We have the cup, do we have the buzz?

As Dhoni swung the ball high over the bowlers head and twirled his bat after hitting the shot, India achieved its 28 year long dream of recapturing the cricket world cup. The nation erupted in joy, and the party lasted the whole night. The party actually is still on, and IPL 4 may just bask in the post effect glory.

With India setting up a semifinal clash with Pakistan, and then setting up a final clash with Sri Lanka the advertising fraternity was presented with a tailor made opportunity. Here was an event that was galvanizing the whole nation, was promising sky high viewership and could be remembered by the nation for many years to come. The opportunity was grabbed by the eager advertisers, but did it work for them?

But first, what has baffled me is the TRP data. Take the semifinal clash between India and Pakistan. The interest was so high that the nation declared it as a holiday. Offices closed half day, giant screens were put up in market places, offices which did not shut down, organized mass viewing. India had come to a grinding halt. Streets were deserted; even the electronic shops beamed only the match on the TV sets. You could hear the roar on streets when Sehwag was murdering Gul, you could hear the roar when Tendulkar reached his 50, and you could even hear the silence when Yuvraj bagged the dubious glolden duck!

Everyone knew that the nation was glued, except the rating agencies. The match had a TVR of 22. They would like us to believe that this rating broke all records, and had set Tendulkarish high benchmark that will not be breached in a hurry.

Seriously 22! So what were the other 78 watching? Soaps? Dexter? Movies? If this is what the Indo Pak match delivered as TRP, than either there is something wrong with us as a nation, or something is wrong with the measurement system. My hunch is that it is more the latter than the former.

We did go on to win the World Cup, and expectedly the TRP didn’t cross the Indo Pak level, but the whole nation came out to party, and they partied through the night.

May be going into future we need to apply a factor of 4 to every TRP that the rating agencies release. There is no other way to explain the levels that the agencies are telling us.

The channels too leveraged the rush very well, with rates crossing 2Mn for every 10 sec. Brands willingly shelled out 6Mn for a spot. In a cricket match about 200 ads are telecast. The sheer commerce of it is staggering.

The brands though need to look beyond commerce. Did the commercial create the desired impact? Did it persuade the buyers to change their behavior? Not many brands may have succeeded in that endeavour. Possibly the most successful brand would be Nike, who managed to make their campaign into a sort of anthem. Bleed Blue became the clarion call, and it united the cricket lovers across the world. It did end up trumping the Change the Game campaign. May be a Sony, may be a Revital, but beyond that the ads remained mere intrusion that the viewer had to suffer through, rather than watch and enjoy.

India has won the world cup, and in the process has demonstrated that rules of engagement need to change. The old measurement system needs overhaul, and chasing most expensive ad slots may not guarantee impact

 

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