HERO CUP 1993: The making of a dream

Navroze D Dhondy, Founder & Managing Director of Creatigies Communications Pvt Ltd, sheds light on the journey and makings of the 1993 Hero Cup cricket tournament

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 27, 2019 11:59 AM  | 9 min read
Hero Cup Navroze D Dhondy

It was possibly the 1st of November 1993. Winter was just about setting in. The sun had already set and after a late evening meeting, I drove back to the Hindustan Thompson Associates ( HTA – later JWT ) office in Jhandewala. As I walked into the office reception the guard on duty said, “Sir, yeh Sahib log aap se milne aaye hain” ( Sir, these two gentlemen have been waiting to meet you )

As I plonked my bag on the reception desk and stretched my hand out to a warm handshake the first gent introduced himself. “ Hi. I am Vineet Jain. From the Times of India. And this is my colleague G. Krishnan. We would like to discuss an interesting sports property with you”

I escorted the two gents to my cabin, ordered some tea for them, and then asked for more details on this unique sporting event that was going to be unfolded. GK in his imitable style said, “well let us not waste time Navroze. We really don’t know why we are here but a colleague mentioned your name and we hopped across to see if you could help get us a TITLE SPONSOR for the 6-Nation Jubilee Cup to be hosted by the Cricket Association of Bengal”.

On further probing, it became clear that all hell had broken loose and we were staring at a cricket tournament that was to start in exactly a week’s time.

After a few minutes of rather animated discussions in my cabin, I told Vineet and GK that there was no way that any brand would be able to afford the price tag they had been asking for. A soft drink giant had made them believe they would sponsor it but at the end of October decided that November happens to be in the winter offseason and suddenly backed off from the offer. This was one of the earliest cases of Rights ownership and the Times Group had picked it up from the CAB where Jagmohan Dalmia was the President and was always known as a Marketing genius!

So here we were three men in a ten by ten cabin literally staring at the writing on the wall.

It was a bit of a strange, funny and inexplicable mood that we were in as options of brands that would cough up the monies demanded kept getting struck off the list.

Eureka! I told Vineet and GK that I could try and create a 'ménage-e trois' of sorts and see if three companies would come together for the greater good. The first call went to Pankaj Munjal. Remember this was 1993. No mobiles. Good old landlines.

I explained this opportunity to Pankaj who was the main man behind Hero Puch. In a flash, he loved the idea and as I had predicted said, “I can’t do this alone. It needs the blessings of Hero Cycles and Hero Honda. But in principle, I am on!” That was a perfect start. Next call was to Ludhiana and I spoke with Mr O P Munjal ( Pankaj’s father ) who was the decision-maker at Hero Cycles. It was early evening and in Ludhiana, he was busy with some poets who had come for a mushaira. Despite that, he came to the phone, had a long chat with me, and when I told him that Pankaj was keen and excited, he too pitched in. His last words before he hung up were. “Jao, Brij Mohan Ji se mil lo. Hero Honda ka saath bahut zaroori hai” ( Do go and meet Brij Mohan Ji. Hero Honda’s partnership in making this happen is key!”

So the last call was to Brij Mohan Lal Munjal. The eldest of the family. He was enjoying a quiet evening at his residence in Greater Kailash and here I was with two gents nearly 15 kilometres away. Brij Mohan Ji heard me out on the call, and my update of the discussions I had had with Pankaj and O P Ji. I told him I was coming to see him right away. And along with me would be two gentlemen. His first reaction was “ Sure Aaa jao, lekin akele aana” ( Sure do come over but come alone”) I insisted that it would be the three of us coming over and as it was a winter evening we would enjoy the hospitality of the Munjal household with some hot chai and snacks! The rapport and relationship I shared with the Munjal family allowed me to take such liberties, and in a jiffy, we were all on the drive from Jhandewalan to Greater Kailash. Almost like from the boondocks to the Champs Elysees!

Brij Mohanji welcomed us, we were served tea and snacks and then we jumped headlong into the idea, the opportunity and the concept. THE HERO CUP.

Supported by Hero Honda, Hero Cycles and Hero Puch. Mr Brij Mohan Lalji was always a “gut- person” and here too he was reacting with childlike enthusiasm when he heard of the creation of the Hero Cup. With a thump of his heavy hand on the table, he said, “Navroze, bumper idea. Let us do the Hero Cup”

But in the next 30 seconds, the excitement and joy had given way to a bit of hardnosed financial discussions which did not go down too well with Mr Munjal, and he actually stomped out with a wave of his hand, almost dismissing us from his durbar! Well, Vineet looked at me. I looked at GK. GK looked at Vineet. All we could say is that we tried. And possibly failed.

There was no one in the living room, and we started to collect our papers to depart when suddenly I saw a hand waving at me. It was Brij Mohanji gesturing me to come across to the anteroom adjacent to the Living Room.

I walked across and he looked me squarely in the eye, and said, “Hero Cup is a brilliant idea. Karna hai. But the price needs to be negotiated. This is my offer….!”

Literally in the next one-minute history was written and Mr Munjal and Vineet Jain shook hands in agreement. Here I was writing a cricket tournament deal by hand, in Mr Munjal’s home office, on his personal letterhead and stationery, with a list of gives and gets sponsor benefits and other little details in 1993! When there was no history of brands sponsoring such events. How it happened don’t ask me now. Why it happened is something I have never tried to figure. But happen it did and sports sponsorship in India was on its way with the HERO CUP.

I immediately called Pankaj and Mr O P Munjal from Brij Mohan Ji’s residence. Conveyed to all the decision. Called my General Manager Mr Sunil Gupta ( who is a complete cricket aficionado himself ) called Mr J Narain who was heading Marketing at Hero Honda and called the creative team, Naveen Mathur , Vipin Sood, Ajoy Bhan, and the account management head Mukul Kansal to rush back to office at 830 pm to start the creation of the way the Hero Cup would look and feel.

The next 12 hours were a blur and we finalised the Hero Cup logo, the branding on the perimeter boards, branding on the stumps, tickets and all the bells and whistles that came along with the sponsorship. There was no internet. No laptop. No mobile phones. No WhatsApp. All designs were printed artworks and teams were dispatched to all corners of the country to ensure that everything was perfect when the first ball was bowled as India took on Sri Lanka at the Green Park, Kanpur, and made Sunday the 7th of November 1993 a truly special day. It helped that India won the inaugural game by 7 wickets and I had my first interesting discussion with an international cricket Umpire Steve Bucknor at the hotel in Kanpur.

Within three weeks much water flowed under the bridge. We had managed t get TWI to come and for the first time actually provide world-class TV coverage of a cricket event in India, something that didn’t go down too well with Doordarshan which refused to telecast the games. The first match, India vs Sri Lanka, did not get aired but some egos and tempers were quickly managed and from the very next game, the HERO CUP was beamed into Indian homes and all around the world.

The highlight came when all seemed lost during the Semi-Final game when the Eden Gardens Calcutta hosted the first-ever day-night game under lights. India had managed a modest 195 of which 90 came off the imperious bat of Skipper Mohammed Azharuddin. When South Africa needed just six runs from the last over Sachin Tendulkar chanced his arm, and truly became the Hero of the Hero Cup as he strangled the South Africans who ran themselves out of the game and India won by a whisker- 2 runs and entered the Finals.

Today is the 27th of November 2019. 26 years ago India played the West Indies at The Eden Gardens ( producing a repeat of the 1983 World Cup Finals ) and the HERO CUP stayed home with India winning by a huge margin of 122 runs.

Over the years one bumped into Vineet on flights and events, and of course many a meeting with GK ( who went on to head Aaj Tak for many years). Each time we would have that smile on our faces and each time we would reminiscence and replay each moment of that special evening when a little piece of Indian cricketing history had been written.

The HERO CUP. A replica of it sits proudly in the Hero Corporate office even today. Truly put together by some real Heroes. Mr Vineet Jain, Mr G Krishnan, Mr Brij Mohan Lal Munjal, Mr O P Munjal, Mr Pankaj Munjal, Mr J Narain, the team at HTA which worked tirelessly to create an iconic moment in Indian cricket history. I feel happy, proud and privileged to have played the role of the sutradhaar, who strung together such gems and was instrumental in the creation of the HERO CUP.

Memories are made of this.

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The Hindu Group bags four awards at WAN-IFRA South Asian Digital Media Awards 2022 

The Hindu e-paper won gold for ‘Best ePaper’

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 11:18 AM   |   2 min read

WAN-IFRA South Asian Digital Media Awards 2022 

Products and services created by The Hindu Group bagged four awards at the WAN-IFRA Digital Media South Asia Awards 2022.

TH Newsletters won silver in Best Digital Subscription Initiative. The Hindu e-paper won gold in Best ePaper-concept. In Trending and Current Affairs, The Hindu won gold in Best Use of Short Form Video.

Further, Coimbatore Unlimited- Collaborate, Co-create and Celebrate, an event initiative that hosted curated series of panel discussions on Coimbatore won silver in Best Native Advertising/Sponsored Content Campaign.

Speaking about the win, Pundi S Sriram, Chief Product Officer of The Hindu Group, said, “We are really excited to receive this recognition! We are striving every day to provide a better user experience on our sites and to engage our readers and subscribers in new and innovative ways. Our newsletters, videos and interactives are changing the way we are bringing our best journalism to a younger, mobile-first audience.”

 Pradeep Gairola, Business Head- Digital Media of The Hindu Group, said, “It feels honoured and good to do work that makes a difference and adds value to the lives of our readers, who are helping us build a sustainable business model for the news industry.”

Sriram Srinivasan, Group Digital Editor of The Hindu Group, “We always try to use newer platforms to reach our readers or attract new readers without compromising on our journalistic values. Our social media and video teams have done wonderfully well in creating short-form videos. They have adhered to what works for the format while relying on our strengths in explainers and analysis. We are very happy that this effort has been recognised.”

WAN-IFRA South Asian Digital Media Awards 2022 recognise the outstanding digital media projects delivered by South Asian news publishers. Over 100 entries were received from new publishers across South Asia for the awards. The Quint, The Hindu, Prothom Alo, and Indian Express emerged as the 2022 South Asian Digital Media Awards winners.



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17th Pune Design Festival to discuss ‘Next 25’

The festival will be held in Pune on February 3 and 4

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 10:30 AM   |   3 min read

Next 25

The 17th edition of the Pune Design Festival (PDF), organized by the Pune chapter of Association of Designers of India (ADI), will be held at Hotel Hyatt Regency on the Pune-Ahmednagar Road on February 3 and 4, 2023.

The festival will be held from 9am to 7pm on both days.  The 17th edition of PDF, which is a national-level annual convention of professionals, educators, and business houses related to the field of design, returns to be held in physical form, after it was held online for two years due to the pandemic.

“The theme for this year’s PDF is ‘Nxt 25’, where there will be discussions and deliberations on subjects related to changing paradigms of designs in terms of the use of technology, and the approach of young designers in the next 25 years. The focus of the festival is on understanding how to engage with emerging or new technologies in the field of design. The theme will bring forth discussions, debate, case studies and workshops that showcase the future forward design,” said ADI Pune Chapter President Rugwed Deshpande.

There will be three keynote sessions by Samar Singh Jodha, who is the Founder and Executive Director of Red Balloon (on Creativity versus Inner Voice), Meeta Malhotra, Editor in Chief of ‘The Hard Copy’ Magazine, (on Pune: For Design, By Design) and Bharat Bala, who is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bharat Bala Products (on History of the Future).

The two-day event will also see special felicitation of some individuals and personalities who have made outstanding contributions to the field of design. Veteran design educator Kirti Trivedi will be felicitated for her contribution in design education, while Pradeep Sinha, product designer and educator, and Mala Sinha, textile designer and founder, Bodhi, will be feted for pioneering efforts in design entrepreneurship.

Other speakers for the festival include Bharat Bala, a distinguished film-maker, Nikki Gonnissen, an experienced designer at Thoknik in Amsterdam, Kenneth Segal, an expert in large-scale public transportation projects from Israel, Aniket Das of Ultraviolette Automotive and Rupali Bhave, a noted theatre professional.  The topics of discussions range from ‘Drama in Design’ to Challenges in the Design Business.

Moreover, an initiative titled ‘Battle of Projects’ initiative will be held.  Under the initiative, students of design submit their final year projects and best awards/recognition is given to the best 30 projects across 11 different categories.

Another initiative ‘Open House Workshops’ is also being held alongside, where those interested in design and design students, will be able to visit open studios and they can attend free workshops on subjects related to design. 


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Van Heusen to hold musical concert on PartyNite Metaverse

The event is being held in collaboration with Paytm Insider

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 12:44 PM   |   4 min read

van huesen

Van Heusen, dressing brand from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL), has entered the metaverse as they set sail on a fantastical journey with a virtual musical concert in association with Indian pop band ‘When Chai Met Toast’. The lifestyle brand from Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail Ltd. has teamed up with PartyNite Metaverse to create a virtual performance space for the immersive musical experience called Van Heusen MetaPlay and has put together a full length showcase of their merchandise. Viewers can RSVP on Paytm Insider and get ready to enjoy and experience the first-of-its-kind Metaverse Music concert in India.

Fans and viewers can style their avatars with the latest collections and ensembles from Van Heusen and enjoy the show with their friends on the Partynite app. The viewers would be introduced to Van Heusen's clothing line which are virtual versions of real-life ensembles under the brand’s catalogue that can be worn for the concert.

Speaking about this unique event, Abhay Bahugune, Chief Operating Officer-Van Heusen, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. said, “As an ever-evolving fashion brand that has always been anchored in innovation, we have not only entered this virtual space of Metaverse, but have also started creating next-gen retail experiences, with an aim of tapping into newer and more dynamic forms of engagement with our consumers. Fashion in the metaverse is poised to emulate what we already see in day-to-day life; it’s engaging to dress-up avatars and use fashion as a form of self-expression and personal status. This musical concert is just the perfect amalgamation of Fashion, Music and cutting-edge technology that we would like to share with our discerning consumers. We are also the first ever fashion brand to enter the Metaverse in India with such an immersive experience”.

Rajat Ojha, CEO, Partynite Metaverse said, “From marketplaces filling in the gaps in streaming services, to full-blown NFT bands, the metaverse is ushering a new dawn for brands in terms of consumer engagement and fashion as an industry can mine gold on the metaverse, it fits in seamlessly. With the metaverse we will be able to push the envelope further. Not just see and buy but experience and buy is the name of the game.  We as a metaverse platform are here to bring in a step-change and enable brands to use technology to communicate, express themselves and create shopping opportunities for consumers in the near future.”

Varun Khare, Business Head, Paytm Insider said, “We are thrilled to present Van Heusen’s first outing in the music metaverse. Whether it's a live event or digital, we at Paytm Insider always strive to offer unique experiences for today's audience. This time too, we have left no stone unturned in curating this larger-than-life event that bridges the gap between the physical and digital space to deliver a truly shared experience like no other. Recent times have witnessed major artists conducting metaverse performances and that leads us to believe that the music metaverse offers artists a new canvas for creativity as well as a new format for fans to experience music that is immersive. We bring to the audience this metaverse-inspired show, with the conviction that imaginative live events are a taste of the future that is here right now, and we are looking forward to organizing many such events in the future. We are also happy to partner with PartyNite for this one-of-a-kind music and fashion event.”

Once the registration is made on the Paytm Insider app, the consumers will receive an email with instructions and they will have to download the PartyNite app, log in and then enter the Van Heusen Metaverse experience to customize the avatar and attend the show slated to happen on February 2nd, 2023 at 7 pm.


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ET NOW and ET NOW SWADESH have announced an exclusive Budget special programming

The theme of the programming is Budget 2023 – Leap Ahead.

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 30, 2023 6:26 PM   |   4 min read


As India gets ready for Union Budget 2023, the last full budget by Modi 2.0 Government before the general elections in 2024, ET NOW and ET NOW SWADESH have announced an exclusive Budget special programming under the theme, Budget 2023 – Leap Ahead.

While the world over is grappling and preparing for recession, India, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, is getting ready for the next big leap toward realizing its $5 trillion economic goal. Capturing the tone and the mood for the Union Budget 2023, ET NOW and ET NOW SWADESH offers its viewers a comprehensive 360-degree perspective of this landmark budget that will set the tone as India continues to leap towards becoming an investment-friendly and global manufacturing hub.

Using cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art AR graphics to present a simplified Budget analysis, ET NOW and ET NOW SWADESH present a slew of interactive and engaging line-up that will decode Union Budget 2023 & its impact along with dedicated expert advice on stocks, markets, wealth creation ideas, investment insights and more. The channels have also partnered with Deloitte India as Knowledge Partner and will have their industry experts share views on social, political, and economic implications of the Union Budget.


Pre-Budget Programming details below

  1. BUDGET & MARKETS: Often known as the sentiment indicator, Indian stock market has been crucial in garnering investment into India. Airing every day at 4 pm, ET NOW and ET NOW SWADESH in the run up to the elections will analyse what the market mavericks are eyeing from FM Sitharaman.


  1. ECONOMIST PANEL: Given that the developed world is bracing itself for the recession, the show will provide an in-depth view of how well India’s macros are placed to withstand the storm. With an esteemed team of economists including, Sonal Varma, Managing Director and Chief Economist for Nomura Holdings, Samiran Chakraborty, Chief Economist, India at Citibank and Indraneil Sengupta, CLSA, the show will delve into their expectation on India’s GDP growth & their targets for the fiscal.


  1. BUDGET & START-UPS: Airing at 6:00 pm on the channels, the show understands the Budget expectations from the thriving start-up community. Be it ecommerce, logistics, funding or taxation, it is this start-up sector that will be impacted the most with the Budget announcement. Investor & Entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala will help understand the current landscape for the start-ups in India & what will help the sector take India to the next leg of growth.


  1. THE MONEY SHOW: How will the Union Budget impact your wallet? How can you counter inflation & yet continue to grow your investments? This special show airing at 5 pm offer viewers an opportunity to share their personal finance queries LIVE with an esteemed panel of guests.


On Budget Day,

Commencing with the LIVE coverage of the FM speech, think tanks, Swaminathan Aiyar, Mythili Bhusnurmath, Rajnish Kumar, Puneet Chhatwal, Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi will simplify, analyse and dissect the Budget and give real-time views as its being delivered.  Tracking the economic and political impact of the Budget, ET NOW & ET NOW SWADESH will cover a series of in-depth discussions and interviews with key policy makers and present actionable ideas to fuel India’s economic growth.


Budget Day programming details below

  1. LIVE coverage from big industry chambers– CII, FICCI, Bombay Chamber Of Commerce & Industry
  2. Budget Fatafat – A quick roundup of all the key takeaways from the Budget.
  3. India’s secretaries panel featuring will decode the Budget & its impact on state finances.
  4. Special Tax Panel featuring to help understand the tax implication of the steps announced in the Union Budget.
  5. Budget & You – A personal finance show that will answer all the viewers queries on their personal finance with esteemed panel of guests.

Promising viewers an immersive TV viewing experience, ET NOW and ET NOW SWADESH add on to the Budget excitement with an on-air contest, Budget Master on February 1, 2023. Participants can enter the contest by watching the channels and answering simple questions asked every hour between 9 am to 2 pm to stand a chance to win gold.

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WebEngage partners with Titan, Mr Baker & Etmana

WebEngage will leverage its retention stack to help these brands drive unique customer experience (CX) across multiple channels

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 30, 2023 5:01 PM   |   2 min read


WebEngage, a full-stack Retention Operating System, has announced partnerships with Titan Co. (UAE), Mr Baker (UAE), and Etmana (Egypt). WebEngage will leverage its retention stack to help these brands drive unique customer experience (CX) across multiple channels by organizing data, developing analytical-driven customer insights and driving one-on-one personalized engagement.

The uptake of AI-powered, data-driven customer engagement solutions comes on the back of brands’ growing need for differentiation in competitive retail and e-commerce space, especially in the MEA market. The emphasis on retention marketing is underpinned by the fact that retention is more financially feasible and profitable than the acquisition of new customers. WebEngage, due to the efficacy of its full-stack solutions, has emerged as a go-to partner for regional brands, the company said in a release.

Part of the Tata Group, a publicly traded conglomerate, Titan Company Limited was once dubbed the world’s fifth-largest watchmaker. Mr Baker, with origins dating back to 1996, is a household name across the region. Etmana is a fast-growing fashion retailer with a sizeable market share in Egypt. The reputation of these brands is a validation of WebEngage’s proficiency in customer engagement and retention. 

Commenting on the partnerships, Hetarth Patel, VP - MENA and Managing Director - UAE, WebEngage, said: “WebEngage is glad to be helping Titan Co., Mr Baker, and Etmana simplify retention and scale their businesses to greater heights. With Etmana, we feel like we are playing on home turf, whereas, for legacy brands like Titan Co. and Mr Baker, I believe WebEngage will have a two-fold impact, helping them maintain their foothold in the regional retail space while also assisting them on a path toward digital transformation powered by online and offline data and channels. We are honoured to collaborate with these leading brands and excited to further elevate their market standing.”



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Bhupal Ramnathkar’s photographs to be showcased at Reflections

Reflections is a series of photographs shot by Ramnathkar in different parts of Europe over many visits

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 30, 2023 1:33 PM   |   2 min read


Reflections by Bhupal Ramnathkar is an immersive photography exhibition that has been 40 years in the making.

When faced with the decision to choose a subject for his final year at Sir J. J. School of Applied Art, Ramnathkar sacrificed his first choice, photography, for a mundane reason called money; he couldn’t afford to buy an SLR camera needed to take up the subject. In the 35 years that followed his graduation, Ramnathkar has become a force in advertising and design, winning over 300 awards at national and international shows, including one of his print ads being selected among the best ads of the century. Umbrella Design, the agency he founded has created cutting edge design for some of the top Indian and multinational brands.

While advertising and design became his profession, photography continued to be his passion. He began photography in earnest, first, with a Nikon FM that cost a princely sum of Rs 3,900 gifted to him by Smita, his wife, in 1987, and later with a fully manual Leica M240.

Reflections is one series in the hundreds of photographs shot by him. Shot in different parts of Europe over many visits, the photographs are an extension of his visual aesthetic sensibility that pushes the boundaries by looking at the world in unusual ways and adds an unexpected twist to everyday subjects and objects. The results of this approach make you stop in your tracks and challenge your mind to imagine stories beyond what the eye sees. It is apt that a sizeable number of photos in Reflections have been shot in Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland, a place that continues to be a reflection of a traumatic past and forces us to reflect about our humanity.
When asked about Reflections, Ramnathkar in his characteristic manner says, “I have taken the photographs, created a visual stimulus and the only way to hear about them is to see them, immerse yourself in the experience of the exhibition, and let them speak to you.”

Reflections by Bhupal Ramnathkar is being held at Snowball Studios, off E. Moses Road, Worli from February 13 to 19, 2023.

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Zen Digital Media celebrates Republic Day at Juhu Beach with Nehru Nagar residents

The media house invited residents of Nehru Nagar slum to view the Republic Day parade happening in Delhi

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 30, 2023 11:32 AM   |   1 min read


Zen Digital Media took it upon themselves to utilise their exclusive floating digital hoardings at Juhu Beach to celebrate patriotism and values of nationalism on the occasion of Republic Day.


The entirety of the neighbouring slum, Nehru Nagar, that hasn’t been privileged with home television facilities was invited to view the Republic Day parade happening in Delhi. This parade was broadcasted LIVE after they gathered and sang the national anthem along with other visitors at the beach against the national flag being digitally hoisted on these vessels that they call “Broadcoasters”.


The Mumbai Police who have been actively supporting and promoting helplines and awareness on the topic of domestic violence through this media company also decided to join along in a force of 50.

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