A billion people watching MS Dhoni and boys perform, is just normal, but it will be certainly a big news if even half a billion of Indians would be glued to their TV sets when Sardar Singh and his boys take over the competition Fintro Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 scheduled between 20 June and 5 July in Belgium . Yes, I am talking about the Indian Hockey and Indian Hockey Team.
Star Sports, which will be broadcasting the event in the Indian subcontinent has rolled out a campaign titled #DeshKeLiye, urging Indians to support the national game.
The film, which has been created in-house by Star Sports, highlights the recent resurgence of the Indian hockey team along with the lack of interest shown towards the sport by media.
The ad shows members of the Indian hockey team with their coach Paul Van Ass at a press conference before leaving for Belgium. And each of them is highlighting the lack of interest Indians have towards their national game—this despite the fact that the Indian Hockey team has revived their performance in the last 18 months. Not only they have defeated top five global teams on their home turf, but have even qualified for the Olympics.
So, what prompted Star Sports to come up with this ad? It's a no-brainer. Star Sports has the broadcasting rights for the upcoming Fintro Hockey World League, and thus, he would want to drive eyeballs to the event. And this hard-hitting ad might help them cloak higher viewership as well as also benefit Indian Hockey in a way.
When we spoke to Star Sports about the ad, this is what their spokesperson told us. "The Indian Hockey Team is on a roll. A brave new team combining youth and experience has re-established India as a strong force in the sport. The campaign, #DeshKeLiye, is a rallying cry to our fellow countrymen to celebrate the triumphs of our Hockey heroes and support them as they make the country proud tournament after tournament. We wish to create awareness with respect to their stellar achievements and get Indians behind their team for their eventual quest for the Olympic Gold."
The campaign currently is running on Star Sports network throughout the India-Bangladesh series. The TVC was published on YouTube on June 8 and has got just over 1.2 lakh views till the filing of this report.
Recently for the Cricket World Cup in 2015, Star had done a huge series titled ' Mauka Mauka' in support of the Indian team. The idea behind each video of the campaign was that with every team India was about to play, it created a TVC where it showed the fans of team hoping to beat India. The campaign was a huge success both on digital and TV and was even extended on ground.
Can Star Sports score big and get the desired results for the tournament? While is remains to be seen, Keshav Naidu, Co-founder, Naidu & Panjabi, says, "The ad has a nice truth in it as our hockey players never get any love and support. In terms of execution, it's easy to be harsh, but the fact is sportspeople are not actors. So, if you give them the benefit that these guys are great performers on the field, there's actually a charming quality to the film."
To this, Rajiv Dingra, CEO and Founder, WATConsult, says, "The film has an emotional touch and with real players and coach in it makes it effective. This will shake up the people to some extent, not the cricket fanatics, but people who like all sports. And yes it touches the nerve."
Naidu & Panjabi believes that it will do the trick as at the script level, logic is sound. But Dingra feels that Star Sports should not just stop but create more such films like what they did for Mauka Mauka series. "I feel it will really catch on as people will celebrate their wins," adds Dingra.