Hidden Nuggets: Sonata – Dhoni
Sonata leveraged MS Dhoni’s captaincy of the Chennai Super Kings to build saliency for the brand successfully
One evening Kishore Subramaniam, the planner on Sonata watches walked into Rajesh Ramaswamy’s (Ramsam)’s room for a chat.
Kishore: Machaan, we need to do an ad with Dhoni for Sonata around IPL.
Ramsam was clueless about cricket. And moreover, this was for the very first IPL, where he hadn’t a clue on how it works.
Ramsam: What about it?
Kishore: Well, he’s been declared the captain of Chennai Super Kings.
Ramsam: What? How can he be from Chennai. Isn’t he from Ranchi?
This seemed extremely puzzling for Ramsam, on how can Dhoni be the captain of CSK, where he has nothing to do with that region. According to him, Dhoni should have played for a team closer to his hometown.
But there was equally a big buzz around Dhoni being a part of CSK not only in Tamilnadu but all over India as he was the India cricket team captain.
The perplexed Kishore had to explain the whole IPL concept to Ramsam. Ramsam recollects he was not sure he got the concept even then.
Rajesh was/ is a film buff and being a Dhanush fan, he went home thinking about this weird situation. And his iPod picked up a ‘Porki’ song from the film Pudupettai which had the lines – “Yenga area, ulle varaade” (this is my area, don’t come in!).
Ironically this seemed so much like the situation he was pondering over…Dhoni not being from the area, and now getting in.
Hey, could that be the idea?
He liked it so much that he played repeatedly – in the car, at office, home etc. and slowly began to see the film in his head.
Dhoni doing Tapaang to this track, and reemphasising that he has become a part of them.
For feedback, he asked Kishore. He laughed hysterically and agreed that it’s mad. And he’d make the pitch for it.
Sonata team loved it in an instant. And decided to go ahead with it, even though it was very different from the brand’s tone of voice.
Ramsam roped in his good friend Sudhir Makhija to direct the same.
And the minute they saw Dhoni break into a tapaang, nobody needed to be convinced that he was indeed ‘Namma captain da Peter..India captain later.’
Dhoni had blended so effortlessly and won the love of everyone in TN and the rest of India.
Proof of which we’re seeing to date.