Cricket commercials are nothing new. For a nation that is obsessed with cricket and puts its stars on a pedestal, the Indian television screen is almost always teeming with adverts featuring a host of Indian cricket stars.
However, cricket advertisements today are high on gloss and style and low on simplicity and the fun-quotient. Everything appears to be snazzy, in your face and over the top. The early 90s, with all the great TV serials it came out with, also produced some fine ads based on cricket. Though they may seem very simple and plain today, they had plenty of charm and appealed to the sentiments of the Indian audiences back then.
Boost Ad featuring Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar:
There can be countless versions of this ad, but the one featuring Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar will always remain the most popular one. But what was so special about it? Nothing really. It was a simple advert. Except that it featured India’s two most prominent cricket superstars then. Kapil was already a legend and Sachin was this young batting sensation who had become the darling of the nation.
The ad begins with a young Sachin alongside Kapil doing the drills inside a stadium. After sweating it out for a bit, Sachin, holding a steaming mug of Boost (a chocolate drink), remarks: “Boost is the secret of my energy.” Kapil then joins him, placing a firm hand on Sachin’s shoulder and exclaiming “Our energy” with a toothy grin. The ad had simple yet peppy music and a feel good vibes. The “Boost is the secret of my energy” catchphrase had already been made famous by Kapil in the early 80s. Having the young sensation Sachin say that alongside Kapil had a doubly delightful effect. The ad became very famous and connected instantly with all cricket lovers across the country.
Palmolive Ad featuring Kapil Dev:
This cricket ad probably aired sometime in the late 80s. In those days, when there were only a limited amount of options for shaving creams, Kapil made the sales of Palmolive soar with his celebrated one line : ‘Palmolive da jawab nahi’. That catchphrase was an instant hit and was oft-repeated among the youth of the day. Primarily because Kapil Dev was a national superstar back then.
The commercial begins with Kapil, his face unshaven, in the bathroom looking for a shaving cream. He finds a tube of the Palmolive shave cream and relishes shaving with it. The ad ends with a dapper-looking Kapil signing an autograph for a female fan and then looking at the camera to utter that famous line. While a lot of the cricket ads today go for suave and muscular men, what worked for this ad was Kapil’s raw and rustic charm which connected with the Indian middle-class.
Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli and Md. Azharuddin in Pepsi commercial:
Back in the mid-90s, Sachin Tendulkar and Vindo Kambli embodied friendship and were perhaps the most popular duo for a phase. Pepsi, the cold drink brand, used it well for their advertisement. The ad opened with the two friends playing cricket and having friendly banter on a cricket field. By the end, the exhausted duo progresses to the dressing room to have a Pepsi to quench their thirst. However, they find, to their dismay, that there is only one bottle left. The two then resort to other means to settle who shall win the prize. As they arm-wrestle, the then captain Mohammad Azharuddin walks in nonchalantly and chugs down the Pepsi before adding to them cheekily, “Chillax boys, have a Pepsi.” Sachin and Kambli are then left bemused and distraught.
The ad had terrific fun-quotient and energy and the great camaraderie between the lead protagonists oozed charm and connected with the Indian audience.
Cadbury’s cricket ad:
While this cricket ad does not feature any professional cricketer, its theme was based on cricket. More importantly, though, the lovable way in which it used the sport delighted every cricket fan. The commercial opens with a cricket match in progress where a batsman, batting on 99, smashed the ball towards the boundary. As the fielder gets under it, the batsman’s girlfriend, who is in the crowd, prays silently for the ball to be dropped while munching a Dairy Milk chocolate bar. Thankfully, her prayers are answered as the ball goes for a six and the batsman reaches his century.
The girl jumps in elation and leaps over the boundary ropes, passes the security, and goes into an impromptu and carefree jiggle; much to the shy embarrassment of his boyfriend. The background song – “Kuch Khaas Hai Zindagi Mein’– featured in it, was soothing and uplifting and is still remembered fondly by those who grew up in the 90s. The simplicity, warmth and tenderness of the song still resonate when you watch it.
Sachin Tendulkar in Band-Aid Commercial:
Many of you might not know this, but this was Sachin’s first appearance in a small-screen advertisement. The ad opens with Sachin being invited to play a cricket match with a bunch of kids in the streets. As he hits a lofted shot, a kid gets injured while attempting to catch the ball. Sachin then offers the little kid a band-aid from his kit bag. The punch line that followed: “Band-aid means first-aid”. This was probably shot in 1989-90 and Sachin looks like a cute teenager who was clearly camera-shy and awkward. While Sachin hardly spoke a line in the commercial, the simplicity of it all made it worth watching and still brings a smile one the viewer’s face.
Which was your favourite vintage cricket ad from the 90s? Comment below.