I prefer luminaries

Updated: 04 October, 2020 07:45 IST | Rahul da Cunha | Mumbai

Do people buy from filmstars? Well, Dream Girl Hema Malini has been endorsing a brand of water purifier, since IPL began. But, no one I know, buys this brand, except Dharam, Esha, Sunny and Bobby Deol

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul da CunhaSo, I am an IPL guy. Whether the tournament is played in India, or South Africa or Sharjah, or UAE or Dubai, I'm fully involved. Even for IPL 2020, with no spectators present, I am my own cheerleader, commentator, coach, canned applause, crowds. Yeah, I'm that super fan.

This edition of cricket's most high profile T20 tournament, has an equally exciting "side show"—the ads. The ones that run between each over—oh boy, each one has more excitement than some of the matches. In fact, they are so full of energy, logos, colour, actors, noise that for the life of me, I cannot remember most of the brands being advertised. But, in modern advertising, it is not important what the brand is, but who's the brand ambassador.

The young account planner, fresh out of IIM, the hungry strategist, the green around the ears copywriter, eager to write that immortal slogan, the filmmaker, desperate to make a difference, Ridley Scott style, they're all told, early in their careers, by their bosses, both agency and client, "Beta, don't stretch yourself, we're not looking for high fundas or big brand ideas, or what is the benefit to the consumer. We're not looking for catchy jingles, memorable brand properties, animation characters, or long-term slogans. Forget all you've learnt in management academies or film schools. Just get us a celebrity. And, pick them from India's two biggest passions—cricket and cinema." So, even if the brand concept is a tad complex, like take something called Cred, all I recall is Anil Kapoor jigging around and Madhuri Dixit, Bharatnatyam-ing in an audition. Night after night, this is repeated, and I have no idea, what the product does.

Do people buy from filmstars? Well, Dream Girl Hema Malini has been endorsing a brand of water purifier, since IPL began. But, no one I know, buys this brand, except Dharam, Esha, Sunny and Bobby Deol.

Akshay Kumar has kept himself busy in the lockdown—if he's still an actor, I don't know, what with COVID-19 having closed down multiplexes. But, being a man many of multi-talents, I see that he transforms into a doctor, a water-proofing agent, a bathroom cleaner, a chef, an insurance agent, selling you cooking oil, cleaning liquids, cars—there was a time when the Big B played all these parts, but he never actually became the cement mason or the salesman. Akki plays all the roles.
(On another note, Aamir Khan has become a police inspector, and Shah Rukh has put on spectacles and become an educationist).

But, dear reader, this not a piece about endorsements vs evergreen campaigns. This is me becoming a media planner.

So, I'm recommending to the channels, a unique rate structure, a way of tele-casting the ads.

First things first, Akshay should become the brand ambassador for all products. Marketers should get together and get a bulk deal from Akki and the TV channels—as a result all Akshay TV ads can be clubbed together.

Chalo, I'm off to try and understand how Sachin can convince a mother to let her son play cricket, by comparing it to mutual funds.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahul.dacunha@mid-day.com

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First Published: 04 October, 2020 04:28 IST

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