Citius, Altius, Fortius To Our Athletes & Some Goodwill Towards Salman

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There has been a lot of hoopla recently regarding Salman Khan’s appointment as goodwill ambassador for India for the Rio Olympics. Brand ambassadors, celebrity endorsers, goodwill ambassadors etc. Whenever I hear these words, I am reminded of the marketing group project days of my MBA. Whenever we had to decide for the brand ambassador for any product or service, the choices that we finalized seemed so clichéd that it was borderline cringe worthy. Bollywood celebrities are typically the first set of people who come to mind whenever we think of ambassadors. Along with Bollywood, Cricket would probably be the other most popular field when it comes to celebrities being ambassadors for a product. Almost every other television ad these days has either Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Virat Kohli or M.S Dhoni in them. Bollywood and cricket in our country are almost treated like two religions and their stars are worshiped as idols.

Bollywood and Cricket had decided in 2007 that joining hands would be a great win-win situation for both the parties. The end-product was something called IPL that has been wooing audiences and will complete 10 years in 2017. Despite all the controversies and decline in viewership over the years, the event has survived and will probably continue to thrive. 3 of the 8 IPL teams in the initial edition in 2007 were owned by Bollywood celebrities. One of them, Kolkata Knight Riders, owned by Shahrukh Khan struggled in its initial years to get any positive results in the field but was still among the most profitable teams around despite its on-field debacles. This further re-iterated the fact that Bollywood and Cricket was going to be an unbeatable combination which will entertain the country for the coming years. Gradually the concept of leagues started going into other sports as well. As of today, we have leagues for the sports of football, hockey, badminton, kabaddi, wrestling etc. Most of them haven’t reached the magnitude of their cricket counterpart but still have made a successful start. The soccer league called as Indian Super League has owners of different teams comprising of many Bollywood celebrities like Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan and its popularity is on the upswing. We have even seen Salman Khan in the promos of Pro Kabaddi league and as a neutral viewer it certainly attracts me if I see a familiar face promoting a sport that does not have the recognition as some of its counterparts in terms of audience viewership.

Now coming back to the issue of Salman Khan’s appointment as the ambassador, my first reaction to the appointment was that it would be a perfect platform for Salman Khan to promote his upcoming movie Sultan where he plays the role of a wrestler. I am an active follower of most sports but my first instinct to this appointment was that this would not give any benefit to the sports-persons who will be giving their best to bring laurels to the country. But then, I realized even for someone like me who follows sports actively, I can hardly recollect the names of any Indian wrestler except Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, the latter of whom has openly criticized the appointment of Salman as the goodwill ambassador in Twitter. Dutt has received support from sporting quarters in the form of Milkha Singh who have also advocated that a sportsperson should be a goodwill ambassador instead of a Bollywood celebrity who has no connection with sports. The counter points put up in the form of several tweets by Salman’s father Salim Khan are laughable and stupid to say the least (Both Salman and his father Salim seriously need a good digital public relations team to handle their twitter handle to save us from their obnoxious tweets). In one tweet, Salim Khan has attributed Milkha Singh’s ticket to fame to the fact that a movie was made on him by Bollywood and in another he has glorified the sporting credentials of his son regarding why he is the perfect fit for the role. The reasons given by Salman’s father definitely do not do any justice as to why Salman should be the goodwill ambassador but I feel if the intentions of both IOA and Salman Khan are right, this appointment can be a win-win situation for both.

All of us remember Chak De India and the impact that it had on hockey and just sports in general. Even after so many years we still hear its title song being played in hockey tournaments where India takes part. Also, who can forget the song reverberating at the Wanderers stadium when India won the inaugural T-20 Cricket World Cup. The marriage of Bollywood and Sports works like magic in India in garnering eyeballs and all of us would definitely be in agreement over the fact that we need Olympic sports in India need to get more eyeballs. If it needs a Bollywood celebrity to do that, then so be it. If it means that many deserving ex and current Indian sportsmen miss out on being the goodwill ambassador, then let it be. It is a small price to pay for making sure that there is enough awareness about Olympic sports in the country.

Team India had a decent outing in 2012 Olympics winning 6 medals (2 silvers and 4 bronze). This year the target should be to double that tally or at least reach double digits and win a couple of gold medals as well. Like last time, our medal hopes would again hinge on sports like shooting, wrestling, badminton, boxing, archery, lawn tennis, archery etc. It is not a co-incidence that 3 or 4 of the sports listed above have their own professional leagues in the country now with a lot investment from Bollywood celebrities who act as team owners. We have had 2 super hit movies made in Bollywood on 2 national sports icons, Milkha Singh and Mary Kom.

Hence, as long as the intention of IOA and Salman Khan are correct and both contribute their best and fulfill their responsibility in creating awareness about the event and Olympic sports in general, I don’t see why the appointment of Salman should be a problem. In the midst of all this, if his movie gets promoted, then it shouldn’t be made out as an issue. Who knows, maybe the movie Sultan would have the same effect on wrestling as Chak De India had on hockey. Our next Sushil Kumar or Yogeshwar Dutt might just be inspired to take up wrestling as a career after watching the movie. Yes, Salman Khan does have a tainted past but he has done his fair share of goodwill towards the society as well. Whether that goodwill was done to mitigate the effects of his tainted past is a different story altogether.

Salman Khan might be the figurative goodwill ambassador for India but in reality each athlete representing India should be a goodwill ambassador for us. They will be representing this proud country of ours in a global platform watched by billions. The fact that they have reached there despite the lack of infrastructure and the adversities faced by non-cricketing sports persons in India itself shows their perseverance and dedication to follow their passion and fulfill their dreams. So, let’s not shift the focus away from the hard work put in by our athletes who have qualified for the Olympics by arguing over this mundane topic about which sphere should the goodwill ambassador be from.

Let us all resolve our indifferences and stand by the Olympic motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius. Translated to English, it means “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” But, we should also remember that it stands for the ideal of striving to be better not only in sports but also as human beings.

10 Reasons Why You Will End Up Reading A Shitty Article With A Long Catchy Title Like This Even Though It Exploits You!

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We hate to think. We hate to work for what we want. We hate anything that gets us off our lazy asses. And we all are hardwired to want things, now!

And this is more apparent now than anytime before. According to The Guardian, the desire for in depth analysis is being continuously diminished and this has led to a generation of internet consumers who live in a world of “instant gratification and quick fixes” which leads to a “loss of patience and a lack of deep thinking”. Our hedonistic tendencies dictate that pleasure remains the driving force that compels us to gratify our needs, wants, and urges.
And one alluring consequence of this is a fairly recent trend, which we here at DoubleThink couldn’t help but be amused by. Sample these:

This Akshay Kumar Song About ‘Susu’ Is The Craziest Thing You’ll See On The Internet Today!
Do Indians Want To Have Sex With Desis Or Videsis? Interesting Answers Ahead
20 Epic Responses To ‘I Love you’ That Will Make You Laugh Your Lungs Out
10 Reasons Why Your Best Friend’s Wedding Is The Most Special Event Ever

These articles could well serve as the foundation course for “How To Market Crap Extremely Well 101”. How these articles capitalize on the attention deficit and perverted tendencies of the readers by offering senseless masala that does not add any real value but gives instant gratification can be a lesson for any budding marketer. And we all love senseless masala, don’t we?

So as an “ode” to this trend, we list a few tricks and a few reasons why we think views on these articles just keep on comin’ :

Reasons:

► Because we like the easy way out
I mean, why watch an intellectual cinematic experience when you can just watch Dabangg instead?
Why read the book when you can watch the movie, or the TV Show, or just read the summary?
We are lazy, and reading is too much of an effort. How does it matter that reading helps in improving your language, conveying thoughts better or the fact that ideas can quite literally start or stop a war. What matters is how did Salman Khan do a double-flip on a super fast bullet train as he juggled live grenades with one hand and raised his collar with the other.

  Because we are perverts
My eyes lit up as I read the title- “10 Reasons Why Size Matters.”
I’m a girl, and I care a lot about any and every size known to me – Shoe Size, Dress Size, Ring Size, ad infinitum.
I’m a man, and the article is about size. I expect high definition photos of breasts. (I’m looking at you TOI.)
I’m a guy, and who are we kidding here, in our darkest hours we’ve all searched the internet for the acceptable penis size.

 ► Because we have a short attention sp… oh look, a fly!
When social networks that limit you to 140 character updates are doing great, you know the end is near.
I can’t even introduce myself in 140 characters, and here you are, trying to make me write what I feel about my mouth watering, perfectly grilled sandwich in 140 characters.
I had essay writing exams for this, and I can’t go through that shit again.

► Because we love it when everything is served to us on a silver platter
I don’t want to make the effort of scrounging through a mountain of links Google shoves in my face. Wouldn’t it be much better if it is all there in a single list? The headline catches my eye; it promises a story that’s finite, and as long as my fast-food information diet is necessarily limited in content and is unlikely to contain the nutritional value of the more in-depth analysis of traditional articles that rely on paragraphs, my purpose is served.

► Because I need some stranger to tell me things about myself cause I can’t figure them out on my own
We hate thinking, remember?
We all have tried to find the perfect answers to those HR questions for our first interview, haven’t we?
Why put strain on this work of art resting on my shoulders. I’ll just read it of the internet and be done with it.
Also, I need the internet to justify my fantastic decision of dropping out of college to be successful. Hey, Steve did it, right? And see where Apple is now. I always knew I was the next Steve Jobs. It is my destiny, bitches. Gah! What do these lowly humans know.

Tricks:

►  Throw in a couple of funny GIFs from a commercial box office movie and we’re game
No literally, I have no imaginative thinking. I need a pictorial description of what I just read (and sometimes to laugh at the jokes I don’t get.)
*insert a lame GIF*

►  Find a YouTube video that has been trending, and title it like “This Awesome Rap Is Dedicated To All The Chutiyas Who Did Not Want To Become Engineers/Doctors”
Just re-share a lame trending video, write a few random lines summarizing it and Voila! Hit post.
Really, I do need one more shitty website so that I can waste my time on a senseless video on YouTube, which god-forbid I might have missed out on if it weren’t for this site. I really don’t have anything worthwhile to do with my life. True story.

►  Exploit emotions and social issues you don’t give a damn about
#Reading this letter from a boy to his mother will bring tears to your eyes
Sounds familiar?
Hey! There’s no dearth of flaws and emotional fools in our society. Let’s pretend to care about them and exploit them to make some moolah, while not giving a shit about constructively working towards alleviating the issues. Exhibit A : Kill The Poor – SHOCKING Social Experiment.

►  Exaggerate that shit bro!
Exaggerate to the extent of a hyperbole.
I still remember that day I laughed my lungs out to a video on YT. Still trying to find where that sneaky left lung went. Ping me if you find it strolling somewhere. Oh, fond memories!

►  Sprinkle a few attention grabbing keywords such as sex, crazy, shocking and unbelievable throughout. CAPS for a larger effect.
And there you have your fair share of creeps raking up your hits counter. Tried and Tested.

(with inputs from Tushant Juneja)