Sometimes the best laid marketing plans can be undone in the simplest of ways.
In 1989, after much hype Pepsi launched a television commercial using the hottest person in Pop at the time, Madonna. The advert aired in prime time on British television and attracted huge numbers. Unfortunately for Pepsi when reporting the story and the huge viewing figures the BBC Newsreader accidentally said it was an advert for Coca Cola. The advert was pulled by Pepsi, but not for this reason, but because too many thought it was a promotion of her controversial song “Like a Prayer,” rather than the soft drink; well that was Pepsi’s spin on it.
The Fourth edition of the Hockey India League is about to get underway and after being criticised a year ago for not doing enough promotion Hockey India has been trying hard to raise the profile in 2015. The competition has a new naming rights sponsor, and the Auction at the tail end of 2014 saw many players move franchises. So all the teams have a fresh squad, and believe they have the potential to win the competition.
Imagine how the Franchise owners and Hockey India must have felt today when they opened up the broadsheet newspaper The New Sunday Express. They would have been thrilled to see almost a whole page dedicated to the tournament. Then their eyes would have been drawn to the picture in the centre of the article. A picture featuring some of the biggest names in World Hockey who are playing in the tournament, Australia’s Jamie Dwyer, Germany’s Moritz Fuerste and India’s Sandeep Singh, Sardar Singh and VR Raghunath. All of the players are holding flags of the various franchises, except they are not the franchises they are playing for in 2016.
The picture is from season one of the HIL, Sardar is holding the flag of the Delhi Waveriders, a team he no longer plays for having joined Jaypee Punjab Warriors this year. Jamie Dwyer is holding the Jaypee Punjab Warriors flag when he is no longer with them having signed up with Uttar Pradesh Wizards in 2016. Moritz Fuerste is holding an rolled up Ranchi flag, yet is now with Kalinga Lancers.
If this was not bad enough Sandeep Singh is holding for all to see the flag of Dabur Mumbai Magicians. For a start this franchise no longer exists, the Mumbai team for the past two seasons having been known as Dabang Mumbai. Then secondly Sandeep only ever played the inaugural season with Mumbai, before moving to Jaypee Punjab Warriors and having two successful seasons with them. This year he will wear the shirt of the UP Wizards.
Sometimes all of your best efforts in promotion can be undone by an editor who does not follow the sport, and runs a picture from the archive. Hopefully this little hiccup will not detract from what promises to be a very even fourth edition, even if the Dutch players are not participating, as they focus on the Olympics back in the Netherlands.