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Last Updated : Sep 18, 2020 07:46 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Banking on the IPL: Why BFSI players are increasing ad spends during this edition of the T20 league

The IPL is the first major sporting event post-lockdown and it is expected to be the most watched by an Indian audience. It is also taking place during the festive season, when advertising spends are generally higher

While every brand from every category is betting big on the Indian Premier League, (IPL), which is taking place during the festive season this year, there is one category that is getting more aggressive that usual with its ad spends.

The banking, financial services and insurance category (BFSI) is estimated to be increasing its advertising expenditure during IPL 2020 by around 30-40 percent, said an industry source who has been closely tracking the sector’s ad spends.


The category historically spent Rs 100-150 crore on the tournament each year, the source added.

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Speaking to Moneycontrol, the head of sales and marketing at a mid-sized private life insurer confirmed that spending would be up, saying: “The IPL is the first major sporting event post-lockdown and it is expected to be the most watched by an Indian audience. Hence, BFSI players and especially insurers don’t want to lose out. And the festive season is coming up when product sales generally go up. Hence, advertising spends are also higher.”

Television will be the major focus since “the work-from-home culture has led to more people being glued to their television sets”, he added.

While spends by BFSI players are increasing, mobile handset makers, which used to be big spenders during the league, are lying low because of the prevailing anti-China sentiment. Vivo, in fact, pulled out as title sponsor of the league this year, which led to a drop in title sponsorship revenue from Rs 440 crore to Rs 222 crore.

BFSI steps up

This year, insurance aggregator Policybazaar and insurer ACKO General Insurance have significantly increased their ad spends for the 13th edition of the IPL.

“We have increased our spend by more than 50 percent as compared to last year. We are coming out with a new campaign with Akshay Kumar as our brand ambassador. It’s called Policybazaar aap ki side hai,” Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer, Policybazaar told Moneycontrol.

He added that the IPL offers fantastic reach to target the middle-class segment. “Apart from larger cities, IPL helps us in reaching tier I, II markets.”

Dhall said that last year, Policybazaar’s IPL campaign was tremendously beneficial for the brand as it helped the aggregator reach new markets. “We found that a lot of our queries prior to the IPL last year came from the major towns, the metros and tier I cities. But post-IPL our market share in tier II, III markets went up significantly and we believe this year there will be a further push,” he explained. “We are also looking to build our market share this year in the South, where we are relatively smaller, through this year’s IPL campaign.”

Even insurer ACKO is setting aside a substantial amount of its annual budget for the September-December period, focussing on the IPL with its upcoming car insurance campaign.

“This is our first foray into team kit sponsorship with Delhi Capitals. So, yes, definitely our sports category spends are going up. It is a big platform for ACKO to build awareness at scale in metros and beyond. We are placing our bets on a 360-degree campaign, leading with digital for IPL this year through Disney+ Hotstar,” said Ashish Mishra, EVP, Marketing, ACKO (insurance).

Spending even during the lockdown

The BFSI category has been aggressive throughout the year, even during the coronavirus-induced lockdown period, when marketing budgets of most brands were tightened.

“The Covid situation has heightened the need for insurance. And people have re-evaluated their insurance covers in the current times. Typically, these months used to be a lean period for the insurance sector but this year it has been completely different because people have felt the need to cover themselves for both health and life. And a lot of the market is moving online,” said Dhall.

Over the last few months, Policybazaar was often among the top 10 advertisers across TV and digital.

Priya Jacob, President, Media, Network Advertising, added that the category has been aggressive on the digital front during the lockdown. And she expects this to continue in the second half of 2020, especially during the IPL.

The head of sales and marketing at a private insurer cited earlier said that BFSI as a category has been spending at least 25-30 percent more on advertising since March, especially as this is the only category that hasn’t suffered a major negative impact from the lockdown.

However, N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA (Trust Research Advisory), thinks that in the BFSI space, other than insurance companies, no other segment will try to spend aggressively during the IPL. “Other BFSI segments are suffering badly due to the moratorium, NPAs (non-performing assets) and other challenges,” he explained. The sector may spend on advertising but this may not lead to a significant rise in customers, added Chandramouli.

Check the complete IPL 2020 coverage HERE.

First Published on Sep 18, 2020 01:08 pm