Nokia, facing a daunting challenge in the market-place from new competitors, has decided to spend more than last year on Kolkata Knight Riders in a vote of confidence to its brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan, who recently recovered from a shoulder injury and faces his own competitors in Bollywood.
They would team up to steady the Indian Premier Leagure’s second season as the security-threat-hit Twenty10 cricket tournament moves to South Africa.
In Nokia’s logic, IPL is just right for mass brand-building because here is where a game meets entertainment.
“SRK enhances the element of entertainment in cricket,” said D Shivakumar, vice-president and managing director, Nokia India.
“From being just a tool of entertainment, the phone has become more about entertainment. Ninety per cent of its features are about things other than making calls,” Khan told Hindustan Times, adding he expected KKR to become a big property in its own right.
Research carried out by media services agency GroupM after IPL 2008 showed that the investment paid off for Nokia, with a 30 per cent recall, which came second only to title sponsor DLF in mind association of viewers. Naturally, in IPL 2009, Nokia is spending a “substantially higher” amount on KKR – though Shivakumar did not give details.
At the time it first invested in the team for IPL 2008, Nokia was market leader in the cellular phone market in India with a 62.5 per cent market share (GSM and CDMA), according to Voice & Data 100’s annual survey for 2007-08.
Shivakumar notes that during KKR’s playoffs last year in Kolkata, a third of those who turned up came to see SRK were women or children.