South African advertising gurus laud IPL 2 campaign

June 2nd, 2009 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Shilpa Shetty By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, June 2 (IANS) The South African advertising industry has hailed the success of Indian Premier League’s (IPL) ad campaigns, which were conceptualised in just two weeks.

The IPL, which clashed with the general elections in India, was shifted to South Africa in just four week’s time.

According to John Davenport, creative head of the advertising agency Ireland Davenport, the biggest challenge was that almost nobody in South Africa knew the teams in the IPL, but the product had an universal appeal.

“We had no ties with teams like the Mumbai Indians or Kings XI Punjab. Thus the thought of filling all the seats in the stadiums was a scary one. There is nothing as bad for television as an empty stadium,” Davenport told the Afrikaans weekly Beeld here in the wake of the successful series.

Avril van der Merwe, also from the same agency, explained the thinking behind the catchy posters that filled every available outdoor space at cities where games were played: “Which cricket enthusiast would not want to see (posters of) Kumble bowling out (team mate) Tendulkar? Or Mark Boucher stumping (team-mate and captain) Graeme Smith?”

Industry insiders expressed confidence that the IPL project would be up for annual advertising awards later this year.

The importance of the entertainment element of the IPL was also prominent with the pictures of Bollywood stars featuring in full page IPL advertisements commissioned by Cricket South Africa (CSA) in national newspapers here this week.

Pictures of team owners Shilpa Shetty, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta at the opening press conference; as well as of Preity Zinta and Juhi Chawla waving team flags were very popular.

In a simply worded advertisement, the first by CSA since the tournament began, it said:” Thank You! Cricket South Africa extends its heartfelt thanks to the SA Government and SA fans for their tremendous support during the DLF IPL. Well done - you make us proud!”

Somewhat ironically, the IPL, which had spent an unprecedented amount on advertising the series through print and electronic media here to successfully lure fans to pack out stadiums, did not place any thank you advertisements, just as CSA steered clear of any publicity or statements as the series progressed.

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