Why Star Sports Indo-Pak Mauka Mauka ad is attracting criticism online

  • The ad garnered over 1.7 million YouTube views in just a day after its release on 9 June
  • It is currently trending at number three spot on YouTube

New Delhi: Star Sports’ Mauka Mauka ad, launched during the 2015 ICC World Cup to promote the India vs. Pakistan match, has made a comeback this year, albeit with a Father's Day twist. India will play Pakistan on 16 June, which happens to be International Father's Day.

Made by advertising agency Ogilvy India, the 40-second television spot is an extension of the previous ‘Patake kab phodenge’ campaign, which featured a dejected Pakistani fan and his son who could never burst the firecrackers as Pakistan always lost to India. The new ad features the grown up son being wished by a Bangladeshi fan for the upcoming Indo-Pak game. As the Pakistani fan remembers his father's words on how one must keep trying and should never give up, the more boisterous Indian fan interjects with a one liner 'maine aisa kab kaha' (I never said this), implying that India is actually the ‘father’ out of which both the countries — Pakistan and Bangladesh — have been carved out.

The cheeky humour in the campaign has resonated with fans online with the ad garnering over 1.7 million YouTube views in just a day after it was released on 9 June. It is currently trending at number two spot on YouTube. However, while a section of fans love the Father’s Day twist to the ad, many users on social media platforms have also openly expressed their displeasure over its tone which goes against the spirit of the game.

While an email sent to Star Sports remain unanswered on the online criticism the ad is receiving, advertising experts believe that while the previous series of Mauka Mauka ads focussed on clever humour and cricket prowess of India, the new ad harps on nationalist jingoism, lending a negative connotation to the campaign.

According to Naresh Gupta, strategy head and managing partner at advertising agency Bang in the Middle, the World Cup is a serious affair and needs to be treated as such. “The new spot on the India-Pakistan ad is really cringeworthy," he said. “The Mauka reprise, the addition of a fan from Bangladesh, adding the Father's Day angle and signing off with a winking emoji are all graceless. This spot is not really celebrating the team, or its efforts, it is just jingoism that could have been easily avoided."According to social media expert and independent communications consultant Karthik Srinivasan, the new Star Sports new ad lacks grace. He cites the example of a recent Ford Endeavour ad featuring two beefy looking men from Gurugram deciding to not chase a vehicle that overtakes them and handle the incident maturely.

“Such an ad makes you look like a better and bigger brand. The Star Sports ad, however, rides on the predominant jingoistic sentiment prevalent in the country," he noted, adding “If the Mauka Mauka ad was a social media meme on a digital platform it would have been just a passing thing, but this is made by a reputed broadcaster and a big agency, which makes it even more crass. You don’t have to make fun of two countries which have split from you. The worst thing would be if India loses. This ad would backfire completely."

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