Committed only to cricket

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 16, 2009
The latest Neo Cricket TVC heralds the next cricket season

A passion followed religiously by the country doesn't need to try too hard to garner attention. However, breaking the clutter is a burden that all channels airing cricket have to carry.

Neo Cricket is in the first phase of its campaign called Dekh Lega India. The campaign is a prelude to the six months of non-stop cricketing action starting October 2009. The first phase of the campaign started early in August, with print ads that ran in most dailies (national and regional), including The Times of India, The Economic Times, Tamil dailies, Telugu dailies and Hindi dailies.

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Dekh Lega India is the tagline that the creative agency, McCann Erickson, came up with for this season of the game. Niranjan Kaushik, creative director, McCann Erickson and his partner, Akshay Kapnadak, worked on the campaign. The tagline, Kaushik says, is a fan's perspective of the game.

The TV commercial opens on a shot of a college classroom set in the late 80's. A young man is staring at the class beauty, but turns his gaze when she looks towards him. Similar instances are shown to establish that the young man is clearly besotted by her.

Finally, when she approaches him and extends her friendship, he gives her a look of total disregard and walks away. The beauty is shocked and takes a look at the newspaper that he was reading when she walked up to him. The paper carries an announcement about six months of cricketing action on Neo Cricket.

The ad-film has been shot by Sanjay Shetty of Opticus Films. The soundtrack is an original composition and has been provided by Rupert Fernandes.

Abhishek Verma, head, marketing and communication, Neo Cricket says that the task was to tell everyone that six months of cricket action was coming up. McCann Erickson went ahead and added that since there was non-stop cricket in store, one had better not commit to anything else for the next six months.

As the premise on which Neo Cricket makes a statement is generic - that the nation is obsessed with cricket - it is also difficult to come up with a different stance each time. Hence, Verma made it clear to the agency that it wasn't imperative to bombard the ad with cricket imagery.

On the conception of the idea, Kaushik says that almost everyone in the team had an anecdote to share as everyone in the cricket crazy country had missed something important just to watch a few overs of the game.

The obvious take was that since there were enough distractions to the game, one should avoid getting into any commitments until the cricket season was over.

As is the custom, afaqs! spoke to a few people from the industry to know whether the ad hit a home run.

Ram Krishna Gopi Yadav, creative director, Lowe Lintas is happy with the execution and the surprise at the end. However, he feels that the idea isn't fresh. "The ad is nice, the music gels well and the execution is good," says Yadav. "Also, the intrigue is maintained to finally reveal that it's an ad about a sports channel," he adds.

Rajeev Raja, creative head, DDB Mudra likes the twist in the tale. "The build up," he says, "is done well and with the right degree of exaggeration." Raja is appreciative of the over the top nature of the ad, built around the strong insight that men will willingly do anything for cricket.

Phase two of the campaign will have a theme song written by Prasoon Joshi and sung by Kailash Kher. Also, a few TVCs with brand ambassador Harbhajan Singh will be a part of this phase.