Saturday, 4 days back, was the first time I got to know who Donald Sterling was. I don’t follow basketball so the possibilities were anyways remote. 90 minutes back the world got to know about Donald Sterling when he was banned for life by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and penalised a hefty $2.5 million.
Why you ask? Apparently a tape was leaked last week by TMZ where Donald Sterling’s voice was heard telling his girlfriend to “stop bringing black people to LA Clippers games”. NBA moved quick after the leak, and did their investigations on the authenticity of the tape throughout the weekend. By Monday they were sure that the voice was indeed of LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. By Tuesday morning (US Time), Adam Silver announced related decisions and even promised that “he would urge the board of governors of the Clippers to encourage Sterling to sell the team.” WOW!
All this chatter made me think of something much closer to my heart, the sport and the league I relate to closely, the Indian Premier League. All I could think was that if a white millionaire franchise owner can be banned in America, for racial comments, what stops the IPL and BCCI to take similar actions against their corrupt franchisees?
Don’t get me wrong, Racism is disgusting and deserves all the punishment but what has transpired in the IPL off-late has been similarly grave, if not worse, in my humble opinion.
All this prompts me to ask 4 simple questions, to all of you.
Question 1: Why don’t we see IPL commissioner Ranjib Biswal taking a similarly strong stance, like NBA commissioner Adam Silver did, against corrupt franchise team owners?
Question 2: Why don’t we see other IPL franchise owners standing as one and pressuring IPL to act tough with corrupt owners?
Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks tweeted
Magic Johnson, the former champion player and one of the investors of LA Sparks and LA Dodgers also tweeted.
Worth noting, that Johnson was mentioned as persona non grata at Clippers games in the audio recording that earned Sterling his lifetime ban. He also tweeted his support for forced selling of Clippers by Sterling later.
Vivek Ranadive, owner of Sacramento Kings
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert
and, Robert J Pera, who’s the principal owner of Memphis Grizzlies
Question 3: Why have the players of corrupt franchisees stayed silent all this while? Why the “God”, “Pillar”, “Wall”, “Captain Cool” etc of Indian cricket haven’t reacted to express the frustration of the average Indian cricket fan yet?
LA Clippers players wore their training kit inside out, hiding the clippers logo, to protest against their team owner.
LA Clippers Protest (via @WordsofSarah)
Hell, even the official Clippers website wore this look. Some how I don’t see an IPL team website even attempting something similar.
The Clippers also released a statement saying, “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”
Question 4: Why haven’t the sponsor of those IPL teams pulled out of their sponsorships? There was talk of the lead league sponsor having second thoughts, but Pepsi clearly is sticking with IPL, irrespective of its global policy on such matters. Why?
On Monday, 15 Clippers advertisers said they have terminated or suspended their sponsorship, although most expressed their continued support for the team’s players, coaches and fans.
Announcing their departure were CarMax, State Farm, Kia, Virgin America, Red Bull, Mercedes-Benz, LoanMart, Southern California Ford Dealers, Yokohama Tire, Burger King, Sprint, Samsung, the Commerce Hotel & Casino, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the company that makes Corona beer.
Why did the Supreme Court of India had to involve itself in matters which should have been self-policed from the word go?
To conclude, I really hope everybody directly involved with IPL, from the BCCI, to team owners, to cricketers and finally sponsors realise that the time to Bullshit cricket fans is over, it’s time to act now, and hopefully learn a thing or two from the more matured league across few ponds.
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Few weeks back when I wrote about the top digital marketing trends for India, RTM (Real Time Marketing) did not figure in the list. But then February 3rd, also known as Super Bowl Blackout day happened & the world of marketing promised not to be the same ever again.
I started thinking about RTM scenarios for the Indian market & how our marketers could take advantage of those opportunities. But what really drove me to write this post was a session during ad:tech new delhi 2013.
RTM is not a new phenomena which spawned one fine evening when Oreo & it’s agency partner decided to dunk in the dark, & in the process became a lifelong case study for this marketing genre. Instead Real Time Marketing techniques were developed in 1990s with initial deployments of CRM solutions in major sectors, but it wasn’t so glamorous & thus not thought about much during that time.
Marketing has altered radically in the last few years — perhaps more than any other business role — and the progression will absolutely continue as marketers become more single-minded, swift and supple.
With over 150 million internet users, & 100 million social network user base, India as a market is ripe for some RTM action but this form of marketing goes far beyond simply posting a timely tweet (see Oreo/Tide during blackout), a status update or even a vine posting (see Calvin Klein). Brands have to expand the use of real time social analytics, create great content to drive engagement & make on-the-fly decisions around trending relevant topics. That certainly is hard to fathom in current Indian marketing culture.
Current culture being the key statement in the last paragraph.
Because Indian consumers have moved on & so must the marketing techniques employed to entertain & engage them. A recent study in fact did say, “Engaging customers through content & other outreach techniques is getting increased attention from marketers in India”.
But most Indian marketers still find it challenging to cut through the information clutter today to resonate. Mostly because they are not used to customers driving interactions (after all it was one way shouting till a while back) & taking control of the relationship they share.
Marketing strategies still rely heavily on arranging everything, to the T. That practice has to give way. Marketers can plan, but can’t choreograph consumer behavior.
With the sixth edition of Indian Premier League starting in April, Indian brands have a grand stage to get daring with their consumers & in the process get embraced.
The biggest opportunity out of all brands clearly lies with Pepsi. Pepsi is not just the official presenting sponsor for IPL 6; it is a youth driven brand urging its TA to “Live for Now”. In India its latest brand tagline “Oh Yes, Abhi” conveys the same spirit of Now, Instant & Dynamism to the impatient Indian youth.
Although my views about Pepsi not introducing the new logo in the Indian market even after 4+ years is widely known on twitter, I still believe being a challenger cola brand a new approach can have a positive impact for them.
That new approach is not just premiering new TVCs on YouTube, because that is passé, it is not just dumb tweets asking who your favorite cricketer is, it is making custom content for its online consumers which needs to be fun & useful.
& If some of that can be made at twitter speed, it would be Quaker oats on the milk (let me know if you have a better suggestion for this?)
I should also note that the instant Oreo Super Bowl ad followed a 100-day program called “Daily Twist” that began in June 2012 and ended on October 2nd, 2012. It was 100 days of real-time posting of Oreo’s responses to what was happening in the news, such as the Mars Rover landing and the anniversary of the ATM. So in no way it was a fluke or a creative that popped out of nowhere.
Another extensively acknowledged case study has been the work done on Old Spice campaign through YouTube, “The man your man could smell like”. Here’s a helpful link to take you back to 2010.
Real Time Marketing is clearly not cut out for every brand, nor it can be done without extensive resources on a continuous basis. Probably the easiest way to implement it would be to start using it in select functions & not across the marketing department off the bat.
I firmly believe that RTM has few unique principles:
1) Focus on individual interactions
2) Need for adaptive campaigns
3) Strong alignment with other key departments like sales
4) Customer collaboration
That certainly is not a comprehensive list & just like it’s core, these principles are ever changing & dynamic in nature.
In today’s aggressive and rapidly fluid economy, brands are determined to remain at the vanguard of their industries, which gives Real time marketing its spotlight. By allowing marketing to be “better, faster, and cheaper,” and be more flexible in the face of change, RTM 24/7 can help brands in their efforts to create a competitive advantage.
Brands can also expect RTM to benefit their offerings by increasing WOM (Word of Mouth), Media Receptivity, Social Media Presence and increased chances of consideration by the consumer.
Let me conclude with one of my key learning’s from ad:tech new delhi 2013 about marketing “Don’t wait to be perfect, just start”, after all Brands can afford to be “flawsome”
This piece has also appeared on India Digital Review as a Guest Article
- The King of Real Time Marketing (vishal1mehra.com)