Larger brands may allocate a significant share of their budget to cricket, while smaller ones may favor digital platforms. Finding the right balance will be crucial, especially with India hosting key matches on weekends.
Beyond the festive season, the World Cup presents a golden opportunity for brands to tell their stories and engage with sports enthusiasts. Vidur Naik, Managing Partner of TCM Platform, emphasized that this global sporting celebration in India is an incredible opportunity for brands to leverage the power of sports and explore innovative media strategies, including generative AI and the Metaverse.
Some may recall a question posed to brands earlier in the year about their absence from the IPL despite its record-breaking viewership. IPL had historically delivered positive results for advertisers, except for the 2022 season, which fell short of expectations. The introduction of new teams, players, and limited matches in select cities contributed to this disappointment.
However, Venkatasubramanian dismissed concerns about the World Cup facing a similar fate. Many brands have already signed up, and others are actively exploring opportunities to participate in various capacities. The World Cup is anticipated to be a significant event, offering brands a chance to create a lasting impact.
Jadhav noted that due to the bifurcation of media rights, some brands may hesitate to invest. However, the World Cup's unique appeal, combined with its rarity and national pride associated with it, makes it an excellent time for brands to connect with consumers and make a lasting impression.
With 48 matches spanning the entire festive period, experts are confident that this season will outshine the previous year, especially with India hosting the tournament. The recent Asia Cup victory has raised expectations for Team India's performance in the ICC World Cup, promising impressive TV ratings and a vast Indian audience for brand messages. It's a marketing extravaganza that shouldn't be missed.