While we flick TV channels or wait for our favourite show to begin, we always come across a bevy of TV commercials. While film and TV actors feature in a large percentage of the advertisements, sports stars like PV Sindhu, Virat Kohli, Saina Mirza, Saina Nehwal, etc., are also seen in a lot of them. And India is no different, as sportsmen and women across the world also heavily endorse various products. Pakistan’s Noorena Shams, an international squash athlete, however, recently took to Facebook, to write against the lack of exposure that many sportspeople get in her country, when they easily can.
Shams’ Facebook post is about an ad for a soft drink, that has the popular singer, songwriter Momina Mustehsan playing a footballer in the ad. In her post, Shams has said that she’d rather have liked to see Pakistani women footballers like Asmara Kiani to be a part of the commercial, instead of the singer. “They do not need your money but at least they deserve to be supported when it comes to representation of our country. They can not even afford shoes or rackets. They play for the country without any greed,” she wrote.
“The real athletes are waiting for all these Ad makers to know them and give them recognition. I am sorry but as an athlete I feel miserable at times when we are not given priority. I am not jealous of her here just because she is in the Ad, neither for her looks or fame nor her voice but I envy her for one thing that she is getting what a real footballer deserve from the day they step inside the grounds. I am not against her to be in the Ad if it would have been like she is singing. Believe me the money spent on this Ad even can change entire life of an athlete in Pakistan. They do not need your money but atleast they deserve to be supported when it comes to representation of our country. They can not even afford shoes or rackets. They play for the country without any greed. I would love to see an athlete being casted in an Ad while singing like her and that would be a turning point. •Sigh•then people complaint that we only have 7 athletes going to OLYMPICS and they are already changing their countries after facing the conditions they face. I REQUEST DO NOT ASK A FISH TO FLY AND DO NOT THROW A BIRD IN A POND AND EXPECT IT TO SWIM. RECOGNISE AND APPRECIATE PLEASE.
I would have loved it more if there would have been Asmara Karishma or Sana in this Ad.
A struggling international racket athlete ( with less beauty and more passion)”
Shams’ post makes an interesting point since the debate of featuring athletes, especially female athletes is present in India as well. Pakistani footballer Sana Mahmud, whom Shams has tagged in the post, also commented, saying, “I just think there is a huge disconnect between our mainstream media and Pakistani athletes …” Another person tried to put forth the idea of marketing and brand as an explanation for the choice. “Do you have any idea or have you ever studied Marketing, Perception Building or Branding. ab aap jaisi Athlete Baji ko kaun samjaye ke every brand needs Celebrity (who will explain to an athlete like you that every brand needs a celebrity”, he wrote.
As mentioned, not that this debate doesn’t take place in India as well, but last year’s Nike ad featuring actor Deepika Padukone and 10 female athletes from various disciplines – from hockey and football to surfing and cricket – has been hailed as an excellent example of showcasing real people and real achievers as themselves and not only get well-known actors to endorse products.
Watch the ad here.
What are your thoughts on the debate? Tell us in the comments below.