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IPL Ads- An Overcrowded Market Pushing Indian Brands Out of the Box

By July 19, 2022November 9th, 2022Blog
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Amid the sensational title race between 10 teams, there also exists a cutthroat advertising competition between brands.

IPL season has transformed into a national festival in India. Almost every Indian household is glued to the TV when a match is going on. Along with the craze for IPL matches, the IPL ads have evolved as well. IPL marketing has gone through a financial and creative metamorphosis over the 15 years. It feels like a month-long Superbowl Sunday.

Brands are especially active during this time of the year. The combined viewership from the stadiums, Television and Hotstar create an impact that brands just cannot miss. It is the best time to influence the buying decisions of the whole subcontinent in one go. Over the 15 years, the obsession with IPL advertising has magnified so much so that brands are ready to splurge to be a sponsor of the IPL.

The first year of IPL in 2008 generated total ad revenue of ₹400cr with ₹2.50 lakh/10-second ad spot. Fast-forward to 2022, the total ad revenue projection for IPL15 is ₹4,000cr with ₹16.5 lakh/10-second ad spot. Even the projection for Hotstar’s incoming ad revenue is ₹1000cr in 2022.

“There is a reason why start-ups ended up in IPL. The moment one wants huge reach and very high level of visibility, then there aren’t many singular point options other than IPL. One gets the digital as well as the TV audiences through one event.”

Shripad Kulkarni, Marcom Advisor

There has been a 30-40% price hike in the IPL advertising rates between 2019-2021 and a 10% hike in 2021-2022. But the rise in IPL advertising rates is of trivial importance for brands. The unparalleled brand visibility and reach that can be achieved during the IPL season is impossible at any other time of the year. IPL2021 garnered 380 million viewers on TV and it peaked at 6.7 million viewers on Hotstar, no wonder every brand wants to be associated with it.

From ₹400cr to ₹4,000cr in 15 years of IPL, the ongoing success and tremendous rise in popularity can be directly credited to the support from brands every year.

Let’s look at the IPL advertising rates for this year to get a better understanding of the involvement of brands.

  • ₹670cr will be paid by TATA for 2 years of Title Sponsorship.
  • ₹200cr for 180 seconds of IPL ads per match invested by Co-Presenting Brands like Dream11, Byju’s, PhonePe and Justdial.
  • ₹90-105cr for 80-90 seconds of IPL ads per match invested by Associate Sponsors like Cred, Havells, Garnier and Kamla Pasand.

“This is going to be the biggest IPL ever, both in terms of viewership and revenue”

– Nitin Bawankule, head of ad sales, Disney Star

The total incoming revenue for Star India and the outlay for every sponsor has increased by 25% due to the addition of two new teams this year- Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans. With 2,300 seconds of ad slots available for each game, the 14 extra matches combined with the viewership from Live TV and Hotstar will make a significant difference in terms of IPL advertising.

Brands and advertisers are trying their best to stand out and be unique in such an overcrowded IPL advertising market. IPL ads have always demanded attention from the Indian audience with smart, creative and out-of-the-box marketing strategies. With so much money being invested, it is a “do or die” situation for many brands and advertisers.

Promotional ads for IPL have always relied on impactful slogans:
“Kanna, keep calm” slogan came out in 2014, indicating that you can escape uncomfortable circumstances by watching IPL matches on your phone.

“Ye ab normal hai” is the slogan for IPL in 2022, emphasizing the fact that everything is fair when an IPL match is on.

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There have been innumerable IPL ads over the 15 years that many Indians still can’t forget. The first one that comes to mind is the “ZooZoo” ad campaign by Vodafone in 2013, featuring adorable animated characters that all of India still love and remember.

Other noteworthy IPL ads from the past include:

  • Pepsi “Crash the IPL” encouraged the viewers to submit videos to replace their official advertisement.
  • Kingfisher “Oo La La La Le O” featured famous cricket players beatboxing and singing with the tagline “Divided by Teams, United by Kingfisher”.
  • Amazon “Chonkpur Cheetahs” promoted the convenience of its services by featuring a team that aspires to enter the IPL but lacks basic resources.

Brands have transformed a lot over the years, introducing innovative and exciting concepts that resonate well with their audience.

The trend of Bollywood endorsement is an advertising strategy that brands rely on blindly. Vimal Pan Masala is a leading example of this trend. Alongside Ajay Devgan and Shahrukh Khan, they introduced yet another Bollywood star in their IPL ads – Akshay Kumar.

But this endeavour invited massive backlash from fans as Akshay Kumar has always been against promoting products with tobacco. This controversy forced Rowdy Rathore to quit Vimal Elaichi and post an apology on Twitter within a week.

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Another innovative and eye-catching trend in IPL advertising is “Nostalgia,” which Cred handles exceptionally well. They’ve recreated some of our most memorable moments from the past, such as

  • The ancient “Nirma ad” frame to frame recreation starring Karishma Kapoor.
  • The popular show “Antaakshari” brought back Annu Kapoor and Renuka Sahane to portray the show in a humorous way.

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Cadbury is making significant progress in the area of inclusive IPL marketing. As the “Proud Sponsors of the Ground Staff,” their offbeat ad campaign concentrates upon the significance of the ground personnel in cricket matches, providing uniforms, accommodation, and daily commutes.

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With the “yeh main kar leta hoon, aap Dream11 pe team banaao” IPL marketing campaign, Dream11 has already proven that it can be witty and humorous. Now, in the “Dream Big” IPL ad campaign, they’re featuring inspirational stories from famous Indian cricketers like Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishab Pant, and others to create an emotional impact on the Indian audience.

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There is no doubt that the IPL seasons will continue to expand for years to come, providing sponsors and advertisers with virtually endless marketing options. The only way for brands to succeed in such a competitive market is to deliver unique, original and ground-breaking ideas that resonate with their target audience as many brands have already proven.

Indian brands have ushered in a new and exciting IPL marketing era.

What to expect?

We’ll just have to wait and see.


Communication Crafts is a leading Advertising Agency in Ahmedabad, India that offers end-to-end branding solutions along with video production, web design, digital marketing and social media marketing services. We’re a reliable creative partner that helps you achieve your goals with a potent blend of technology, innovation and seamless collaboration.

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