Many passionate Indian cricket followers, who had kept track on TV the World T20 matches, would doubtless be in a mood to ask the captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni a few pertinent questions. Let me, as a person who had once been a sports correspondent and covered international cricket matches, start off with the most important one that begs an immediate answer from the Indian captain: ‘Dhoni, how come you are seen in both Nike and Reebok commercials?’
Or could it be a fact that he actually wears Reebok on one foot and Nike on the other, in which case stepping into Dhoni’s shoes is a lot tougher than many of us have imagined so far.
For what it is worth, I enquired with a friend, who happens to be a veteran in the ad industry, as to how can the same person show up in different advertisements for competing brands. The friend casually shrugged his shoulders as if to convey that it was no big deal, and said: ‘In the Nike ad, what is featured is the Indian cricket team captain who happens to be Dhoni. In the Reebok thing, Dhoni, who happens to be the Indian cricket team captain, is shown.’
It is a very sensible explanation provided you overlook the complete stupidity in it. Which is also, in general, a good policy to follow if you want to enjoy many of the ads that you get to see on the TV these days during the cricket telecasts.
Take for instance the cola ads that have Ranbir Kapoor playing the not-afraid-to-be-irresponsible dude. In other words, he is exactly the sort who will grow up to be a parliamentarian.
Anyway, in one of ads, Ranbir lifts a fully bandaged friend reclined on a slanting bed in a hospital and slams him down on a nearby steely furniture, and then goes on to happily plonk himself on the comfortable bed (meant for the patient) to enjoy cricket on TV and sip from the cola bottle.
The ad team, I am sure, must have wetted their pants in uncontrolled happiness that they had managed to come up with a commercial conveying the message of youthful exuberance. Sorry to be a party-pooper, but guys the only message that the film actually conveyed to me was: Anyone who takes an aerated cola drink so seriously really deserves emergency medical care than any fully-bandaged person.
Another soft drink spot worth noting is the one that features Indian Olympic hero Sushil Kumar. The burly wrestler, who heroically won a silver medal in the London Games, is shown facing a bigger rival here. The gold medallist from the Olympics? No, this one seems to be a veritable legend from the wrestling hall of fame, an opponent of full of talent and spunk: A gargantuan SUV.
Faced with the mighty metal monster, Sushil Kumar, in a deadpan warrior tone, talks of overcoming fear, and voila, the massive SUV suddenly transforms into an agreeable and amenable inflatable rubberised dolly of a vehicle. How did this happen? What magic eventualised this? Yes, it’s the courage that lies in the deep-recesses of human heart that fully understands the ultimate truth: Anything is possible, on a modern hi-tech editing suite, that is.
And then we have the commercials of the mobile service provider featuring the svelte Anushka Sharma. Her brother, upset that his name is missing from the post-paid ‘common bill’ for the entire family, takes up the issue with his parents and her. It is then Anushka, in a grave voice, tells him the truth that any teen-aged youth would be shattered to hear.
Anushka: ‘Bro, your name is not in the common bill for the family because,’ * pauses for dramatic effect and heightens the dramatic tension of the emotional moment* ‘you moron, yours is a pre-paid connection’.
No, actually she pulls his leg that he was found by her mother in a temple and hence is not part of the family. The boy looks distraught and threatens to leave the room, when Anushka puts a reassuring arm around him while the father and the mother break into a hearty guffaw.
Yes, it is a cute, fun ad, provided the product that it was meant to plug was whiskey or rum. Only a family absurdly high on wonderful alcohol could have come up with those lines.
Talking of spirited liquids, what about that ad for Bacardi? It starts off with a few able-bodied men and a few feeble-bodiced women cavorting on a sandy, sunny beach. The scene, however, turns out to be one collectively imagined by a few guys while rummaging through an album of sorts sitting in a noisy bar.
The question is how can four different persons, imagining individually, think of the same visuals? The only logical answer in the circumstance is: They are all part of the common family bill.
Probably that is what Dhoni too imagines Nike and Reebok to be.