New Delhi: Kabbadi, a rustic Indian sport which found a new lease of life because of Pro Kabbadi League, is back again with the sixth edition of the tournament. Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the league, has launched a new campaign with a new tagline ‘Bachpan ka khel hai, baccho ka nai’ (loosely translated as kabaddi has been played as a childhood sport; however, it is no child’s play).

Made by advertising agency BBH India, the campaign features players from across teams including Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates), Anup Kumar (Jaipur Pink Panthers), Monu Goyat (Haryana Steelers) and Rishank Devadiga (UP Yoddha) practicing the sport and preparing for the game. The new campaign builds on the ongoing Le Panga advertising narrative introduced in season 2 of the league with the aim of giving Kabaddi its own unique identity.

“In India, Kabaddi is a part of our collective childhood, a local sport we played as kids in every nook and corner, schools, playgrounds, among others. However, the sport not only requires physical prowess, but also immense mental fortitude and skill. The new tagline for the season emulates the seriousness of the sport, the sheer dedication, skill, physical and mental grind that our kabaddi heroes have to go through," said a Star Sports spokesperson.

The integrated campaign will be promoted across television, print, outdoor, social media and digital platforms.

Talking about the campaign Ayan Banik, head of brand strategy at advertising agency Cheil Worldwide India thinks that a montage execution with a gritty narrative is no longer new in the sports arena from Nike, Adidas to Under Armour, viewers are exposed to similar execution.

“I recall a recent campaign by body building supplement brand Muscle Blaze which has far more impactful narrative on the passion of sports and fitness," he said.

Banik feels that the bigger issue with the campaign is the timing as it comes after a dismal performance of Indian Kabbadi team in recently concluded Asian Games.

“Given the negative public sentiment towards the kabbadi team the Pro Kabbadi campaign should have been more subdued without projecting the marquee players like Monu Goyat as super heroes. My sense is it might backfire," he noted.

Pro Kabaddi League teams Telugu Titans and Tamil Thalaivas will clash in the opening game of the sixth season which begins in Chennai on 5 October. There are a total of 12 participating teams in this season. It is for the first time record biddings were made with six players fetching over 1 crore including Monu Goyat who became the highest-paid player bought by Haryana Steelers for .51 crore.

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