It’s not cricket

Reviewer: Prathap Suthan

With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Prathap Suthan, chief creative officer and managing partner at Bang In The Middle, is known for his work on campaigns such as India Shining, Incredible India, and Samsung Mobiles’ Next Is What.


The new campaign for the Indian Premier League (IPL) by Havas Worldwide consists of a series of ad films which show that no matter how pressing the situation or conversation—be it a son talking to his mother on her deathbed or a politician announcing a hunger strike—when you hear the the familiar IPL horn, you drop everything you’re doing and rush to watch the IPL action. The tag line: Come on, bulaava aaya hai (Come on, the IPL is calling).

What did you think of the campaign?

I am utterly shocked. I am not from the right audience, but trust me when I say this—they have killed the idea of IPL for me for good. I also suspect I am not alone in the slaughterhouse. Well, the films are at best average. The idea and execution—damaging to the senses and the brand IPL. I always thought IPL was top entertainment—with the rich and the famous thrown in. But this advertising is jarring. It’s no longer the gentleman’s game.

How does this campaign compare with their previous ‘Dil Jumping Jhapak’ campaign?

I thought last year’s campaign was dumbing it down to the last denominator. This one takes it further below. Personally, you don’t need advertising to sell IPL either to brands or fans. Yes, it made my maid laugh and my driver went ballistic. I am so glad I am not part of the acutely defined target audience. Call me elitist, call me spoilt, but the ads make me cringe. What it has also done is that it has rubbished and garbaged the classic audio signature of IPL—that wake-up horn. If I were a sensitive advertiser in charge of an aspirational brand, there would be quick repercussions. I wouldn’t want to be associated with an event that spends money to build crass brand DNA. I am afraid this campaign fuels the nosedive of a brand into its nadir, with enough and more controversy in real life.

What to your mind is the best campaign for a sport or tournament?

There have been many across the world. The ones that stand out for me are the old France Telecom ad, the Neo TV Indo-Pak ads, Nike’s Tag and Write the Future.