Review of AdsOnIPL21: Week 1

12 Apr,2021

IPL 2021's Television Broadcast Sponsors

IPL 2021’s Television Broadcast Sponsors. Image from Star Sports Twitter handle


By Vikas Mehta


Vikas MehtaWhen the IPL season is on, my evenings are booked. For two events. The match and the new commercials that accompany every new season. Actually, when I was asked to re-view them, I did a double-take as I would be re-viewing them anyways right through the season.


But first some disclaimers. For those who do not agree with my re-view, I am not the target audience, as hardly any ad is targeted at 50-plus Tier 2 city resident! But those who agree with it must give the credit to my Gen Z daughter (my advisor for such re-views) as many ads nowadays seem to be targeted to them.


Ok, forget the second disclaimer for this re-view. The new series of Dream 11 ads. I think they are actually targeted at the nostalgic millennium generation and even 50-plus like me. To me, Dream 11 has always captured the essence of gully cricket. And so does this new series. It’s about the fun of working in a team. And what has really worked for me is how this time all the star cricketers have seamlessly blend in as gully cricketers. The cricketers are so natural and so unstarry. And such skilled performances. Usually, the cricket stars cannot spare much time for such shoots, so they come across as uncomfortable or unprepared. But here, Messrs Dhawan, Dhoni, Sharma, Pandya appear so natural and part of the script. Plus, the choice of the background songs: nostalgic and so apt. I can review these ads just for the songs.


And then you watch the same people, Messrs, Sharma, Hardik etc in the ad for Jio Fiber and you hope that this one should not be re-viewed. But I suspect many more such avatars with more stars will be reviewed before the season is over. I have always felt that Jio is a great product which has thrived inspite of its advertising. And, yes, my total sample size one, of Gen Z, also washes its hands off this ad.


Now this is a new one. I had never heard of this brand before Upstock, no, Upstork, no, no… Upstox… no, yes, my Gen Z sample says yes. So, is this ad targeted to them? Irrespective, it’s a cliched one. So difficult, so easy routine (must be very difficult to do such ads). But I did like the escalator one. Three decades ago, when I first one to Heathrow, I faced a similar dilemma, albeit on a horizontal walkway. I did get my Gen Z audience giggling when she heard my travail. But the ad??


The last IPL had ads from a new brand, Cred and they were noticed and created waves (Upstox, are you listening?) They used film stars whom Gen Z has hardly heard about and it reminded me of a term that I always associated with porn. Self-flagellation. I mean why would Messrs Bappi Lahiri, Anil Kapoor or Madhuri Dixit enjoy being portrayed as caricatures of themselves? But the brand was noticed. As was the message. Forget all song and dance, just remember a good product. Much was written about the ads and soon the brand and its purpose were well-recalled. Also, they did a nice tie-up of actually showcasing people who received 100% cashback on credit card bill by using Cred, across the matches. Jargon-speak: it was believable testimonials (another disclaimer: I did try Cred and paid a whopping bill through them… but guess I am destined only for GPay Rs 3-Rs 5 cashback). So, I deduced that the Cred strategy (sounds important) is free publicity and going viral (tip: going viral can never be strategy).


I therefore did a double-take when I saw an ad with the cool Mr Rahul Dravid becoming the Monster Man. But what is the message? Our product is as unbelievable as Mr Dravid’s anger? And when I opened the local Hindi daily on Saturday morning (reminder: I live in a Tier-2 town in the Hindi belt), it had an article on Mr Dravid losing his cool. Guess viral as a strategy does work.


If you liked this re-view, do share and like the article so that the editor allows me to do another review next week.


Vikas Mehta is a former marketing communications professional who has worked in India and abroad on many local and MNC brands. Currently, based in Dehradoon, he has his own consultancy and is also associated with some B-schools. His views here are personal

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