Cricket ko Hindi mein kya kehte hain? Most of us would fumble while answering this question, but not former Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh. Almost three weeks after announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket, the left-handed batsman is seen answering this question in a promo for the Indian adaptation of popular international series - The Office - released on Hotstar.
In the film titled - 'Yuvi Retires. Chaddha Hires.' - Yuvraj is seen giving an interview with Mukul Chadda's character - Jagdeep Chaddha, who plays the central role of the comic branch manager of a paper company - Wilkins Chawla. As astonished as Chaddha is to be interviewing Yuvi for a sales job, his admiration for the sports star is clearly visible. Hilariously enough, during the interview, he tricks Yuvi into scribbling his autograph onto various 'surfaces', cleverly framing it as a "signature test". He also tests his ball skills and checks on his previous sales experience.
Answering the interviewers question about his prior sales experience, Yuvraj justifies, lists the variety of products that he has "sold" as a celebrity endorser from - Birla Sun Life Insurance, Hero Honda, Fuse, Whirlpool, Nippo, Puma, Oppo, Reebok, Revital etc.
Sharing his post-cricket retirement plan with Chaddha, Yuvraj refers to his 20 years of experience, saying, "Maine pichle bees saal me sab kuch dekh liya hai. Jab tak balla chal raha hai, chal raha hai..." It takes us back to his popular statement from Birla Sun Life Insurance's ad - Jab tak balla chal raha hai, thaat hai.
The mockumentary show chronicles the 9-5 lives of the employees of the company as they navigate through their daily routines that invariably gives rise to comical situations. Built along the same lines, the promo featuring Yuvraj was released on Saturday.
This, however, is not the first time one would see the acting skills of this cancer-survivor cricketer. He has done two short roles as a child actor in Mehndi Sagna Di and Putt Sardara, both of which released in 1992.
Salil Ankola (Kurukshetra, Pitaah, Chura Liya Hai Tumne), Vinod Kambli (Annarth), Sunil Gavaskar (Savli Premachi, Maalamal, Angad Bedi (Faltu), Ajay Jadeja (Khel), Kapil Dev (Stumped, Iqbal, Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii) are a few of the other names from the Indian cricket industry who tried their luck at acting.
Unlike an expected piece-to-camera by the endorser, the OTT streaming service has, by casting and graphing the celebrity's career in the communication, set a fine example of content created to promote content.
Discussing the same, Darshana Bhalla, founder and CEO, DoiT Talent Ventures, says, "Today, one needs to weave a story around the communication. If the story is compelling for the audience and is interesting to consume, it is prudent to use it. If a brand decides to anchor on such a story and can draw relevance to it, it is a welcome move."
She opines that the fundamental change in today's celebrity endorsement game is that marketers are more cognizant of all aspects of communication while engaging with the celebrity, as against just seeking a communication breakthrough. She adds, "When the idea of endorsement was coined, it was largely limited to getting a communication breakthrough and drawing perceptions. Now, the relevance has come into context. It has evolved for the better."
Manish Porwal, MD, Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions is of a similar opinion. He states, "With the media starting to split up, giving birth to smaller entertainment formats, star engagement has enhanced. OTT platforms are evolving and so is the use of celebrities. Brands want to keep it natural and the curiosity alive."
He adds, "Once you become a celebrity, it is up to you how to prolong your career. Earlier, if a cricketer retired, he would have only been remembered for the centuries he scored. Now, you have the chance to explore other fields."
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