He is one of the brightest cricketers in the Indian team today and now he has been voted the Pepsi and MTV Youth Icon for 2006. With this, Mahendra Singh Dhoni joins the ranks of Anil Ambani, Rahul Dravid and Shahrukh Khan, who have been Youth Icons in the previous years.
Dhoni (Sports) beat illustrious names such as President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (Science), Dr Vijay Mallya (Business), John Abraham (Films), Navjot Singh Sidhu (Television), and Abhijeet Sawant (Music), the finalists in this years’ list.
Reacting to the announcement, Dhoni said, “When I heard that I had been voted the Pepsi & MTV Youth Icon, I was both surprised as well as overwhelmed. It’s a great feeling as well as a huge responsibility to live up to the expectations. It is a great honour to join the league of other Youth Icons like Anil Ambani, Rahul Dravid and Shahrukh Khan, and I can’t help but feel like a man among giants. My message to all the youth out there is that irrespective of the hurdles in your way, you can achieve anything you want, as long as you set your mind to it and work hard. To all the youth of India, thanks for your support!”
The six final nominees were arrived at after a comprehensive ten-city study conducted by IMRB. The sample size included youngsters aged 15-24 years from Ahmedabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune, post which the Indian Youth voted for their favourite. An MTV Youth Icon TV special with Dhoni will be announced later.
At the onset of the initiative, specially branded Pepsi 600 ml PET bottles, with Pepsi and MTV Youth Icon labels carrying the SMS voting codes were circulated nationwide. Pepsi trucks carried the Youth Icon voting communication and posters were distributed across 13,000 key Pepsi outlets nationwide.
Other initiatives from MTV included voting and winner announcements across mediums like radio through 93.5 Red FM and TV partner Headlines Today and magazine partner Outlook. MTV also undertook youth-connect initiatives through mall activation across Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad where MTV VJs visited select malls in these cities and engaged audiences in interesting thematic games and activities.
Pepsi and MTV have also selected five contest winners, who now get the chance to meet Dhoni on MTV.
The associate sponsors on the event included Weekender, Castrol, HP and Ford Ikon, who will give away a Ford Ikon ‘Flair’ to one lucky winner who voted for his/her Icon.