Bridgestone has partnered with the upcoming World Series Hockey to become their title sponsors. We spoke to Vaibhav Saraf, general manager, sales and marketing, Bridgestone India to get more information on the tie-up and Bridgestone's marketing initiatives in India.
CI: Why is Bridgestone associating with hockey?
Vaibhav Saraf (VS): We have a legacy of associating with sports. Ever since we launched more than 50 years ago, we have been associating with various sports from ice-hockey to Formula 1 to the moto-gp and rugby in some nations. We started advertising in India last year. We tied up with the Mumbai Indians to begin with and when this opportunity came up to become title sponsors of the World Series Hockey, we thought it’s just the right brand fit. In a way it’s an extension of our marketing philosophy across the world, where we look to target the male 25+ category.
CI: What potential do you see in hockey in India? What kind of response do you expect from the WSH?
VS: As title sponsors, we expect for it to deliver as much as our association with the Mumbai Indians got us last year. We expect more than about 100 million INR worth of brand value to be delivered out of this.
CI: What efforts will Bridgestone make to increase the popularity of the sport in India?
VS: For our ATL media we expect Nimbus, Neo Sports and WSH to help us leverage the product. We’re taking up lots of BTL activities that will include give-aways and campaigns around the WSH on-ground level which will be created by our in-house team at Bridgestone and a few local agencies. Mindshare will handle all the media duties.
CI: On their tie-up with the Mumbai Indians?
VS: We’ve got a contract with the Mumbai Indians for three seasons, so we will be with them till IPL 6. We also hope to be title sponsors with the WSH for a longer period of time and have a contract in place for that.
CI: Is Bridgestone looking at tie-ups with other sports too?
VS: At this point of time, we’re looking to build on our associations with the Mumbai Indians and the WSH. With the kind of money involved, we won’t be looking to associate ourselves with any other sport.