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Dhoni’s McDowell ad takes a dig at Harbhajan’s Royal Stag
Published on 25 Jun. 2011 11:25 PM IST
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Has ace spinner Harbhajan Singh made it large with Royal Stag? United Spirits has got his captain MS Dhoni to say what matters is being different. In a rare case of a spoof in surrogate advertising, Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits has issued a commercial for McDowell’s No. 1 Platinum, which is a spoof on an advertisement for Seagram’s Royal Stag, Pernod Ricard’s largest-selling whisky in India.
The Royal Stag ad shows the Indian spinner opting to not work in his father’s ball bearing factory and focus on cricket instead. At the end, he asks the viewer if with his achievements he has “made it large” in life. Taking a dig at the commercial and Royal Stag’s tagline ‘Make it large’, the McDowell’s No. 1 Platinum commercial shows a Bhajji look-alike making ball bearings the size of gym balls at his father’s factory, asking if he had “made it large”, only to get slapped by his father for being incompetent. Then it shows Dhoni saying, “Zindagi main kuch karna hai to large chodo, kuch alag karo yaar.”
Liquor brands are not allowed to advertise in India. And both the mentioned commercials are ostensibly for Royal Stag cricket gear and McDowell’s No. 1 Platinum soda.
Such surrogate advertising is common in a country where the alcohol consumption is growing rapidly as it becomes socially more acceptable and people prefer more expensive brands as their incomes rise.
“It’s a multilayer concept, that too in a surrogate advertising; any spoof will further complicate the communications,” said Draftfcb Ulka CEO Ambi Parameswaran.
McDowell’s No.1 Platinum whisky, launched last year April, is priced exactly at the same rate as Royal Stag. But its spoof has not gone down well with everybody. Interestingly, Dhoni’s advertising assault is on a brand that he endorsed until July 2010. Dhoni, along with teammate Yuvraj Singh, was signed on to endorse Royal Stag in 2006. Harbhajan Singh has been endorsing the brand since 2003.

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