AdsonIPL21: Shraadh Effect on New Ads?

23 Sep,2021

In the first season of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League, we invited Vikas Mehta, senior marketing strategist and educator and a former adperson, to review the various ads around the IPL coverage. Mostly on television, some on digital and once in a while if there’s something exciting in print, radio or outdoor. Here’s the first instalment on the ads around Part 2 of IPL 2021. Read on…


Vikas Mehta

By Vikas Mehta


Okay, the IPL has resumed. So, let’s have a refresher course on where we had left IPL at? Do you remember which team was topping the table? I don’t because my favourite team wasn’t. Who was the leading wicket-taker? I bet you don’t. It was Avesh Khan. Fine. Which team does he belong to? Stumped again?


But then when I saw the ads I did not need any refresher course. For most of the ads were the same old ads which we saw almost six months ago. Dream 11, Phone Pe, Unacademy, Mutual Funds, Finolex Pipes, Acko Insurance… it looked like I was watching reruns of the March edition of IPL. Not helped by the fact that Mumbai Indians lost their first match again and Punjab had yet another opening century partnership between Mayank and Rahul and yet another loss to go with it. Maybe, as my very astute wife reminded me, this is shraadh time and since some/many Indians do not make new purchases in the period, our advertisers do not launch new ads in this period.


But one category has definitely dominated and it has some new ads too. It seems there is definitely a charge of the edtech brigade. Not only new ads from Byju’s, Upgrad and Whitehat Jr but new advertisers like Lido Group tuitions, Great Learning. Not to forget the rerun of Unacademy ads. Even though schools and colleges are gradually opening up online education is booming.


I particularly liked the UpGrad ones. An ex-batchmate becoming your boss because she has upskilled herself. Nice thought. It looks like a series because I saw a second one with the same cast and looks like the three batchmates are going to be around for some time. The Lido Group tuitions is a good marketing initiative though I cannot say the same about the advertisement. Shah Rukh Khan is back to liven up Byju’s. And from what I understood Byju’s is now providing two teachers. Really? As if the pressure of one teacher was not good enough.


But frankly I have not understood using people like Shah Rukh Khan plugging education. What is Shahrukh’s educational qualifications? Do parents go by his recommendations? Does star power influence education decisions too?


So, if Bollywood star power can work why not cricket star power? Mr Kohli has also made an appearance for a brand called Great Learning. It seems to be a competitor to Upgrad. Is it a coincidence that this campaign release on IPL has been timed with his giving up the T20 captaincy. Or is he already looking for a career beyond cricket and therefore preparing to acquire some new skills?


Talking of cricketers, it’s been some time since one saw a cricketer in a cola ad. I wondered if the current crop of cricketers have been inspired by Kohli who did not want to endorse an unhealthy product (his words, not mine). Bumrah proved me wrong. He appears for Thums Up in the continuation of their “palat de” theme. It picks up from the Olympics and Paralympics ads, but frankly it is too predictable and does not have the hit-in-the-gut effect like the Paralympic ad. If I ain’t wrong, this was Bumrah’s first major campaign. No, please, do not mention anything about the Jio ads.


And to end this piece another refresher. Who is the anchor of the Cred ads? We have seen him in the past few ads but do you remember his name? And talking about Cred, did you realise that it’s Neeraj Chopra himself in all those roles in the new Cred ad. I must admit I did not recognise him. I guess winning an Olympic gold also is no match to a cricketer’s screen power in India. And neither to a Bollywood star’s. Maybe that sums up Byju’s and Shah Rukh.


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