The Indian Premier League came to an end last night after 53 days of non-stop action. The first big tournament of the year was timed in the build-up to the festive season and plenty of brands used it to catch the attention of their consumers. We asked adland to review the campaigns and come up with their favourite film, their least favourite film and also a piece of advice for brands next year.
Here's what they had to say:
Anil K Nair, CEO, VMLY&R India
Most favourite: Cred. As much as I find them irritating, at some level the Cred ads have hit the spot for me both in terms of memorability and cut through. I can't seem to get Bappida off my mind.
Least favourite: No answer.
Advice for brands: Be like Cred. Go big. Go brave. Go foolish.
Gautham Narayanan, managing director, Wieden+Kennedy Delhi
Most favourite: Hands down the Dream11 work. The street cricket idents are well executed, charming and humanise legends. I love the fact that they take cricketing idols, and all of us back to our childhood and to the truest form of the game - gully cricket.
Least favourite: Anything with an overt 'restricted by COVID' production. You know the ones - the single shot, with a cricketing legend, no one else, seemingly shot in half a day, whether in a hotel room, in front of a blank screen, or by the hotel pool. To be honest the majority of the ads apart from Dream11 and Cred were all too forgettable.
Advice for brands: If in doubt, entertain. This is our Superbowl, our UK Xmas, all rolled into one, over 7 weeks. So make people smile, laugh and try and be as entertaining as the matches themselves. Or do what Unacademy did and drive reach, scale, salience and brand awareness through sponsorship and match-day programme integration. I reckon their ROI may well be better than a raft of expensive but forgettable ads.
Rakesh Hinduja, co-founder and managing partner, content platform, Wondrlab
Most favourite: I’d say it’s Dailyhunt’s ‘Josh’ for a very simple and entertaining idea. The ads have a very clear message and make for an effective series of short films. I like the Dream11 films, too. The execution is superb and they have leveraged the cricketers really well. They’ve tapped authentic gully cricket behaviour and the overall idea where all are equal, very effectively.
Least favourite: No answer.
Advice for brands: Brands should aim for Superbowl benchmarks of advertising and consistency. The IPL provides a huge opportunity for the use of context, real-time content, interactive communication, data and innovations for a live event. There’s definitely untapped potential here.
Rana Barua, group CEO, Havas India
Most favourite: Cred. Superbly engaging and amazingly hilarious.
Least favourite: Kamla Pasand - clueless!
Advice for brands: Stay meaningful and relevant to your consumers.
Roopak Saluja, founder and CEO, The 120 Media Collective
Most favourite: Cred by far. The whole campaign was great, but if I had to choose just one, I'd go with the Govinda film. I love the Dream11 ads too.
Least favourite: HDFC Bank. Can't believe they actually allowed their brand to be attached to that piece of s**t. Worst production values I have seen in a while. Looks like something produced in the back office of a cable operator. Oh, and 'It was an Ezeeride!'
Advice for brands: More real time context tied in with specific players and teams along with their performance. It's a great way to cut through the clutter.
Sandeep Goyal, founder, Mogae Media
Most favourite: PhonePe. It has a well though through story line. Aamir is fantastic and so is his side kick Shinde. Superb ideation, small touches in the script. Earlier, Alia too was very expressive. All in all, great advertising.
Least favourite: Cred. Nauseating, disparaging and in bad taste.
Advice for brands: Avoid an overdose of celebrities. That is lazy advertising. No one remembers the brand, no one connects the brand to the celebrities. If you're using a celebrity, atleast have a script!
Sartaj Jaffri, CEO, Black or White Brand Communications
Most favourite: There were many good campaigns during the tournament like Dream11, but my vote would go to Cred. The contrast creates the desired impact in the brand messaging and that too with a fresh approach.
Least favourite: This is the easy one - Kamla Pasand.
Advice for brands: Be brave to radically different and fresh ideas.
Tarvinderjit Singh, executive creative director, Contract Advertising, Delhi
Most favourite: The IPL film that made me sit up released just before the final. With good reason too since it was a smart compilation of moments from this IPL, set to a buoyant track and chaperoned by a bomb of an insight. Am talking about the Unacademy film. I found the performances in many ‘yahan sab same hai’ Dream11 films on point as well. The flaccid connect of the idea to the product cost them the gold.
Least favourite: Every Cred film frustrated me more than the last. A brave CMO, a generous CFO, and a cheeky CCO. The necessary ingredients were present but somehow not enough. The incomprehensible audio mix and repetitive plots further sucked the joy out of seeing these forgotten sweethearts back on air.
Advice for brands: Be like Gayle. Do your job. Have fun. But find that fragile balance so that one doesn’t trip the other.
Most favourite: Dream11 films. Just perfect pitching of celebrity, street-sport culture and fun, without taking their personas too seriously. Aces the brief, and makes for truly memorable communication.