Nike and cricket: a marriage made in hell

CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY forwards us the YouTube link for Nike‘s first cricket commercial in India, starring the people of India and two very special ones, Zaheer Khan and S. Sreesanth—shot at a very familiar Indian landmark, the Bombay traffic jam.

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“We wanted to show how cricket is played on the streets in India. These players are as tough, mean and hard as international cricketers,” says Agnell Dias, executive director of J. Walter Thompson, the company which did the commercial.

Marketing spiel aside, the real surprise is that Nike should associate itself with cricket, a game that is completely antithetical to its core philosophy.

In Nike’s book, winning is all. The company is infamous, even notorious, for its abrasive advertising. At the Olympics—which is what the cricket World Cup is—it puts up hoardings saying, “You don’t win silver, you lose gold.”

The implication: games are played to come first, those who stand second or third (or eighth) can go to hell and beyond. This is a company which has never heard of a draw, or a tie, the possibility of rain stopping play, or the Duckworth-Lewis method being applied.

That such a company should now be waxing eloquent of the fairest, most just, game played on the face of the planet, shows even the most agile legs, covered by the most blazing sneakers, can be brought to its knees by the colour and crackle of money.

Related link: Nike just did it!