Sunday, April 01, 2007

Will the poor performance of the Indian Cricket team affect the Sponsors brand image & their sales???

Everyone is aware of the poor performance by the Indian Cricket team in World Cup 2007. But have you ever thought of the impact that the brands or the sponsors would have because of this. In this article I will try to bring out some facts and analyze the impact and the future of sponsorships.

First talking of the Cricket World Cup, when it started first in England I don't think there are any sponsors for this and even this was the condition as far as I can remember till the 4th or 5th world cup where even the hoardings were not present. During this time the issue of security for players after the end of match came up and gave rise to the hoardings partially. And it appeared as a chance for companies to advertise and for the authorities to get some bucks to develop the grounds. If you remember some of the previous world cups you might have seen the logo or names of companies printed or painted on the ground. In the starting it was one name on the ground. Then it became one name on each side of the pitch. Then it became 2 on either sides of pitch. But if you observe the condition now it is 4 names surrounding the whole pitch. This shows the craze of sposoring cricket and how it is growing day by day. And you can even observe the hoardings which use to stay with the bounday line only now reached the seating floors of ground and still there are many brands ready to sponsor if there is any space left( if permitted they will paint the whole ground or surround the whole stadium with air baloons).

And In such a scenario, India being a land very crazy about cricket and so many sponsors for the team as well as event....India is out of the world cup in the league matches. If we see the brands that endorsed or sponsored, Pepsi takes the first place when it comes to relating players with brands that sponsored world cup matches or the team. And second position goes to Hero Honda & Hutch jointly where as all the other brands follow with Sunfeast also among the top row by the grace of sachin tendulkar.

Coming to the losses the brands might face, there are two types of losses. One is the direct loss and the other is loss due to negative impact.

Direct loss is something that comes because these brandshave invested a lot and now these millions of dollars of advertising would not have any impact on the brand. As per the industry experts, there would be a loss of US $300 millions of sponsorship money. And those who have bid for $50-60millions to ICC would be under great risk. This would be because some of the sponsors such as Hutch and Hero Honda have bid as global sponsors taking into account that India would reach the stars. But the gravity pulled them back before they left the earth's atmosphere.

Second is the loss due to negative impact. This is something which happens because of the negative impact on consumer's mind about the brand. Though this is a short-term and not a major problem, still the brands need to suffer a loss in the short term and this is as if sidhu says sometimes "Adding insult to the injury." This is the same adding up the sales loss to the advertising loss.

Now what do you expect the brands would do?? Will they invest for the coming ICC Champions trophy or the Afro-Asian trophy??? after falling into such a huge losses???

If you think they will not this is gonna be absolutely wrong. Cricket has its craze alaways in India and will have the same in future. If you can classify the audience for cricket into different sections, one would be those who will forget the indian team defeat the next day(but will have an impact on brands but not on cricket) and start watching it the next day. The other category is those who will not get interested into cricket unless until India shows them another stunning win or 400(team might be Bermuda also but that doesn't matter). So, this is something which the brands expect and though the same amount doesn't flow into sponsorships this time but a considerable amount would flow in again. There is also a proverb(I heard it in telugu only donno whether it is there in english also), that you need to earn back what ever you have lost in the place where you have lost only. The brands have lost in sponsoring cricket and it is the same point where they need to earn the amount they lost.

`Cricket is too big a game for Indians. The impact (of India`s exit) would be a huge loss, no doubt, but that will be short-term. The euphoria will be there even for the next time and the advertisers will again put in money,` says Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann-Erickson (India) Ltd.

But is this the end. There must be something in addition to this because if Indian team looses again in the coming trophies, it would be very tough for these brands to come up again in the future and I can bet you that they will not venture into sponsoring cricket unless until India wins 3 world cups in a row.

Then what should be done and what can be done.

`Cricket has always been accompanied by an opulence of optimism. I think sponsors must have a staggered penalty clause with the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). Why must sponsors be left to carry the can?` says Swapan Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell, a Delhi-based advertising agency.

But is this possible, might be.... but not to a big extent because, this opulence of optimism is still alive in the rivals of brands that sponsored this time. Some of them are Coca-Cola, Bajaj, Brittannia......

Ohhh Brittannia...I just remember something which I was thinking to analyse from 3 months before the world cup started....but didn't do it till now. I hope everyone of you remember the Brittannia kao, World Cup jao campaign from Brittannia in 96,99,03 world cups. I wonder why didn't they come up with the same campaign again and those books which they gave for exchanging runs across counters. (I still remember the way I ate packets and packets of Little Hearts). Whay might have been the reason??? Did they realize the situation of Indian Cricket team before itself or what else... But this would be an interesting one to analyse why such a successful campaign for 3 world cups is stopped all of a sudden.

Continuing with our what must be there???/

It might be this way. The sponsors might fix an agreement with the channels broadcasting cricket about the advertisements that would be aired, and a flexible option of advertising only till the time India is in the competition. Like-Pepsi might pay for the whole series but It might air the ads of pepsi till India is in the competition and once India is out of the cup, if pepsi doesn't want the ads to be aired, the channel would return certain proportion but not the whole amount that would cost the remaining world cup media space.

This also has its pro's & Con's. As I said earlier about the rivals ready for sponsorship,.... if not this then what else could do???/ And what could be the reality????

That we need to wait for the time to come and let us see..............