Reviewer: Roopak Saluja

Unimpressed: Roopak Saluja.


The new ad for Matrix forex debit cards by Equus/Red Cell features actor Shah Rukh Khan, and cricketers from Kolkata Knight Riders—Yusuf Pathan, Brett Lee and Jacques Kallis. The campaign essentially shows them being questioned by the authorities for the “death of cash". It highlights the fact that the Matrix forex debit card is a more convenient option than carrying cash.

What did you think of the campaign?

At a conceptual level, it’s a decently amusing idea: Matrix Forex Card users kill cash. Can’t say the same about the execution. It’s a terribly cheesy pastiche of Mission Impossible-meets-The Usual Suspects-meets-Don-meets something else type of hodgepodge that is a series of economy framed shots with mostly clichéd or flat performances (even SRK was just okay). Can I leave it at that? To be fair to whoever is behind the ad, it’s highly likely there were a number of constraints they had to work within—from juggling SRK and player schedules (I don’t think they were at the same place at the same time) to trying to work in a restrictive budget.

Does it help the brand cut through the clutter?

Lacklustre: The ad is a series of clichéd shots and flat performances.

What should one keep in mind when picking a cricketer to endorse a brand?

Acting prowess is a significant plus, almost mandatory today. Sachin (Tendulkar) is just about managing to cut it after 22 years of practice,?but the learning curve seems to be a lot steeper today. My money’s on Virat Kohli.?The boy is cool, good-looking and has enough attitude on camera and on field to match his sporting performance. Two years on, he’ll have the biggest endorsement kitty in Indian sport.

Which is your favourite ad featuring sportspersons?

The lifetime achievement award goes to Nike…and there’s no second prize. Within the Nike universe, it’s a toss-up between Airport ’98 and last year’s Write the Future. The former features the Brazilian soccer team messing around with the ball while waiting at an airport. With Mas Que Nada as the background track, (Eric) Cantona’s cameo and (the original) Ronaldo’s missed goal ending, it’s a brilliantly crafted spot that inspired several clones around the world for years to come. The latter is simply a cinematic masterpiece by (Alejandro González) Iñárritu. The less said the better. YouTube it!

As told to Gouri Shah.