Beauty brands bowled over by Women’s Premier League

Sugar Cosmetics’ co-founder Vineeta Singh’s LinkedIn post with actor Kareena Kapoor Khan and designer-entrepreneur Masaba Gupta and others watching a Women’s Premier League (WPL) match between Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore last week, went viral. So did photographs of actor Katrina Kaif watching a WPL match to support the UP Warriorz team wearing Kay Beauty jerseys, the name of her cosmetics label which has associated with the team as title sponsor in partnership with beauty platform Nykaa.

The WPL, in its second season, has also seen LoveChild by Masaba partnering with Mumbai Indians women’s team as official partner. Personal care and beauty companies Himalaya Wellness and Lotus Herbals too have rolled out new campaigns.

Beauty brands have bet big on the WPL which culminated in Royal Challengers Bangalore winning the tournament, as they look for first mover advantage, despite the continued vast viewership gap between men’s and women’s cricket.

Kaif, co-founder, Kay Beauty, said while announcing the partnership that the brand hopes to be associated with the team “for a long time to come”.Jinisha Sharma, director at Capri Sports, owner of UP Warriorz, said: “We are optimistic about the influence this collaboration will have, as we collectively navigate challenges .. for women in sports.”

Vinit Karnik, Head of Sports, ESports and Entertainment at GroupM, said: “Our women’s cricketers are performing very well and their personal and professional stories are inspiring.. hence marketers are capitalising their popularity. It makes a lot of marketing sense to leverage the league from the beginning and watch it grow over the years.”

However, both viewership and ad rates of the WPL, remain at a significant gap with the men’s tournament, say executives. For the IPL 2023, television broadcaster Disney Star had said the tournament registered a steep 505 million viewers, citing data by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India. In contrast, the finals of the WPL 2023 saw over 10 million new viewers tune in, according to broadcaster JioCinema.Puma, which brought together Khan, Singh, boxing athlete Mary Kom and Masaba Gupta to jointly watch a ‘ladies’ night at the WPL match mentioned earlier, said only 18% women who watch men’s cricket, also watch the women’s game. “It’s disheartening to witness the vast viewership gap between men’s and women’s cricket, and we are committed to changing that narrative,” said Singh of Sugar Cosmetics.On the gap with the men’s league, Karnik said: “Women’s cricket is at nascent stage and we need at least 5 to 7 yrs for it to get established and reap commercial benefits. I’m confident WPL will deliver positive impact to marketers over 4 to 5 years.”

Yet, the trend of women’s beauty brands betting on WPL marks a shift from previously, when mostly it was fitness and nutrition brands which sponsored women’s sports.

Pratik Mukherjee, brand head of LoveChild Masaba, said with the brand expanding to retail format across metros, the collaboration with Mumbai Indians women’s team would “accelerate awareness and solidify brand presence”.

Beauty and personal care (BPC) companies pushing for newer avenues to invest in, comes at a time when the sector is set to surge, say various industry reports.

A report by Redseer Strategy Consultants and Peak XV forecasted that India’s beauty and personal care market would grow at a compounded growth rate of 10% between 2022 and 2027, to $30 billion by 2027, growing ahead of markets like China and Indonesia.

“Growth prospects of the Indian BPC industry are further strengthened in light of how under-penetrated the market is. Similar to the global market, pure-play BPC brands are leading the disruption in India,” the report noted.

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