Of ‘Olampic’ stars and advertising heroes

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Though I am not a huge fan of athletics, the news of Abhinav Bindra’s victory at Beijing was truly elating. Not surprisingly, websites and channels are tripping over each other on the story. Abhinav Bindra’s blog has a post about his thoughts on the Opening Ceremony and it has over 1000 comments, mainly wishes and congratulatory messages. Nice. It is also heartening to see a non-cricketer getting the adulation and endorsements. At another level it is a telling statement about the state of affairs in Indian Sports – that India’s first solo gold should come after eons of participation. I hope this inspires a million more Bindra’s.

As one official put it, this is bigger than India’s T20 World Cup Win. Maybe so, given that cricket is played among a handful of nations but brands & advertisers seek familiar names & faces. Even if the face is that of Ishant Sharma’s. I remember the likes of Ashish Nehra being featured in ads soon after some initial success. I guess Ishant’s recent success in Australia and his hair has prompted Superia to use him in this ad. Warning: the ad contains all possible cliche’s of hair advertising: problem, graphic depiction through CG, solution, mandatory of shaking of head to showcase hair and moment of glory. Interesting to see all this the day after 11 collective Indian noses were rubbed into the ground in Sri Lanka.

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Talking of sports & brands, here is a scathing article on the influence of big business in Beijing Olympics. The brands that sponsor Olympics will naturally capitalize on the investments. Others for whom China is an important market would also seek a positive ruboff from the event. GE, Adidas, Coke and several others have released Beijing Olympics-related advertising. My favourite: the ad featuring American sprinter Tyson Gay, which says: Gold can be lost in a flash. Lost in the blink of an eye. Lost before the start of a race. Lost months before you step on a track. Gold is never a given.

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  1. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    India has been clamouring for a hero for ages. Who was our last real hero? Definetely not Ishant Sharma! (That would make the English pray to KP!!!) The higher we lift our heroes the harder they seem to fall! (The fab four are now the drab four!). And just to put things in perspective Micheal Phelps has just won his third gold this morning! And is in line to win 7 before the end of these Olympics! Seven golds! How long that would take us?

    Well done Abhinav! (for giving us a hero, atleast for one day!)

  2. It is very true that its a historic moment for all of us. As someone has commented in one of the discussions, that Abhinav is a double winner. First he beat the system and then his competitors. Its good to be but not so true because Abhinav shelled out a lot of money from his own pockets. He was getting trained by a private coach, that too abroad for so many years. I am not able to pin point to what extent did Indian Sports Authority helped him being up there!
    And regarding the adidas ad featured, it has been consistent in its brand building startegy like Apple. It is not so surprising to see a fantastic ad like that by TBWA.

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