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Nike just did it!

February 27, 2007
For all of us who have played cricket on the streets, we know we have to play a quick game -- to bowl or strike the ball -- before the next car comes by," says Dias. "The game in the ad is being played in a traffic jam and captures the chaos and disorder of an everyday cricket field in India, where there could be 21 matches being played at the same time!"

"'Gutsy Cricket' was the concept behind the Nike cricket ad. In advertising, cricket is mostly shown as being played by star cricketers or by cute kids. In keeping with the concept, stars were not central to the ad. In fact, it shows them as onlookers. Here we have the game being played by 16-17 year olds -- kids who will bowl the heads off anyone who comes in the way of the game!"

How it began: The JWT servicing and planning team in Bangalore led by Dhunji Wadia and Rajesh Gangwani got the 'Gutsy Cricket' concept approved by Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon, USA.

"I am indebted to them for the best brief ever," says Dias, who took it further from there and wrote the script in text form -- the most detailed script he says he has ever written. 'Balcony, ball dena,' the statue of a Parsi gent with a raised finger, the man looking into a mirror and clipping his nostril hair -- all was written and fleshed out in text.

Featuring a Konkani song in the ad was Dias' idea. He shared the idea with ad filmmaker Abhinay Deo and made him hear Konkani music on his car stereo while eating vada pao in Kalbadevi, south Mumbai. Dias wrote the lyrics and the song is loosely based on an old Goan song.

"Nike says it is amongst their best Nike commercials of all time. In dealer conferences in the US, they are showing this ad at the beginning and at the end. It may later be shown in the UK and elsewhere also," says Dias.

Time taken to write the script: Half hour.

Biggest challenge while working on the ad: "The challenge was that this was the first mainstream Nike commercial not made in Portland. This was also the first Nike cricket commercial in the world. We wanted that it be showcased amongst its best."

"We wanted to show that cricket is not a game that is just played by gentlemen in white in elite clubs but it is also played by tough, macho men on the streets in the largest democracy in the world."

Inset: Agnello Dias, the creative spirit behind Nike's first-ever cricket commercial

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