The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the biggest T20 tournaments in the world and is considered a festival in the country. The tournament entered its 15th edition in 2022 and got even bigger with the addition of two new teams. Before the tournament began on March 26, the organizers promoted the tournament with multiples ads under #YehAbNormalHai featuring former India skipper MS Dhoni.
As the campaign was named, the organizers tried to promote the idea that people go to any extent to follow the game. In the same light, they brought out an ad that showed MS Dhoni as a bus driver. In the video, Dhoni is seen driving the bus and stopping it in the middle of the traffic on the demand of passengers. “They are watching the super over of an IPL match,” replies Dhoni when a traffic police personnel asks him about the strange behaviour. The ad further shows the policeman leaving after hearing the reply and giving out the idea that the action was normal.
Days after its release, the ad attracted criticism, and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) also filed a complaint citing the ad glorifying violation of traffic rules. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) took cognizance of the matter, and the Consumer Complaints Committee (CCC) members of the council watched the advertisement with the representative of the company which had made the promo. The governing body found the ad problematic and has asked the makers to either modify the ad or withdraw it by April 20.
The director of the complaint filing body CUTS said that IPL is a big platform and has a huge fan base. So, it becomes necessary for the makers to take care of such things. “The IPL has a huge fan following in and outside India. Therefore it has a huge responsibility to promote the cause of road safety and such social issues, rather than coming up with promo films which are glorifying violation of traffic rules,” said George Cheriyan.