PepsiCo is on the aggressive in India, putting in the extra effort (and dollars) to try and keep archrival Coke from having nearly any association with the country’s most popular (and longest) sporting event, the 50-day Indian Premier League T20 tournament—where best cricket teams in the country go up against one another—which kicks off April 3.
"This could be the revival of the cola war," said Basabdutta Chowdhury, CEO of media-buying group Platinum Media, according to the Economic Times. "Though IPL coincides with peak season time for beverages, the investments are huge and will have to be backed by a robust marketing plan.”
If this is the restart of such a war, Pepsi may be kicking things off with a shock-and-awe offense. Pepsi agreed last fall to shell out around $72 million for the naming rights to the tourney for the next five years—double the amount that the previous five-year sponsor had paid. Now, it's aiming to snatch up as much of the advertising as it can so that Coke’s logo won’t get too much attention during the event.
The Economic Times has it that Pepsi is “spending almost 70 crore ($13 million) on top of its title sponsorship deal … to bag almost all possible on-air and on-ground sponsorship and branding deals” for the tournament. More than $9 million of that is with Multi Screen Media, which will broadcast the event, to be one of two sponsors. Another $3.1 million could go to gaining the pouring rights at the stadiums of eight of the nine IPL teams if current negotiations work out. The ninth team, the Mumbai Indians, have sold off its pouring rights to Coke. In all, the Times predicts that Pepsi will be spending more than a half-million dollars per day during the event to get its name out to the 1.2 billion residents of the country.
Coke was also trying to get the sponsorship and pouring rights to those eight other teams as well, but then decided the price tag was too high, a source told the Times. "Coca-Cola is minimizing its association with the IPL and instead is looking to maximize branding activities outside of the IPL," the source said.