Advertisers are gearing up for the Women's Indian Premier League (WIPL), and brands like FastandUp, Parle, and ITC that have advertised during the men’s IPL before are exploring the new property.
All set to launch in March this year, WIPL is seeing interest from traditional advertisers along with new brands that have never before advertised during IPL.
Advertising during women's IPL will be a natural extension, said Vijayaraghavan, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fast&Up.
He said that brands are getting one more window through women's IPL to advertise in a cricket property.
"Also, for the first time a women's IPL is being hosted and with women's cricket getting attention, brands would not want to miss this trend because women's cricket is showing a lot of potential."
Women’s IPL has created yet another opportunity to reach audiences, said marketers.
A new playground
There is a lot of interest for WIPL, especially if timing of the league is kept in mind as it will precede men's IPL, said Navin Khemka, CEO, South Asia, MediaCom, an ad agency.
"February and March are good time for advertisers and a lot of campaigns are planned pre-IPL. Many campaigns go an air with summer setting in and a lot of categories get active. For brands that have been advertising during men's IPL and those who want to associate with IPL for a long term, such advertisers can start doing so a month in advance at entry-level cost," he said.
Traditional advertisers will see WIPL as a great opportunity, said Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Head - Marketing, Parle Products.
"As an advertiser I welcome women's IPL and look forward to be part of such a tournament. There is rising interest for women's cricket among Indians and advertisers are where the viewers are. Now with women's IPL coming, interest level is increasing among consumers as well as advertisers. Also, WIPL will give opportunity to talent from new geographies and this will attract brands across India," he said.
Significant portion of the ad space (during WIPL) will be taken by the advertisers who are already associated with IPL, said Santosh N, Managing Partner, D and P Advisory. "10-20 percent ad spots will get filled by first time advertisers. For smaller brands for whom IPL is a distant dream as they have to compete with larger companies, for such advertisers WIPL will be a good opportunity to associate with brand IPL."
Khemka said that in the first year brands will get to sample women's IPL and this will result in a lot of newer brands or brands that have never advertised during IPL before to invest in WIPL.
The advantage all brands have is that they have over a decade of case studies in front of them from the men’s IPL to learn from, said Dhruv Warrior, National Creative Director FoxyMoron, Zoo Media Network, an ad agency.
Big advertisers will be the first ones to come on board and FMCG will top the list even for WIPL, said Rajni Daswani, Director - of Digital Marketing, SoCheers.
"A whole range of personal care, hygiene, nutrition, and healthcare categories is likely to show interest for WIPL. IPL over the years has managed to bring in the family audience. For cricket broadcast, viewership has been skewed towards the male audience. That's why you don't see a Mamaearth participating during a cricket broadcast. But now, the above categories will advertise during women's IPL because they have shied away from cricket so far,” said Ajimon Francis, Managing Director, Brand Finance India, a brand valuation consultant.
Major drivers can be brands that are sports-centric, health and hygiene-based, and women-centric, pointed out Arundhuti Dhar, Manager, Campaign Management, ITC Limited.
"Products like Whisper, Horlicks women have to be there during WIPL as it is a standalone and the most recent property comprising of only women (cricketers),” said Joy Bhattacharjya, former team director of the IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, and Director-General of the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS).
Khemka said brands that are targeting younger women who consume IPL would find it the right time to start targeting that IPL fan base.
Cricket fans across genders
Brands need to understand that just because it is a women’s league, it is not that only women-centric brands will appeal to the audience, noted Hima Bulusu, Associate Director, Key Accounts, TheSmallBigIdea, a digital ad agency.
"The first movers to the women’s IPL are going to be cricket fans, across genders. Then, will be people who want regular entertainment every evening. So, brands need to keep that target audience in mind." she said.
On categories, Khemka said summer category brands that launch their campaigns in March, post-Holi, will be more active during women's IPL.
Women's IPL is expected to take place from March 3 to 26.
Khemka pointed out that with TV and digital rights going to one broadcaster, ad inventory can be packaged well.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah on January 16 announced that Viacom18 had won the media rights for Women’s Indian Premier League 2023. The media company made a bid of Rs 951 crore for the 2023-27 period.
"The inaugural season of women's IPL will set the bar for the coming seasons of the WIPL because the success of the competition isn’t solely dependent on the athletes and the teams, it is also in the hands of brands and advertisers to drive excitement and viewership, to create a community of hardcore fans and followers," said Warrior.