Dhoni abandons his ‘Dream’?!

04 Apr,2022



By Vikas Mehta


Vikas MehtaSo, it’s been a very usual and unusual IPL so far. Usual, because Mumbai Indians (MI) have lost the first two matches. But the MI captain Rohit Sharma felt it was business as usual in his post-match interview. Unusual, as Chennai Super Kings have also lost the first three matches on a trot, albeit after years. Unusual also for CSK as Dhoni, after relinquishing his captaincy seems to have taken it back and is also scoring runs as in his heydays.


And as usual, Dream 11 continues its dream run at IPL. The idea of “Dream Big” has seen many new frontiers. The series of various players like Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Patel reminiscing their struggles but not giving up on their big dream has two new creatives so far. One, with Pant and the other with Sharma. And this time, they pay tribute to some behind the scene people like the groundsman or even a stranger helping Pant at a gurudwara. The thought of one is never alone if one’s big dreams fits seamlessly into the Dream Big theme of Dream 11. Whew! Too many dreams here.



Dream big is also following a classical strategy of thematic and tactical ads. For the uninitiated, when advertising was the be-all and end-all of all communications, brand ads were created for brand equity, may be once a year, extolling the virtues of a brand and its personality. These were called thematic ads. Interspersed through the year were tactical ads which by nature would drive sales. These were by nature about inducements or sale pointers. Personally, I think this was more of a jargon-spitting marketer’s delight, as for the end-consumer. every communication is a message and she or he does not delve into it with a separate compartment of thematic and tactical in her or his mind. The ads with Dhawan, the Pandya brothers, Ashwin and even Pant in a metro asking people to try the Dream 11 seems to be in the genre of the tactical ads of yore.



But one dream seems to be missing from Dream 11. Dhoni has disappeared from all communications and has now appeared for Winzo. Another gaming app. Winzo is not about a fantasy league. It’s about skill and social gaming and I presume it’s clear of any controversy related to “gambling” as Dream 11 is. Maybe that’s why Dhoni moved away from Dream 11. In the ad, Dhoni cheekily starts by saying that he is called gamechanger so he is changing his game from today. Very unusual but typically clever from Dhoni.


Quite unusually, I am seeing Byju’s ads without Shah Rukh Khan. And these are good. Emphasising on understanding the concept rather than memorising for an exam. ‘Samjho seekho jeeto’ encapsulates the idea well. As a parent, these resonate with me more than the Shah Rukh ads which seemed more gimmicky. I also think Shah Rukh’s personality does not gel with that of Byju’s and made the brand more flippant.


There has been a lot of buzz about the new Spotify ads. I like them because they amplify the generation gap between Gen Z and the millennials as also Gen X. While Gen X and the millennials are passionate about politics or shopping offline or any discussion and are more social, GenZ is more reclusive and more digitally social. So, Spotify is their ‘kavach’ or protective armour from these indulgences of the older generations. Unusual, yet simple.


I also think that the Meesho ads capture a similar trait of Gen Z. The features of photo search or free delivery are neither new nor unique but they capture the essence of Gen Z. While millennials or Gen X prefer offline shopping and want to see all options, Gen Z is not only used to online but also wants trendy or happening products. So, these features serve them well.


Does Aamir Khan have a triple role in his next film? The series of Netmed ads make me think so. Or, wait! Was it Pharmeasy? Or 1mg? At least Pankaj Tripathi was not about triple or double role. Not only are the names confusing but so are the generic benefits. From a consumer perspective, when I fall sick, I need medicines, fast. Not in a day or in a few hours, but in minutes. So, except for long-term medications like for diabetes or cholesterol, I am not sure how these medicine aggregators can help. What do the investors and these start-ups know that we don’t?



And just when I was about to sign off, I saw two similar ads from PepsiCo company. For Pepsi and for Slice. It seems the company has taken competitive stance as a corporate paradigm. But then what’s the fun if unusual things don’t happen. More on the two ads next week.



Vikas Mehta, a senior advertising professional, is now a strategy consultant and educator based in Dehradun. He has a considered, often contrarian view that we enjoy consuming (and contesting) on most things around him: cinema, cricket, advertising, politics and life in general. AdsOnIPL is a series of reviews of the ads aired around IPL programming. The column is in its second season. His views here are personal.



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