AdOnIPL21: Hits & Misses

10 May,2021


By Vikas Mehta


Vikas MehtaSo, the pandemic caught up with IPL too. And some of us are surely going through withdrawal symptoms each evening. But the futility of the sport hits you starkly when a few near and dear one gets affected, as it happened to yours truly too.


Let me bring this series to a logical end. Today I will share with you my hits and misses from the ads released during the IPL. And my Gen Z sample, undoubtedly will have a say in this too.


Frankly, it is easy to talk about the misses. Some of the worst ads featured Ranveer. The toss up in my mind was between JioFiber and JD Mart. Maybe Ranveer should give up endorsing brands starting with J. And on this my Gen Z sample was in total unanimity with me.


Then there were the soft drinks ads. Be it Pepsi, which surprisingly used the old Salman Khan or be it the Coke global ad which desperately tried to have some Indian feel to it. Or the Priyanka Chopra-led B Fizz ads (ok, Gen Z sample did like this one). Or the Katrina Kaif Slice ad which used the 1970s Pepsi Taste Challenge thought but without any conviction. Or the you-blink-and-miss Maaza ad. Or the, you have seen one, you have seen them all, Frooti ads. This category was the biggest disappointment for me at the IPL. What a fall for a category which, till just a few years ago would produce some of the best ads, year after year. And my Gen Z sample had a pertinent point to make. Why did most of the soft drink ads use celebrities who are past their sell-by-date? Maybe because Gen Z celebrities are flash in a pan Tik Tok or Instagram celebrities who shine for a few moments and are quickly replaced by a newer sensation, I suggested. Maybe because the creators of these ads are millennials who are still clinging to the celebrities of their own generation. But a point to ponder.


That question from my Gen Z sample made me think hard and I wondered about another interesting trend. Hardly any cricketer or sportsperson is promoting any of these soft drink nowadays. Bah! That’s easy, said my Gen Z sample. Sportsperson are now more conscious about not associating with unhealthy products. Hmm! I think of Tendulkar with the chubby, wholesome look and then the image of a fit, diving, hurtling Kohli flashes in my mind and though I nod in agreement, give me a Tendulkar any day over a Kohli.


But I digress, who am I to pontificate? I will just continue with my hits and misses. The biggest yawn, no, the biggest turn off for me was the Salman Khan’s Elaichi flavour ad. Till I was corrected by Gen Z sample. The brand was not Salman Khan. I stood corrected. I would prefer the Bolo Zuban Kesari ad any day. So what if it features two more vintage actors. At least it was shot in London and not on a cheap looking Bollywood set.


Hey, all is not doom and gloom. The IPL did have its moments. Not many, but some did stand out. The Phone Pe series for example. For me, this was the stand out IPL campaign. Benefit lead, short plots that did not need major explanation and had ample subjects to reignite interest every time you saw them. In fact re-viewing these was always a pleasure. And these also amplified the stimulus response theory of communication very well, Eh! What’s that, asked my Gen Z sample. Finally, I could pontificate a bit. Do not say the benefit in the ad. But give a stimulus that makes the viewer say the benefit. That’s when generic benefits like easy to use, convenient, fast etc are not only remembered but appropriated by the brand. For the first time I noticed a look of appreciation from Gen Z sample. Small mercies!


Of course the gully cricket ads of Dream 11 were a big hit too. And so were the Dhoni ads for the same brand which epitomised the using of brains to build your fantasy team. But then MPL did a neat little coup by questioning the use of brains in the Hindi proverb-led series. The MPL ads also demonstrated that a good idea can easily upstage the presence of celebrities like Ranveer (again), Dada or Rahane (My 11 circle) or for that matter even K. Rahul (Gamezy).


Finally, it was Cred that stole the show. While the Dravid ad got lot of attention and social media chatter and even though the Jackie Shroff and Kumar Sanu follow up ads were a pale shadow, I think the boy band ad was quite brilliant. For my Gen Z sample it was not just hilarious but as it spoke their language and actually addressed them, it was endearing. Come on not everything is about TG and tonality etc. We are talking about ads and sometimes, they do need to break the mould. Cred is a winner on that front.


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