Think MAX and what comes to mind is Mandira Bedi, Charu Sharma, Kapil Dev, and yes, Extraaa Innings. & #BANNER1 & # The show on the events and movies channel catapulted Mandira and Charu to superstardom and Kapil Dev, of course, has been MAX's brand ambassador for the last two years.
One more individual has come to occupy the same space. Samir Khan. Yes, he is the boy wonder, who challenged Kapil Dev in the popular 'Gully Cricket' and 'Do Deewane' commercials for MAX. Samir has been visible in a number of allied campaigns for the channel this year.
Be it the MAX brand campaign unleashed around March-April or the Extraa Innings music video in September, where he bowls out his arch-rival Kapil or the on-going Main Hoon Don off-air campaign, the "MAX boy" is all over the place.
He is the same boy who upstaged India's cricket captain Saurav Ganguly in Pepsi's Toss ka Boss commercial.
Tushar Shah, vice-president, marketing and commercial, MAX, indicates that Khan is one of the many faces of the channel. "He is not the official brand ambassador. However, we believe in using faces that work with us and work for us. We chanced upon this boy in 2002 when we did the 'Gully Cricket' commercial with Kapil and the use of Samir has been consistent since then."
The basic idea of using Samir, says Shah, is to plug in the boy's growth process and present it as a kind of a metaphor for the channel. "Samir was eleven, when we first worked with him. Today he is thirteen. In between, there has been a transition or rather a progression in the boy's life, which our campaigns have attempted to capture."
In the 'Gully Cricket' commercial, for instance, Samir is the boy-next-door, who challenges Kapil with a simple - "dekh loonga". In the sequel 'Do Deewane' in 2004, Samir is a film star, who turns his back on a charged-up, ready-to-go Kapil. "Well, we have used him pretty intelligently for both movies and cricket," says Shah.
In the on-going Main Hoon Don campaign for the Amitabh Bachchan film festival at 5.00 pm, Samir captures ever-green Bachchan moments from movies Agneepath, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Don. One liners - actually Amitabh dialogues that have been tweaked with slightly - accompanying the visual, communicate the message effectively.
"We wanted to be different with the campaign," says Shah. And using Samir as a guy who is crazy about Amitabh came naturally to us."
The channel, incidentally, has no plans to create exclusive campaigns around the boy. What it does intend to do, though, is to use the boy wherever there is a natural fit. "The market has responded well to Samir and we wouldn't want the novelty to wear off," says Shah.
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