By Malay Desai
From: Rediffusion Y&R
For the conglomerate’s new FMCG retail venture which promises unadulterated products, the firm portrayed top Indian cricket stars as messengers of death. The film opens with Tendulkar performing a Hindu death ritual around a family’s dining table, then moves on to show Sehwag replacing a cradle with a hospital bed and Yuvraj digging a grave for a child to see. This is followed by a labcoat-clad expert explaining the ill-effects of many substances allegedly found ‘everyday’ in our food. Eventually, captain Dhoni reveals the logo on his t-shirt and calls for ‘war against adulteration’.
Do we Like
In a word, yes, and we’d also have featured this commercial in our space even if it hadn’t run into controversial weather. Having the rank and file of the Indian cricket team in a commercial is a rarity and Sahara avails of this luxury again. This time however, its agency used the doubleedged sword so well, it has hurt some infamous sentiments.
Adulterated food and hygiene products is an open secret in India, debated only on chat shows and the occasional newspaper expose. Thanks to ineffective action from the central government and a criminalised market, the common man does intake harmful substances every day, as Dhoni says.
Assuming this venture (another vertical from the company that has dabbled into several sectors with varying levels of success) is true in its promise, there is a huge scope for awareness and eventual sales of ‘quality’ products, which will appeal to the minds of increasingly cynical urban consumers.
Full marks to the agency for coming up with a brave, never-done-before storyboard. The idea – death. By getting top cricketers to act in a dark, disturbing way to drive home the message of harm, the shock treatment works well. It is almost a necessity, for the crux of the ad is ‘death won’t give you a warning’ and besides, it’s an ironic troll on all the products – colas, chips et al – that these very faces endorse otherwise. Well played!
The TVC however falls into the cliché zone with the labcoat guy (most popular labcoat guy in history perhaps!) and his monologue. Also, what’s the point of making him read text the audience anyway sees on the screen? It is Dhoni’s dressing room talk which retains the gist and gives a powerful call-to-action, or rather a call-to-arms with clenched fists. The ‘let’s declare war’ approach is relevant too, for adulteration is a widespread evil.
It’s a pity the BCCI couldn’t stand this offbeat usage of cricketers and got Sahara to pull off the ad; and the latter obliged. The war was perhaps lost right at the first step… and we wonder what ASCI did in all this. Here’s a call to arms for newer usages of Indian cricketers in ads.