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In this series, The Drum gets brands to share their IPL game plan and the marketing innovations they lined up to make the most of the mega-event.

The 13th edition of the mega sporting bonanza IPL (Indian Premier League) is going to have its grand finale in a few days. In a departure from previous years, owing to Covid-19, the matches are being played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), instead of home-market India. The enthusiasm of cricket-fans across the globe continues unabated. The Drum gets you the playbook of a tyre brand which continues to be excited about the association even in its 6th year. Amit Tolani, chief marketing officer of Ceat Tyres shares how it pushed the creative envelope for its IPL strategy this year even while getting on-board one of the biggest Bollywood actors as the brand ambassador.

The IPL association

Whoever thought tyres are a boring category, check this out. The leading Indian tyre brand Ceat, owned by RPG Enterprises, continues its IPL association sixth year in a row - as the official strategic timeout partner for IPL.  

Making the star-power work

To build upon the excitement, the brand signed up the leading Bollywood star Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador, shares Amit Tolani, CMO,  Ceat Tyres. The brand launched its IPL campaign with Khan, around its premium SecuraDrive range of tyres. The high-blitz IPL campaign was played across TV, digital and print.

Tireless engagement

Tyres are not the most interesting or high-involvement category, but this tyre brand decided to make it as much fun and exciting as possible with a slew of marketing initiatives. 

To build upon the IPL excitement, the brand continued its social media initiative through contests and topical content deploying the other brand ambassadors including cricketers Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer etc.  

In addition, the giant screen of ‘Ceat Tyres Strategic Timeout’ during the live IPL games gave the brand constant visibility even while the matches were being played and telecast.

Pushing the tyre advertising

Created by Ogilvy India the IPL campaign is based in an advanced tyre testing facility, where test dummies are used for testing.

The brand ambassador Aamir Khan has been given a ‘never seen before’ look for the campaigns. He is playing the character of a dummy who comes to life when no one’s watching and gets creative while saving himself from the tyre testing challenges.

The adverts, says Tolani, seek to showcase how the brand’s tyres enable a safe drive in different driving situations, through superior control at high speed turns and precise braking. This communication featuring two commercials is an extension to the earlier ‘idiots on the road’ concept where the dummy was shown undergoing various tests inside the car even while urging everyone to be a smart dummy and trust only the Ceat tyres.

Covid Creativity

The added challenge for the brand campaign came from the timing - “we had to shoot the entire TVC indoors and with lots of precautions given the pandemic,” shares Tolani. Keeping the Covid-19 production reality in mind, the agency scripted the adverts such that it didn’t require a crowd scene.

Why IPL continues to make sense for the tyre brand  

The viewership that IPL will witness this year will be unprecedented and thereby ensure that much higher visibility for the brand, says Tolani. The association is going well, he adds, with the quality of the games, sportsmanship on the field and so many close finishes all adding to the buzz. 

The IPL Campaign 

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