Sanjeev Kotnala: Olympics; Brands continue Pride, Possibilities & Determination template

14 Jul,2021

By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaThe Tokyo Olympics start on July 23, 2021. We have moved from ‘Pressure on brands rising over Tokyo Olympic Games’ in May 202 to how to leverage them for the brand.


As a nation, we honour the Olympic Spirit.
We PARTICIPATE. Other than few sports like Archery, Boxing, Badminton and Shooting, we are rarely in contention for a medal. Naturally, all the brand communication around Olympics is about determination to succeed. We talk about the pride of representing the nation, the pain and sacrifices, and the possibilities. It is tough to differentiate messages and hence the execution style plays an important role.



Adani group continues with #Garvhai from Rio Olympics. Give them marks for consistency, but the communication is along the standard lines, overcoming the challenges speak.


The campaign getting positive reviews, shares and creating some heat is Thumps UP Palat Dal. No, there is not much difference there. But, the lines and the execution is engaging. The words surrounding you and reflecting the attitude of today’s generation. You enjoy it for the moment- wishing for some Palat Dal in the games.



Nothing much will change till we as a nation start performing. Till we begin winning medals that count. Till we are not in the top 10 countries on the tally. Till the time, people have no answer to the population – medals won the argument. And for that, the voices and the choices need to be free. Until there is no unbiased support on personal, social, and government levels, let us all continue celebrating the pains and hurdles we cross. And keep singing – Hum Hongey kamyaab eek din.

JSW Group 2016 campaign ‘Rokna Nahi hai’ featuring 12 Tokyo bound athletes is very descriptive. The communication takes you through the challenges, opportunities and yes, it is somewhat motivational.



There is a choice before the brands. They can remain in the cluttered space of possibilities and potential. Or it can really think through the brand proposition and the Olympic imagery to create something that genuinely leverages the situation.

It reminds me of the communications from Fevikwik released around the 2016 Rio Olympics. It is not a typical Olympics ad. However, the timing and use of hockey leave not much to the imagination. I find such humour far more effective than the standard hum hongey kamyaab chorus.


Or the Tata Salt communication during the 2016 RIO Olympics, #NamakkeWaastey. Where they featured Shiva Thapa, Babita Kumari and Inderjeet Singh. Okay, it was still about grit and hope with an additional layer of pride.


On the other side, here is an example of how to waste the opportunity. Support India, #IAmTeamIndia by Edelweiss Group during 2016Olympics.



So here is the Olympics communication that takes in to account the COVID time and the way athletes kept moving and preparing for future. Here we know the context and that is what makes it interesting and engaging.


And when the games were pushed by a year- the one year out made all the difference. And the true Olympic spirit is embedded in this P&G communication.


The Indian official anthem for the Tokyo Olympics- I am not sure- but here it is – Teer Ki Taraha Chal_ Lakshya Saamne Hai- Jeet Kar Hai Aana. Move like the arrow, the target in sight- come back with a win !!!! This is so disappointing. Outdated. No punch. Maybe someone is being too realistic and lowkey.


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