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IPL and other such TV Serials

18th April, 2009

The next Indian Premier League (IPL) kicked off today, a grand advertising experiment that has all the elements of success. After all, we must accept, sports in general is almost entirely backed by the advertising industry. The good news, though, is that performance in a sport most certainly translates to a larger fan base, and inturn a larger audience base for advertisers. That inturn means more money for the sportsperson, thus also incentivising him/her to play better.

The assumption here is that a fan base is directly proportional to a sportsperson’s performance, and its not. Just look at Sachin Tendulkar’s extremely nostalgic fan base – far greater than Dhoni’s or any other big wig out there. We can say its not directly proportional, but performance is certainly a big factor in someones success – if he/she plays well, gets selected in more matches, exists in the public eye for that moment longer, will hopefully get a larger fan base!

But, I feel theres another assumption –

The Advertisers Assumption

Advertisers are all out there to get to the right audience – and to create a new platform if necessary – to hit the right group, and not waste a rupee more on the wrong person. Just take an example – lets resort to this last option – political advertising and me. I haven’t seen any campaign and heard only one sloganeering effort in my colony. It almost seems that these parties aren’t catching me through traditional means. But I get SMSes on my phone, online ads in websites I visit the most, and TV ads that I do watch occasionaly. Clearly, these political parties, and inturn their advertising companies, have captured me in the right media, through platforms I visit most.

So the assumption in the IPL advertising revenue system, is that the cricket fan base is the exact audience for certain companies. Or lets rephrase this cricket fan base to “expanded IPL cricket fan base”, which reduces to the standard cricket fan base after the IPL is over! Though I don’t have any statistics, I do remember reading many articles extoling how the IPL expanded this fan base – from housewives to children, from small-town- to metro-citizen.

The Inflection Point

And this is where I have a problem. The fan base is so large now, it captures the heart of any company hoping to advertise. From salt, soaps, shoes, to cars, cells, and cold drinks, it seems that anything and everything consumable is being advertised. And in every possible nook and cranny. The screen goes small in every replay, squishes in every catch to show ads, goes into a full-blown advertising break every 10 minutes (for more television ads!). And now they’ll charge extra if the captain takes too much time to bowl, so that the next match will start in time (and advertisements aren’t cropped)!

And now I’m pulling my hair apart. I just saw the first IPL match – Mumbai Indians vs. Chennai Super Kings (MI won, btw!). It’s really disheartening. I now know too many cold drinks, too many cell phone deals (far better then my current one!). Branded logos are being thrown at my face, summer drink jingles are ringing in my mind (seriously that LMN LMN jingle is amazing!), that I have now reached my inflection point.

Enough. I just want to unsubscribe from all these ads. Any solutions?

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