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The ad has an interesting take on the game
The ad has an interesting take on the game

Spot Light | Indian Badminton League

The ad is well made, engaging and U-rated

Shuttle diplomacy

Reviewer:Prathap Suthan

Prathap Suthan is the chief creative officer and managing partner of Bang In The Middle, an independent advertising agency. With two decades of experience in the ad industry, Suthan is best known for his work on the India Shining campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2004 general election.


The ad for the Indian Badminton League (IBL) by McCann WorldGroup shows people arguing and fighting in different circumstances. In each case, a net suddenly appears between them and someone hands them a badminton racket to remind them of the good times on the court. Tag line: Net lagao, pyaar badhao.

What did you think of the ad?

There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s well made, engaging and U-rated. It’s also an interesting take on the game—how differences in life can be settled through badminton. The scale is lovely and the contexts are popular. Just one question: Was badminton the only specific game that could have solved these fights? No, a game of volleyball, tennis, football, chess, or even kabbadi could have worked equally well.

Will it help them grab attention in a cricket-crazy nation?

Of course not, it will create some noise, temporary spike and then, poof. But instead of worrying about it, let’s happily go with the truth of India. Nothing can quite beat the cricket monster. Zilch points fighting that fight.

The outdoor hoardings for the campaign clearly make references to cricket. Does it work?

Certainly not, the game of badminton is in a different league. It has its own gloss and appeal. Besides, it has its followers and players across the country—in almost every residential society. I understand the strategy to push family audiences into watching IBL versus cricket. But just what does Saina Nehwal wearing pads provoke the average middle-class person to think? Or that cricketers are now prettier? Or that “oh, just when did Saina start playing cricket?" To those who recognize Saina, did you really need to make her look so apologetic? She is among the world’s best. I think you are doing zero favour to our badminton stars.

What should they keep in mind while advertising a sport that has a small viewership in India?

Let’s admit it: Badminton will never be as popular as cricket. It will never have big bucks backing it. It’s not a group or mass game. Badminton has its own charm and magic. How I wish they had built a campaign on the strengths and craft of the game. We missed a massive trick. I hope I am wrong.

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