#ThinkDigital ? The Fantasy Marketing

IPL is something that needs no introduction in India and it is here to stay. Well-known brands like Vivo, Coke etc. are spending higher amounts than ever on the IPL that kicked-off its 12th season recently. What makes IPL different from any other game series is the intense involvement of team franchise owners, players, as well as the audience in a short duration game in comparison to one day cricket. So far brands have been pouring money to take the sponsorships and various placements to make themselves visible on this high-quality dramatic pitch when hundreds of millions of people are watching on every possible screen.

On the other side, Fantasy gaming is a relatively new thing for India as it picked up especially in the last 4 years. Most of the people in my generation may not know that when they were in schools and early collages ESPN has brought an interesting show called SUPER SELECTOR. Contestants could win the points based on performances of the players selected by them for the leagues. We can call it the start of fantasy gaming in India.

One of the key reasons for fantasy games success in India is that it is easy to play by just selecting some key players for your team (let us call it a skill) and as they perform in the real match you will get rewards. And who doesnt love instant gratification?
Nowadays, fantasy gaming has spread beyond cricket and has stood tall in games like Kabbadi etc. However, it is needless to say that the biggest chunk of fantasy gaming fans in India still follows cricket. And Hence biggest fantasy gaming platform of India “Dream 11”, that has reportedly said to have 50 Million+ users have chosen Mr. Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be their brand ambassador.
Interestingly another breed of fantasy gaming platform is also nurturing in India and that is money-free fantasy (skill-based) gaming. Think of the Vodafone ad in which they say “Unofficial sponsor of fans”. If you are a Vodafone customer, in cricket match ad breaks you can dial a number to get a question and by answering it correctly you can win many gifts, iPhones or even get an opportunity to win an international trip.

Now if you observe closely, what are the key similarities and difference between the Vodafone campaign and Dream11? In my opinion, not many except in one you pay money and time to play, however, in the another you just pay time. On the other hand, you are contesting in both and have almost equal probability to win, provided you are using your brains or in fantasy language, what’s called skills. Another latest campaign is Zomato premiere league where you are given extra cashbacks for predicting the winners.

So whats in it for marketers? A Huge opportunity to tap the fantasy gaming generation. I call them Gen G (G for Gaming). Their simple traits are that they are young, munching into the internet or internet savvy and a bit of risk takers. So what, you may ask? Well, its how the majority of young India is inclining towards to be. Why? because a good chunk of fantasy gaming generation lives in tier 2 cities. And a huge wave of migration from tier3 and rural is going to flow towards the tier 2 cities.

Marketers have already been putting energy in engaging the audience with gaming. However, most of the budget used to go for title sponsorships (likes of VIVO IPL) or ad placements. Now the time is here to offer the young generation of India fantasy marketing experience that engages them, involve them and gratify them for being engaged with the brand. As they say, experiences stay forever, fantasy gaming-based engagement can be a new ray of light for the marketers.
Advertising is changing as digital ecosystem influences the thinking of a consumer and its lifestyle. In my column, “#ThinkDigital” I explore the intersection of the latest digital-tech, advertising and everything around. I share insights on the latest digital trends, innovative campaigns and conversations from the Innovation and data-driven digital leaders across the planet.

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