MasterCard: The price of heroism

One has to admit that for a change, our cricketers have been cast realistically in this campaign

There’s one thing about Indian cricketers. They are almost always cast mindlessly in advertisements. It’s like the marketing director decides he wants Dhoni to plug for his brand, and then asks the creative director to work out some sort of a storyboard. Once the celebrity is bagged, the idea itself takes a backseat. The fit between the product and the player is never really thought through carefully. Apart from Birla Sun Life, whose commercials featured Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh worrying about their future (in fact, the ads proved prophetic… based on their recent non-performances, they SHOULD be worrying!), I can’t recall a single recent advert starring the cricket stars that can convincingly claim to have done that exercise.

In that context, one has to admit that for a change, our cricketers have been cast realistically. The MasterCard commercial features Sachin T, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. The three are seen arriving at an Indian airport, as they get harassed by the waiting journalists. Clearly, they must have done horribly at an international tournament (quite a common occurrence with Dhoni’s ‘dhurandars’ these days). Stressed out, the three decide to make a quick escape to the wildlife of the Kenyan forests… tickets bought through MasterCard, of course! For some peace and privacy. But yet again they get recognised at the local airport. And some hot gals chase down Bhajji and Zaheer (not Sachin, please note… the master-blaster will let nothing affect his carefully-cultivated image of a family man… smart!). And so the three (reluctantly) flee again. But no use. The forest ranger at the safari park recognises Sachin, thanks to his MasterCard, so it’s time to scoot again. And they finally enjoy the trees and the beasts, as they drive into the deep forest. But just when you think it’s escape to freedom and tranquility at last, Tendlya gets recognized by a tribal kid. So, no escape for our heroic cricketers. They are doomed to a life of fish-bowl existence.

I actually like the commercial, and the jingle is pleasing and warm too. It strikes at a good insight: The one thing our heroes crave for is privacy and solitude (except for Yuvi perhaps, and thank God they didn’t invite him, the macho stud would have vanished into some remote forest lodge with the tribal girls). So the idea makes sense. It’s relevant and believable. Good lesson on how to use cricketers in advertising.    

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New inflation index likely from August 14

The new index, which would provide a more realistic picture of price rise and its impact on people, would include 685 items against 435 items at present

A new system of inflation measurement, under which price changes of about 250 extra items would be covered, is likely to be rolled out by the government on August 14, reports PTI.

The present monthly inflation measurement system, based on the wholesale price index, reflects the price variations of 435 items.

The number of items would now go up to 685 and include a host of new products, including consumer goods like mobile phones and liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions, sources said.

Dated items such as typewriters and video cassette recorders (VCRs) would not find a place in the new inflation measurement mechanism.

The Committee of Secretaries (CoS), headed by cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, is likely to give a final shape to the new index next week. The base year of the new index would also be changed from 1993-94 to 2004-05.

"A note on the issue has been sent to CoS by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)...they may consider this next week," a senior official told PTI.

Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) chairman C Rangarajan has also given his approval for the new wholesale price-based index, the official said. "The July inflation data is expected to be released on August 14 with the new base year," he added.

Asked if there would be any variations in the inflation when it switches to the new base year, the official said, "It would be insignificant and less than 1%."

The new index would provide a more realistic picture of price rise and its impact on people, he added.

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Stock Therapy

The regulator’s misguided moves will further alienate retail investors

 

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