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Sunday, March 11, 2007

India will win the world cup?!

A question that probably the entire nation will debate in the next month and half or whenever the Indian cricket team's chances are incinerated in the field.

I think India will win the world cup.

I have not followed cricket in the past many years now. But, I have been following the advertising and commercial world. There has been a lull in the number of cricket players appearing for advertisements. All the big guns of Indian team who a few years back were commanding larger contracts seem to be carrying on earlier ones and not signing any large new ones. Perhaps the Indian cricket team's performance has made them less popular with the followers and the advertisers have realized the futility of having them as brand ambassdors, ministers, models, etc.

But where else can they mobilize so many names at one go? The world of advertising and commerce have a potential 16 faces that can be recognized across a market of a billion people and can launch a million products. A country that speaks a hundred languages and wears a dozen different attire in its daily life, cricket players, the 'men in blue' (as successfully planted in our minds by the soft drink major) are the most acceptable common mascot for any products. Sachin can sell shaving cream in rural Andhra and Kumble can sell tyres in Himachal and Dhoni can sell hair oil (and colour, and an entire industry of hair dressers who can create the 'Dhoni shtyle') all over the countryside.

It must be desperate for the advertisers to have such fantastic possible models and only use them for small time work. It should be possible that these men will command more loyalty and following in the growing consumer market of predominantly young people. Which means they can SELL. And it makes sense to ensure that they are seen as 'hero's. And cricket being played as it is today, what more do you need than a big time commercial back-up to ensure that a given team wins?

India will win for the sole purpose of promoting adequate consumer goods. If it doesn't make it, it is a failure of the corporate India.

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