Sunday, 19 February 2012



What is with cricketers and ridiculously preposterous, laughably outlandish, badly made advertisements? We know cricketers are among the best ambassadors for brands such as health drinks, cars & bikes, shoes, clothes and fitness products because of their athletic background. But over the past one year, I have been noticing cricketers endorsing some of the most asinine products! From fairness cosmetics, to engine oil, to ball-point pens; products which have absolutely no relation with cricket. What is even more hilarious is the kind of adverts, from the cricketers being outsmarted by kids to dancing like maniacs, these ads seem to get from dumb to dumber.

The basic concept of a brand ambassador is a personality that embodies your brand values and whose face you associate with your product in order to maximize sales. But with the mass hysteria and blind fan-following of cricketers, especially in India, their faces are being used to sell even the most random things. We have seen some really heart-breaking TVCs starring cricketers in the past few years, so I decided o list down the best of the worst.
 Following is a list of the Top 5 WORST cricketer advertisements I have seen.

  1. Fair & Lovely – Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

This takes the cake when it comes to absolutely nonsensical ads. Why would an international cricketer in his right mind say something like ‘par utna hi zaroori hain perform karna jab helmet off ho’; roughly translated ‘it is just as important to perform off the field’ in front of the camera! This ad which released during the World Cup last year prompted many a doubts on Kohli’s orientation and even more jokes on him. (But this writer has solemnly sworn NOT to tease Virat anymore, after his century in the Adelaide Test)
What makes it worse that another Indian youngster has followed Kohli’s footsteps. Fair & Lovely’s has now signed up Rohit Sharma as well. He has even appeared in a face wash commercial along similar lines. Another TVC with Kohli extolling an aspiring cricketer to use Fair & Lovely face wash to perform better on field is now making rounds on air these days.

  1. Pepsi – TM Dilshan

Another World Cup 2011 special. Pepsi has long been associated with cricket and cricketers have starred in Pepsi commercials as far as I can remember. From the Boys in Blue practicing in an African desert and encountering a mountain lion to all of them dancing to the famous ‘Oye bubbly’ jingle. But the 2011 CWC Pepsi campaign titled ‘Change the Game’ was the height. Dhoni learned his trademark helicopter shot from a farmer in Punjab, Sehwag learned the Upar or upper cut from Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, Harbhajan Singh learned the doosra from a college kid, Malinga learned his toe-crusher Slinga from a traffic policeman, Kevin Pietersen learned the switch-hit from a water-melon vendor. But most epic advet was Dilshan learning his ‘dilscoop’ or pallu scoop from an Indian lady! I can never forget Dilshan’s face as he draped himself in, wait for it, a saree!! A French-bearded-ear-studded international cricketer learning to drape a saree from an Indian lady which will supposedly help him play his cricketing shots better! With the annoying ‘hai hai mera pallu’ jingle playing in the background! I am scarred for life!

  1. Birla Sun Life – Yuvraj Singh

 Before I start, I want to make one thing clear, I love Yuvraj Singh. I have been a huge fan of him ever since his debut in the ICC Knockout Trophy in 2000; and have loved right through the NatWest Trophy 2002, T20 Championship 2007 and World Cup 2011. Not just that, in the name of love, I have tolerated some of his worst ads, from Parachute hair gel to Revital. But what ticked me off was the Birla Sun Life commercial after his illness. ‘Jab tak balla chal raha hain tab tak thaat hain, jab balla ruka toh..’ claims a soaked Yuvi apparently trying to drench his sorrow in the pouring rain. When the whole world is sympathizing with you, making you a symbol of resistance to cancer, you do not act in commercials like this! This is a serious illness, not something that advertisers use to make money out of!  While Yuvstrong still has my full support, this ad has left me with a bad taste.

  1. Zandu balm – Sachin Tendulkar & Virender Sehwag

One of the favorite pass times of Indian cricket fans is to discuss the evils of IPL and how it has degraded domestic cricket, morality, family values et al… but another lesser-talked about evil of IPL is the endorsements. In what other scenario would you have a cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar endorsing a brand like Zandu balm! When the makers of the pain-reliever made famous by Mallaika Arora-Khan’s item number in Dabanng signed up with Mumbai Indians as one of the sponsors, they got an entire team of brand ambassadors. Therefore we saw Sachin Tendulkar along with Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh lighting the torch of the mighty Zandu balm! They later signed up with the Delhi Daredevils and had Virender Sehwag & co do the same. Sigh, the evils of IPL…

  1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Wondering why I haven’t mentioned a brand or an ad before our beloved captain’s name? Because Dhoni is associated with so many foolishly ludicrous ads, I couldn’t choose one! In his 6-year long advertising career, Dhoni has endorsed almost every possible absurd product! Here is the list –
                                 i.            Mysore Sandal Soap
                               ii.            Orient PSPO fan
                              iii.            Brylcream
                             iv.            Siyaram
                               v.            Maha choco
                             vi.            Nova Scottia Premium Shirts
                            vii.            Amrapalli
                          viii.            Parle Milk Shakti
                             ix.            Gulf Engine oil
                               x.            Dabur Honey
                             xi.            Cello pens

(Now comes the more conventional)
                            xii.            Pepsi
                          xiii.            Reebok
                          xiv.            Videocon
                           xv.            Big Bazar fashion
                          xvi.            TVS Motors
                        xvii.            Exide
                       xviii.            Reliance
                          xix.            Aircel
                           xx.            Maxx Mobiles
                          xxi.            Boost
                        xxii.            Dainik Bhaskar
                       xxiii.            GE Money
                      xxiv.            Titan Sonata

Now that is what I call an enviable list! Who can forget Dhoni‘s ‘jhatak-matak’ dance with Raina & Kohli in the Pepsi ad where he is outsmarted by a youth after winning the World Cup last year. Or him being outwitted by a kid and a granny in the Milk Shakti ads, or him spelling out ‘air’ as P-S-P-O in the Oreint PSPO ad, or him going and styling everybody’s hair  in Ranchi or the ad where he erects a Raavan effigy on the behest of his wife, or when.. Forget it, I can go on and on and on!
My point is that the Indian captain could safely be crowned ‘The Worst Ad King’

1)      KFC – Muttiah Muralitharan
2)      Matrix sim card – Kolkata Kinghtriders team
3)      Royal Stag – Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh
4)      Mayur Fabrics – Virender Sehwag
5)      Cello pens – Suresh Raina, R.P. Singh


  1. I will mention some best ones- WC 2003 had some real good ads, with the Pepsi Tendulkar-Warne-Hooper ad and the LG AC Ad with different captains setting their fav ground's temperature. Also mid nineties saw a ripper, awe inspiring ad which included the entire team, cant remember the brand. SRK Tendulkar ad was nice as well. Those were the days...

  2. Thats a fairly well documented piece. Agree with the ridiculous choice of brands endorsed by celebs especially cricketers. Stars should exercise discretion while choosing brands to endorse. Why is it that the brand tries to borrow attributes from the celeb. Why doesn't the celeb want to endorse brands which add to his persona? That might be true in case of luxury brands but can be implemented in case of regular brands as well. Not a very good but decent example is Kareena Kapoor. 'Most' of the brands in her repertoire add to her image as well. Lakme, Sony VAIO etc.

    Coming back to cricketers, while I am writing this the Virat Kohli - F&L ad just came up. Hate it! The advt is a disappointing bore which tests your threshold of pain as it hobbles along indulgently for close to a minute. Thats 40 seconds of your life you are never going to get back.