4 weeks ago
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Whom are you kidding?
Disclaimer: I love cricket. I love IPL. They are doing a great deal of good for Indian cricket (and yeah... Chennai Super Kings have won all the matches they have played till now ;) )
But its beyond doubt that the Bangalore team is named after a popular liquor brand. Almost everyone who has had the drink/seen some of RC's other music CD and music show ads would have noticed it. Mr. Vijay Mallya, the liquor baron owns the brand Royal Challenge (after Shaw Wallace merged with UB) and incidentally the Bangalore IPL team as well.
Now, what is NOT surprising is that they are getting away with the name Royal Challengers. Thats fine. Apparently there are no clear laws on surrogate advertising in this country and thats the leeway the Govt. in its wisdom has chosen to provide.
But whats IS surprising is that according to media they 'are hitting back' at the Health Minister for speaking on this issue. Apparently, IPL wont 'take it lying down'. Hello ? When you first fiddled with the ban on liquor ads and ventured to advertise through surrogate categories, its sheer impudence for the CEO of IPL to pull off a 'How-dare-you-blame-holy-me?' stunt. Come on dude, whom are you kidding? After all, its the IPL leadership that decided in the first place to take a shot at this surrogate advertising chance.
Its not new for the UB group with their Kingfisher ads. I understand there is a lot more money involved in this IPL team. But it would be bad PR for the IPL if in its zeal to safeguard stakeholder interests, the IPL leadership portrays the issue as a Politicians Vs. Wronged IPL spat.
The Health Minister's real motive in this issue is not clearly known. But his activism on tobacco and liquor kind of are in line with his portfolio of Health, it seems. A bit too much of activism over public health alright (unakkaen akkarai, yaarukkum illaatha akkarai?), I hate to admit it, but that bugger is right.