At a recently held event, former cricketer Rahul Dravid spoke about his advertising career. Highlights of the conversation...
Former Indian cricket team captain recognised as "The Wall of India", Rahul Dravid attended the recently-held Star Re-Imagine awards. 'Star Re-Imagine' is a Star India initiative where the broadcast giant rewards creative excellence displayed on air during the IPL. One of the priciest wickets for bowlers in the cricket field, Dravid was "Mr Dependable" for brands he was endorsing too.
The former skipper was interviewed by sports commentator Jatin Sapru with the whos-who of the ad-world in the audience. The candid chat started by discussing Dravid's cricketing journey and gradually moved to his experiences in front of the camera, television commercials. Dravid's recollection of his first experience had the audience laughing out loud. He said, "When you are told a cricket match will start at 9 in the morning it actually starts at 9.00 am sharp. I thought that is how the world functions. I was told that I need to be on set for a shoot at 10.00 am; as I had no prior experience shooting for ads. I reached at 10.00 am sharp. I learned a big lesson that day as I ended up receiving more than half the crew."
Recollecting memories from his early days, he stated that an ad for cola-giant Pepsi was one of his first. That was Pepsi's Generation Next campaign where rising star then, Dravid was seen knocking a roped ball to attain perfection. Two girls on the sidelines were discussing how the young cricketer could change as he achieved fame. Dravid had to wear a wig and earrings to dress up for various situations. "It was special as it was probably the first one I ever did," he said, adding, "But, we were shooting in Chennai and it was so humid that I ended throwing up on the sets."
Over the years, much like his cricketing career, Dravid kept scoring consistently off the field too. What started with Pepsi in 1997 (Dravid made his cricket debut for India in 1996 at Lords, England) continued with brands like Reebok, Castrol, Citizen watches, Max New York Life Insurance, Bank of Baroda, Gillette, Britannia and many more. But the one he considers to be very close to his heart is the film he shot for Unilever brand Kissan which manufactures jams and preserves. "My father (Sharad Dravid) worked for Kissan for more than 30-years and that is the reason why this ad will always stay very close to my heart," he explained.
Incidentally, it was the ad that popularised Dravid's nickname among his friends and family. "After this ad, Javagal Srinath started calling me Jammy and other teammates picked it up," concluded Dravid.