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Pro Kabaddi League Season 4 targets viewers with 'Don't Watch Fake, #AsliPanga Dekh' campaign

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Pro Kabaddi League Season 4 targets viewers with 'Don't Watch Fake, #AsliPanga Dekh' campaign

The new Pro Kabaddi League ad campaign is a far cry from its earlier versions which relied on the #LePanga premise. Star Sports this time has adopted a whole new approach for its Pro Kabaddi League-Season 4 campaign. The channel has released their new campaign titled ‘Don’t Watch Fake, #AsliPanga Dekh’ for the tournament which will start on June 25. With a dash of melodrama and humourous twist, the campaign is already getting noticed for its innovative approach.

Brand strategy

Commenting on the new Pro Kabaddi campaign, a Star India spokesperson said, “Star Sports Pro Kabaddi has transformed and galvanised the traditional Indian game of Kabaddi into a much loved offering for players and fans. No other sport has grown so fast and gained such wide and deep following across audience segments - men, women and kids through urban and rural markets. The campaign communication for season 4 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is focused on showcasing the intense and relentless action that the sport provides. In a tongue-in-cheek manner, the attributes of kabaddi have been juxtaposed against narratives from other competitive viewing genres, culminating in a call to action for kabaddi – “Don’t watch fake, Asli panga Dekh.”

It was after the grand success of the second year of the league that the owners decided to make Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) a bi-annual event from this year onwards. The approach of the channel is to make it from a 5-week activity to a 10-week long affair.

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Creative strategy

The campaign has been conceptualised by the in-house team of Star Sports. The first ad takes a dig at a newsroom scenario, where speakers are seen engaging in fierce confrontation with each other during a debate session. The second ad tries to capture the attention of the audiences who love to watch daily soaps. Using humour and a light-hearted tone, the channel refers to a sequence from a serial where a snake woman is the protagonist, mildly taking a dig at soaps which use similar plotlines to attract eyeballs. The third film takes a dig at viewers who love to watch action packed South Indian movies. All the three films end with the message- ‘Don’t Watch Fake, Asli Panga Dekh’.

Other than the TVCs, the channel has been promoting its new campaign through the hashtag #AsliPanga and has been sharing GIF format videos of players on its social media pages. The intention is to create excitement among viewers in the online space.

Expert take

According to Devang Raiyani, Head-Product Strategy, Advocacy, the new campaign for Pro Kabaddi Season 4 is trying to target a new set of audience. There is a shift in the strategy and they are being upfront about it. “The creative has been packaged for the audience as a spectacle, keeping aside the competition or the tension of any sport. I am glad that the tired imagery of any game has been thrown out, which makes it fresh and watchable. It’s much better than last season’s ads which were more about physicality, valour and all the other kind of clichés which has been done to death by the sports brands,” he said.

However, Randal Gomes, Creative Lead, MindShift Interactive opined, “While in the previous season, the focus was more on a raw, rugged approach, the current strategy seems a little dramatic and over the top. As a marketer, the brand should have stuck to its raw and natural appeal rather than over glamorizing the entire campaign. Delving into the routes of the sport is something that would appeal to me more as compared to the one that has been executed. Overall, Season 3 campaign had a bigger impact in terms of brand connect as compared to the current route.”

Previous campaigns

The Season 3 campaign seemed like an extension of the ‘Le Panga’ narrative which was launched first during Season 2 of Pro Kabaddi League. However, this year’s campaign attempts to highlight the star players in different teams in order to familiarise the audience with them. 

The Season 2 campaign for PKL inspired people to overcome personal limitations and barriers by portraying life situations where the protagonist goes through a transformational change after exposure to Kabaddi. The campaigns were quirky and were executed in popular Bollywood style.

The campaigns for the first season of Pro Kabaddi were conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather and the attempt was to refresh the image of Kabaddi as a popular sport.


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