We take a look at the best ads that lit up this year's IPL

India’s sporting and commercial juggernaut, the IPL, reached its climax on Tuesday with the Mumbai Indians bagging their fifth Indian Premier League title with a five-wicket win over Delhi Capitals. Mumbai, the most successful team in IPL history, chased down 157 with eight balls to spare as captain Rohit Sharma hit 68.

For those not familiar with the format, the IPL follows the Twenty 20 format – the shortest version of the game where each team bats for 20 six-ball overs. Winning by eight balls [almost an over and a half] is relatively comfortable.

Highlights of the 2020 Dream 11-sponsored IPL Final between the Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals played in Dubai

All of the matches in this year's tournament, featuring the customary eight franchises, were held in the United Arab Emirates and without fans, having been delayed from the spring because of the coronavirus.

There is simply no platform like the IPL in terms of reaching India’s vast, lucrative but disparate consumers. The closest equivalent in terms of bringing a country together around a single broadcast would be the Super Bowl.

Final TV audience figures for the tournament have not been released, but if the opening weekend figures are anything to go by, expect record numbers. India’s Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) said 269 million viewers watched IPL 2020's opening week at the end of September - a 15 per cent growth in viewership over the 2019 edition of the cricket fixtures with 60.6 billion viewing minutes.

We were delighted to call on the expertise of Campaign India [part of the Haymarket group of companies] who reached out to ‘Adland’ to review the best TV campaigns built around the IPL audience and come up with their favourite ads. To read their whole story, please click here and to register with Campaign India for more award-winning insights click here.

Anil K Nair, CEO, VMLY&R India

Most favourite: Cred. As much as I find them irritating, at some level the Cred ads have hit the spot for me both in terms of memorability and cut through. I can't seem to get Bappida off my mind.

Gautham Narayanan, managing director, Wieden+Kennedy Delhi

Most favourite: Hands down the Dream11 work. The street cricket idents are well executed, charming and humanise legends. I love the fact that they take cricketing idols, and all of us back to our childhood and to the truest form of the game - gully cricket.

Rakesh Hinduja, co-founder and managing partner, content platform, Wondrlab

Most favourite: I’d say it’s Dailyhunt’s ‘Josh’ for a very simple and entertaining idea. The ads have a very clear message and make for an effective series of short films. I like the Dream11 films, too. The execution is superb and they have leveraged the cricketers really well. They’ve tapped authentic gully cricket behaviour and the overall idea where all are equal, very effectively.

Rana Barua, group CEO, Havas India

Most favourite: Cred. Superbly engaging and amazingly hilarious.

Sandeep Goyal, founder, Mogae Media

Most favourite: PhonePe. It has a well though through story line. Aamir is fantastic and so is his side kick Shinde. Superb ideation, small touches in the script. Earlier, Alia too was very expressive. All in all, great advertising.

Tarvinderjit Singh, executive creative director, Contract Advertising, Delhi

Most favourite: The IPL film that made me sit up released just before the final. With good reason too since it was a smart compilation of moments from this IPL, set to a buoyant track and chaperoned by a bomb of an insight. Am talking about the Unacademy film. I found the performances in many ‘yahan sab same hai’ Dream11 films on point as well. The flaccid connect of the idea to the product cost them the gold.

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Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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