The vice-like grip of Chinese smartphone brands over on-air advertising during IPL matches may have weakened a little in the wake of the furore due to the India-China border standoff. But, Oppo has not let the controversy affect its marketing strategy.
The Chinese smartphone brand was the top exclusive brand on Hindi+English language sports channels during the telecast of the first four matches of the IPL, according to TAM Sports.
Another Chinese smartphone brand Vivo earlier pulled out of its title sponsorship deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for this year before the start of the tournament and there were speculations that the mobile handset category, dominated by Chinese brands, will slash its on-air spending.
Does it mean the Chinese smartphone makers will continue to power on-air advertising?
Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and angel investor, feels that Oppo spending heavily during IPL broadcast is not surprising.
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“When BCCI decided to take the tournament outside India, the tensions were very high due to the India-China border standoff. Chinese mobile handset brands like Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi went on a silent mode. I believe a lot of Chinese brands have put a lot of money in buying airtime on television and that is not surprising. I think they will slowly try to get back to their normal spending strategy as other programming like Bigg Boss and KBC are also being beamed,” he told Moneycontrol.
The pre-Diwali period is when mobile handsets see a surge in sales. Even though anti-Chinese sentiments may be prevalent, not every consumer’s decision is swayed by geopolitical factors, feels Mathias.
“Not every consumer makes a purchasing decision keeping geo-political factors in mind and they go by what they can afford. It is practical for these brands to be visible through advertising rather than make statements through media,” he said.
Moneycontrol reached out to Oppo for comment on its advertising strategy but there was no response till the time of filing.
Mathias said the IPL is too big an opportunity for any brand to miss it and that Chinese smartphone brand has been able to leverage the tournament’s massive following.
“IPL is the primary medium and brands will always flock to it. When there is a big controversy, any company will lie low and that’s what all the Chinese majors did. Even now, they are not making any public statements. They are using advertising as a soft tool,” he added.