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From Jammy to Boost: Our five favourite retro ads done by cricketers

We have been witness to a number of memorable commercials featuring our favourite cricket stars.

cricket Updated: Oct 16, 2016 15:05 IST
Gaurav Bhatt
Gaurav Bhatt
Hindustan Times
Rahul Dravid,Sachin Tendulkar,Shane Warne
Rahul Dravid has been a part of many commercial endorsements but his Jammy ad for Kissan jams remains his most memorable.(PTI)

India is cricket’s largest market and cricketers have been telling us what to buy since the beginning of the age of advertising in India.

Expectedly then, we have been witness to a number of memorable commercials featuring our cricketers, with questionable acting but strong advertising logic. HT takes a look at five worth remembering:

Cold drink, hot potato

The Thums Up advertisement circa the early 1980s opens with a Mexican standoff straight out of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Only in place of Blondie, Angel Eyes and Tuco, we have Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil and Ravi Shastri. And instead of Colt Navies and the Remington, they are brandishing a cricket ball, a bottle of cola and a bottle opener. And there’s no Ecstasy of Gold in the background, only the Benny Hill-esque music.

Okay. The commercial is nothing like the Sergio Leone classic. It is equally iconic nonetheless. The idea is simple — the need to get a sip of that cold soda in the sultry afternoon. The execution isn’t. Perhaps it’s the reflexes honed from spending hours fielding, but the trio breaks into an impromptu game of hot potato for a few surreal seconds instead of handing the bottle with the opener to one person in a gentlemanly fashion.

Gavaskar finally manages to procure both and quickly lets it flow to restore all order. Patil and Shastri give their captain a thumbs up of approval while Gavaskar himself gives us a hearty wink. Bottoms up, lads. You’ve certainly earned it.

Lather, rinse, repeat. The Kapil way

Legend has it that Kapil Dev once went to an echo point and yelled, “Palmolive,” but got no reply. After all, “Palmolive da jawab nahi.”

I’ll get my coat.

In an era when there were not many ads on the tube, the 20-second-long advertisement for a shaving cream became all the rage. Kapil Dev, captain of the then-reigning world champions, walks into the frame visibly irritated at the Five O’clock shadow and grabs hold of some Palmolive shaving cream.

Dev applies the product while taking great care to avoid getting any on his thick, black moustache. A quick shave-and-splash leaves Dev mesmerised with the result. Looking every bit the Indian answer to Tom Selleck, Dev says the iconic line of endorsement while an autograph seeker grins at him uncomfortably.

The ad worked because of Dev’s credibility and manliness — a “jaanbaaz, kaamyab mard” (adventurous, successful man) in every meaning of the phrase.

My Energy, Our energy

Like the saying goes, you haven’t really made it in cricket until you’ve been in a Boost advertisement. For decades now, the commercials have represented the status quo and the golden boys of India’s cricketing landscape.

While Kapil Dev had earlier promoted the energy drink brand, the ad in 1989 was a passing of the torch, so to speak. A 30-year-old Dev skips and jumps, does push-ups and pull-ups with a rookie Sachin Tendulkar. The training montage looks inspired from the Rocky movies, and the music too is reminiscent of the ‘Survivor’ tracks from the franchise.

“Boost is the secret of my energy,” says Tendulkar at the end. “OUR energy,” quickly corrects Dev.

Dev retired five years later while Tendulkar continued to be the brand’s main man for 25 more years. He gave the reins to MS Dhoni, who currently shares the honour with Test captain Virat Kohli.

No getting out of this jam

Rahul Dravid’s father worked with Kissan, a company known for producing jams and preserves. His mother handed him a bottle of jam whenever he went out playing, which got him the nickname ‘Jammy’. One would assume that Dravid has had enough of jam for this lifetime. Nope. Not according to the Kissan commercial, at least.

On the field, Dravid was known for answering the call of duty and taking up different roles as per the team’s needs. But perhaps none of that comes close to these 30 seconds. Denied his jam, Dravid puts on a range of disguises -- including dressing up as a girl, a monk and (for some reason) a vampire. He succeeds the first two times and falters during the third when the cheap set of fangs give him away.

There are two important questions to consider. Why would the (on-screen) mother deny him jam when the pantry is stocked with unopened bottles? And, why would Dravid resort to such shenanigans when he can just buy some from the local stores?

Iski toh gayi

This 2003 World Cup classic opens like nothing ever should; Shane Warne and Carl Hooper aggressively chasing two women through a supermarket. While Warne, as has been his wont, remains undeterred in his pursuit, Hooper gets distracted by a stack of Pepsi cans. He takes one out like a bad Jenga player, and it all comes crashing down to leave Sachin Tendulkar buried in the wreckage.

Why Tendulkar was hiding in the pile to begin with is an unsolved mystery. What follows is a riveting tale of identity crisis, deceit and comeuppance, peppered with profound lines such as “iski toh gayi” and “haila, plane?!”

The ad ends with premature exits for both Warne and Hooper, much like the tournament itself. A failed drug test sent Warne home before Australia played a match (he would say it was a tablet given by his mum to get rid of a double chin), while Carl Hooper-led West Indies were knocked out in the group stage. Tendulkar, the top run-getter led India to the final against Australia, before a relapse of amnesia saw the Master forget how to play a pull shot.

Honourable mentions

While nearly every Pepsi ad from the late 90s to the early 2000s could have made the cut, the one which came closest was Shah Rukh Khan impersonating Tendulkar.

Way ahead of their time, the classy Vimal Suitings roped in international stars such as Viv Richards and Allan Border.

All the Godrej group had to do to sell their Cinthol soap was to capture the charismatic former Pakistan captain Imran Khan in his bowling run-up. Less is more, yeah?

First Published: Oct 16, 2016 14:37 IST