Ogilvy recycles old Bollywood chartbuster in Star's IPL campaign

By Sunit Roy , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 20, 2018
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The agency creates a theme song for the cricketing warriors of VIVO IPL 11.

It's more than likely that every Indian has heard that old Bollywood chartbuster - 'Yeh desh hai veer jawanon ka...' - especially since it is played about a zillion times during Independence or Republic Day celebrations. And the chances are that anyone who has attended a north-Indian wedding, especially the baraat procession, they have most certainly found their feet tapping to the music of this song from the movie Naya Daur, starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala.

Now, inspired by the reverberating tune, Sonal Dabral - group chief creative officer and vice chairman, Ogilvy India - has penned an anthem for the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 that is set to begin from April 7. Star Sports is the official broadcaster of the 11th edition of the annual cricket tournament.

Titled 'Is khel ka yaaron kya kehna', the anthem is being released in five languages simultaneously - Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, and Telugu across various platforms which include TV, radio and digital. Star India, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Ogilvy and Mather (O&M) have collaborated with a team comprising South African film-maker Dan Mace, music director Raajeev V Bhalla and vocalist Siddharth Basrur, who sung the anthem in five different languages.


As with previous years, Ogilvy and Mather has conceptualised and created the anthem, released as part of the #BestvsBest campaign which was launched recently. It focuses on the VIVO IPL as the embodiment of the best of cricketing action with the best of global talent showcasing their prowess as match winners.

Sanjay Gupta Sanjay Gupta

Piyush Pandey Piyush Pandey

Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India, says, "The very essence of VIVO IPL is a thrilling, action-packed celebration of cricket where the best of talent take each other on in one of the most gruelling cricket tournaments in the world. It is a fantastic celebration of both the game and its millions of fans across the world. The 'Best vs Best' campaign endeavours to showcase the pinnacle of cricket that this tournament is associated with."

But in these times, creating a brand film or anthem for any tournament, based on a patriotic song, could turn out to be a risky affair as there is a danger that the so-called nationalist groups will take offence. Also, with the IPL, along with Indian cricketers, many foreign players play for various teams. We asked Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy and Mather, India and South Asia, why he chose to recreate a track based on this song.

"By saying 'Yeh khel hai veer jawaano ka' we mean that the IPL is the biggest league compared to any other sporting event in the world. A lot of tournaments keep happening all around the globe and one can easily figure out the top three/ four teams in every contest. But in the IPL, no one can guess which team will lift the trophy as it is a very balanced tournament. For instance, the Deccan Chargers, after finishing last in the first season of the IPL, became the champions in the second edition of the tournament. Hence, it's true that the tournament is actually the 'Best vs Best'," says Pandey.


He adds, "Most people love IPL and they have loved this campaign because of the energy and enthusiasm that one gets from it. The song is based on the spirit of today's India. But before the idea was finalised, it was debated whether we should create an anthem around this song."

In the second phase of the campaign, Star India has released an ad film titled 'Sher vs Sher'. The film portrays a young child posing a question to all those around him - 'who would win when two tigers take each other on?' When his question goes unanswered by the crowd, his father takes him to watch an IPL match with the conclusion that when a tiger takes on another, it's the 'Tiger' that's always the winner.

The iterations of the TVC are a portrayal of how this simple question echoes across the nation - in Bundelkhandi: 'Kaun Jeetego?', shot in Chambal and Tamil: 'Yāru Jeyippāṅga?', shot in Madurai. The Tamil version of the TVC will also be translated into Malayalam: 'Aaru Jayikkum?', Kannada: 'Yaaru Gelluttaare?' and Telugu: 'Evaru Gelustharu?'.

Well Played?

We asked the experts if the new campaign will succeed in creating enough buzz and if it is better than the previous campaigns released during the past years.

KV Sridhar KV Sridhar

Bikram Bindra Bikram Bindra

KV Sridhar, founder of HyperCollective, a consultancy (strategy, technology, data, creative), tells afaqs!, "The best campaign films that come to mind are the carnival campaigns - 'India ka Tyohaar'. However, 'Das saal aapke naam' was a terrible piece of work and most people have forgotten it. So, talking about the campaigns films, released in the previous years, I must say that the work has been inconsistent. This year too, out of all the films which have been released, I liked 'Kaun Jeetego?' It's a very interesting piece and makes a point."

He adds, "Compared to any other sport in India, cricket is not a just a sport, it is, rather, family entertainment, especially IPL. Hence, the second film seems more appropriate because we will have three Indian captains - MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma - fighting against each other just like one tiger against another tiger. Also, with the advent of Jio, more viewers will be added and the penetration is going to be much higher this year."

According to Bikram Bindra, vice-president and strategic planning head, Grey Group Delhi, "The new campaign has a kind of jingoistic fervour that one has come to associate with IPL advertising - something that brings the nation together and is a perfect platform to showcase our incredible diversity. The campaign does have an interesting hook around the best vs the best, but it's too soon to talk about the buzz it has created."

Bindra further adds, "I think in today's hypersensitive environment, a creative multiplier that is attached to a specific community or class in the country does risk undue attention and trouble, but the song used by the campaign is a unifying national theme and appeals to the larger sensibilities of being a proud Indian and so, it should hit the mark."

A look at some of the previous IPL campaigns:

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