The way to Indians’ wallet is through cricket. Just ask PhonePe

Watching keenly.
Watching keenly.
Image: AP Photo/Saurabh Das
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Cricket is a religion in India, and digital payments major PhonePe knows it better than anyone.

The secret sauce for the success of the Walmart-backed company, which has lately been breathing down rival Paytm’s neck, is cricket sponsorships.

PhonePe first invested its marketing spends into cricket in mid-2018 with the Asia Cup. After seeing a positive response, it upped cricket-related advertisements, the Flipkart-owned brand told Quartz.

The game-changer, though, was the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April last year. The 12th edition of the tournament drew a viewership of 462 million. PhonePe, a co-sponsor of the event with tagged promos, segment exposures like “super player to watch out for,” and other advertisement campaigns, greatly benefitted.

“With 338 billion minutes recorded as the total (TV) consumption for IPL 2019, brands get an opportunity to advertise not only during breaks and throughout the match but even during the post-match highlights,” the company said. “Visibility across multiple touchpoints gives them a chance to increase brand recall value.”

Users began to view the brand more favourably, reporting it to be safer as well as having the best cashback and discount options, among other things.

Overall, the brand’s transaction volume and market share climbed up significantly, too.

The cricket bet will get PhonePe into many households, it hopes. “It is one of those few events that is watched by the entire family together, making it the most captive and engaged audience that maps perfectly with the kind of consumers we are looking to connect with,” Sameer Nigam, CEO and founder, told Business World.