While ‘Chak De! India’ has taken over the nation by a storm, the original passion of the country has not lost its sheen. Good old cricket, with its glorious uncertainties, continues to rule the hearts of millions.
Although India lost the World Cup, it was only a matter of time before people would get glued to their television sets to watch another cracker of a game, since cricket has always gone beyond players, isolated tournaments, and even results. For cricket lives and grows in the hearts of Indians from their very own ‘gulli’ cricket days, spent playing the shorter version of the big game.
It is this understanding about the game that made Reliance Mobile step forward to become the global partner of the ongoing ICC World Twenty20 tournament, and air its first Twenty20 TV commercial.
The commercial shows a cross-section of children in India narrate their dreams. After all, if the game is shortened to 20 overs, why should the dreams of the nation?
Sanjay Behl, Head-Brand and Marketing, Reliance Communications, said, “The passion for cricket is a binding force in India today. Twenty20 is a crispier, more exciting form of the game. It is often touted as the future of cricket and will not only appeal to the existing cricket fans, but will also get a new younger audience in its fold. It is this wide spectator base of the game that Reliance Mobile wants to speak to by owning the emotions and sentiments associated with a Twenty20 game. Even as the game becomes shorter, our corporate philosophy continues to encourage people to dream bigger and eventually emerge a winner.”
While certain information on the extent of the deal with ICC, and the exact figure at which it was struck, remains unclear, there is no ambiguity in the message of the TVC. It is based on the premise that dreams have nothing to do with different formats of the game, and that dreams could be fulfilled by everybody.
When asked about the advertising idea, Nitesh Tiwari, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett, Mumbai, said, “We have advertised cricket a lot of times, but this time the challenge was about reviving interest in cricket and not making it dependent on cricketers; especially at a time when everybody acknowledges that it is a religion in India and yet nobody wants to see it. We had to put back the energy into the game. The 20-over format was the opportunity. That’s when we thought of using kids as a metaphor for the shortened version of the game.”
Anja De Landsheer, VP, Leo Burnett, said, “We saw a common platform between the brand Reliance Mobile and the Twenty20 format of cricket. The introduction of the 20-over format of the game meant infusing a fresh way of thinking, and Reliance Mobile as a brand has advocated believing in one’s dreams and always thinking of news ways of making those dreams come true. These shared values ensured that the decision to associate the brand with the new version of the game will eventually end up benefiting the brand.”
But it’s probably the game that will benefit most. After the brave fight the ‘Men in Blue’ put up in England, let’s hope our luck changes with the umpires and we get the World Twenty20 Cup home.