This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Team India® is to be rebranded, following its disastrous tour of Australia, according to reports coming in from the corporate headquarters of India Inc.
With customer satisfaction said to be at an all-time low and consumer watchdog organisations on alert, the poorly performing product is to receive an image overhaul. As a pre-emptive measure against accusations of fraud, and to more realistically match expectations, the team will henceforth be known as India Lite®.
The once-celebrated cricket team, which evolved into a brand over the last few years after enough money had been thrown at it, has of late struggled to live up to its billing. Studies show that people in India have been exercising their right as consumers to choose how best they want to disappoint themselves, with increasing numbers of people opting for Team India's biggest competitor in that regard: male skin-fairness creams.
"It's not unheard of, in times of struggle, to alter or refresh the image of a brand to help create a more positive aura in the eyes of consumers and stakeholders," said a spokesman for parent company India Inc., explaining the proposed changes.
"We've actually taken our cue from a well-respected giant of corporate tobacco who recently changed their name in an attempt to soften their association with disease and suffering. Needless to say, it doesn't take a huge leap in reasoning to make the connection: 'If it can apply to them, then surely it does to Team India?'"
According to a source, the name India Lite® was chosen not just because it sounds like a falsely advertised safer cigarette, but because it was thought it would sound sexier to a younger generation of consumers while divesting them of the burden of expecting their team to actually win. This explains the complete slogan: "India Lite: Same great winning feeling, but with half the winning-ness as before!™"
The change in name is only one part of a sweeping facelift to the nation's premier sports team, and consequently to the nation itself - the branding of which is also due to be changed from the current "Incredible India" to "Incredulous India" to better reflect the mood of the nation's dwindling population of cricket fans.
"We've tried many things in the hope of countering the overall decline in demand for our product, including requiring some of our players to visibly smear fairness cream all over their faces while on the field, even in day-night games, but it just hasn't worked," said the India Inc. spokesman. "It's time for something new."
"The new mantra is honesty," said Mr Narayan Godbole, creative head of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, the Orwellian government agency behind the new ad campaign. This is the same organisation responsible for Chelsea footballer John Terry's image being used without his knowledge on cigarette packets sold across India, in an apparently novel way of diverting attention from mandatory "smoking kills" labels.
"'Kill them with honesty,' as we like to say in our hallowed halls," continued Mr Godbole. "We seek to re-engage with our flagging consumer base through that rarest of rare commodities. While Indian cricket fans used to be asked to 'bleed blue,' we tell them from the outset to bleed at their own risk; that they should be aware that this team might win, or it might not, and that it more than likely will not."
It is the advertising campaign's hope that such raw honesty will win back Indian cricket's customer base, if not its lost No. 1 ranking.
Mr Godbole said that another popular nickname for the limited-overs team, "Men in Blue", was also to be phased out.
"Let me just state that I appreciate the kind of imagination and genius it took to come up with it. It served an important function too, mainly in aiding viewers to spot the Indian team on the field when it played against any other team - except those that also wore kits of the same colour. Like England. Or Sri Lanka. Or Namibia. One or two others. But from now on we will be discouraging what we have come to realise is an arbitrary term based on the colour of the team's kit, and instead actively encourage the use of something more meaningful. We propose 'Men in Ever Lighter Shades of Brown'. Yes, we're trying to poach that male fairness cream contract."
The defective product will soon be recalled to make all the necessary corrections. Should it cease to remain a viable option, it is possible that the Indian cricket team might be discontinued as a brand.
One lives in hope.
R Rajkumar hopes that writing about cricket helps justify his watching it as much as he does to the people in his life who wonder where the remote control's disappeared to.
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?
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