Over the years, we have been seeing quite a few brands leveraging the IPL to their advantage. Along with a spate of new brands flocking the sporting extravaganza this year, credit card major Mastercard has continued its aggressive partnership with the property as they have been doing over the years. The results for this year’s IPL campaigns featuring MS Dhoni have been a thumping success, show the visibility numbers.
This year too, Mastercard is betting big on IPL continuing its association with brand ambassador Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Manasi Narasimhan, VP, Marketing & Communications, South Asia, Mastercard, says the company’s approach this year is to promote the idea of ‘Priceless Moments’ through the tournament.
Opening up on why Mastercard is an important property for the brand to partner, she said IPL is an exciting format and it delivers edge of the seat entertainment almost through the match. “We will highlight the moments which resonate with our brand proposition ‘Kyoon Ki Kuch Kushiyan hai Priceless’.”
To be sure, the brand has always had an emotional connect with Indian cricket. Last year, Mastercard partnered with Dhoni for ‘Team Cashless India’. It was a nationwide campaign with a goal to equip 10 million (1 crore) merchants in India with digital payments acceptance capabilities and to educate and create awareness among consumers on the benefits of digital payments. Narasimhan shared that through this campaign the brand was able to connect with 30,000+ merchants on ground across 5 cities and has received 13,000 nominations (and counting) to digitize the neighbourhood kirana stories.
Post the pandemic, she revealed that the brand’s primary objective this year would be to focus on contactless and online shopping. “We want to build confidence amongst consumers for seamless and secure transactions. Although we have witnessed significant traction on contactless transactions, there is immense potential for a whole set of audiences who have a contactless card and don’t use it. Similarly, in terms of online shopping, IPL will be immediately followed by Diwali and this year we will see significant increase in gifting due to the ongoing pandemic. Online shopping will be a good tool for consumers to be safe and at the same celebrate the festivities,” Narasimhan remarked.
In terms of the marketing mediums being leveraged this year, TV and digital have been the mainstay for the brand’s IPL campaign this year. “We are also exploring other formats like podcast, bloggers, partnership with issuers and merchants to further amplify our messaging and offering during IPL,” she explained. Narasimhan stated this year the company was estimating record numbers in terms of viewership since people are mostly at home. “This is something audiences have been waiting for since March this year. While the energy of spectators and fans during the event will be missed, we are expecting more stickiness to the messaging due to lack of external surroundings which typically is the highlight of the event,” she asserted.
Given the massive viewership expected on IPL this year, to cut through the clutter, the brand is using a combination of TV (Star network HD feeds), Hotstar (massive increase in consumption across all OTT platforms) and TV-to-Mobile targeting app. “Furthermore, with our long-term association with cricket and Mahendra Singh Dhoni we aim to digitize the country’s cricket enthusiasts by providing seamless and safe transactions throughout the tournament,” Narasimhan contended.
Moreover, Mastercard is also sponsoring a podcast by cricket expert Ayaz Menon who will talk about the Priceless Moments in T20 every week which will be amplified by a news publication across channels. “We are also working with our partner banks/issuers to promote offers and discounts in the form of flash sales during the IPL season. Apart from this, we are associating with a host of influencers to encourage consumers to go contactless (tap & go) and shop online,” Narasimhan shared.
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