IPL-Brand Campaigns: Made for each other


IPL is not just about the game. It’s a grand experiment of throwing sports, entertainment and public relations into a mix, which brands will not be willing to miss out on. Like honey to bee; brands also get attracted to it.

Just like the IPL has led to many inventions to the way gentlemen’s game is traditionally played, there have been innovative campaigns around the league. The campaigns that promote the league as much as their own brands.

This is the tenth season of IPL. And with every season, the brand association just keeps getting bigger. The tournament has built so many brands over the years that it can be considered a “free hit” for the advertisers. At Insidesport, we review the brand campaigns that also provide tremendous recall value for the IPL.

  1. Kingfisher – oo la la la le o

Kingfisher has undoubtedly been the brand that goes hand in glove with every IPL. From IPL 1 to IPL 10, the brand has struck at every opportunity. Albeit all the controversies. The brand with his signature tune- Oo La La La Le O has made its music a big catch, combined with cricket. From all starrer beat boxing to its hashtags, the brand has stayed on top of its game every IPL. This year it launched an all starrer mannequin challenge inviting fans to join them in their #KingfisherMannequinChallenge. Kingfisher is sponsoring 7 teams except Gujarat Lions. The brand made sure to hit it very high with getting all teams on board for their campaign. Kingfisher keeps it tagline intacked –“ Divided by teams. United by Kingfisher.” And certainly remains “ The King of Good Times.”

  1. Vodafone – ZooZoos

The other brand that has been able to make most of the IPL celebration is Vodafone. The telecom company, which has been associated with the league since its inception, brought back animated character ZooZoos in the new campaign made by Ogilvy & Mather. First introduced during the second season of IPL in 2009, the cute animated characters are shown in five different ads celebrating Indian team’s famous moments.


The other campaign led by the telecom giant is that of Vodafone Superfan. The superfan gets a match-ball signed by the winning captain after every match.

Vodafone with its acquisition of Hutch in 2007 needed to connect with Indian audience. And IPL became its savior. From then, IPL and Vodafone have been synonyms for ten years. Vodafone spends almost 35% of its marketing budget every year on IPL.

“Vodafone and IPL together have offered unique and engaging experiences to cricket followers and sports enthusiasts over the last decade. If you have loved the iconic Vodafone campaigns over previous editions of IPL, this year is going to be bigger, better and even more action packed,” said Siddharth Banerjee, executive vice-president of marketing, Vodafone India.

3. Reliance JIO – jio dhan dhana dhan

With its revolutionary plans and fastest growing market space, the brand found the IPL to be the best opportunity to strike hard. JIO digital unlike Vodafone took advantage in the very first year by getting sponsorship for 7 teams. Jio with its ambush marketing strategy also made its mark in front of the other telecom partner, Vodafone. Not only this, the brand also made use of Kingfisher’s strategy to make an all-starrer ad. They also made a music chant and a hashtag to follow- #JioDhanDhanaDhanstyle! It is sure to stay with the viewers for a longtime.

4. Gionee

The company, targeting a 2.5 time growth has made cricket the driving force to reach its goals. Earlier in January this year, Gionee signed Kohli as its brand ambassador. The Gionee-KKR three year deal, executed in year 2015,runs through the IPL 10 season. The company is taking the sports – primarily cricket route – for its mega promotional plans in the country. The latest catch is the title sponsorship of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Gionee replaced Hero Cycles on the team jersey for the IPL 10 season. The company has registered U$ 1.4 billion (Rs 9,500 crore) of revenue in India last year. It is expecting 250% growth in this fiscal. The company will increase its marketing spend in world’s fastest growing mobile phone market to Rs 500 crores, an increase of 40% from the 2016 budget.

Last year, Gionee revealed its new logo with the help of ad commercial starring KKR teammates. And a tagline of- ‘Make Smiles.’

Explaining the communications approach undertaken by the brand, Gionee AGM Nomit Joshi said: “Delighting our customers has always been an attitude that each and every one at Gionee believes in. We are excited that we are able to use team KKR to unveil our new logo as they provide many of us a reason to smile each time they play. I am sure that the new TVC would convey the same passion, energy and joy that brand stands for.”

5. Karbonn – kamaal catch

In its most lucrative sponsorship deal to date, the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Karbonn signed a two-year deal in 2010. Karbonn Mobile became league’s ‘Official Partner Mobile Phone’ and the title sponsor of the new property Karbonn Mobiles IPL Nights, which aired as the after parties’ hosted by the IPL post the matches on MTV. It also sponsored the most renowned ‘Karbonn Kammal Catch’ that is now known by the name of ‘VIVO perfect catch of the match.’

Karbonn Mobile’s association with the game of cricket has been synonymous since its launch when the mobile handset manufacturer sponsored the visiting Cape Cobras and was the associate sponsor for the Diamond Eagles during the Champions League Twenty20. Karbonn Mobiles was title sponsor for the five-match ODI series between India and Sri Lanka in December 2009.

The company also roped in Virendra Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Manish Pandey and Virat Kohli as brand ambassadors.

Karbonn Mobiles MD Pradeep Jain said, “Karbonn Mobiles is extremely proud to be associated with the IPL. Our partnership with IPL is one of the largest sponsorship deals signed by an Indian mobile phone brand. We feel that it’s a great platform to capitalize on the mass visibility and through this association we aim to leverage the Karbonn Mobiles brand. Going forward as a brand we will explore more such brand properties to further strengthen the brand.”

But as soon as the deal ended with the IPL and chinese smartphones influx in the market, the mobile manufacturer is nowhere to be seen. And thus lacking its IPL effect.