PSL in Pakistan: a new dawn for the entertainment industry -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PSL in Pakistan: a new dawn for the entertainment industry

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: Every time Ashar (Fawad Khan) would ignore his much-adorable and loyal wife, Khirad (Mahira Khan) for Sara (Naveen Waqar), a million hearts would shatter. But this isn’t even close to what happens every time an Afridi catch is taken on the boundary.

Cricket is the biggest form of entertainment in Pakistan and the absolute mode of national catharsis. Its homecoming has been a fulfilling experience for many apologetic Pakistani souls and the few celebrities who’ve been trying to fill the void in whatever way they can, while facing their own set of challenges.

Only time will tell whether Fawad will ever become as big as Shahid Afridi but one thing’s for sure: PSL can serve as a platform for both to shine. The opening and closing ceremonies in Pakistan can prove to be what Super Bowl is for American entertainment and advertising, only if we market it like that and embrace it wholeheartedly.

Discussing celebrity tantrums in Pakistan, the owner of a TV network once told me that you have to give this new crop of actors some time. “They’re eager to show off right now and unlike the PTV clan, they don’t know how to. The most you can do is use their enthusiasm to your and their advantage by offering them a platform.”

With fresh faces like Bilal Ashraf and veterans like Shaan already coming on board as mascots for different teams, the extension of this marriage between cricket and celeb power is only going to make the brand stronger. And with the likes of Mawra Hocane tweeting about how she kept on hearing “Ranbir Ranbir” instead of “Zalmi Zalmi” in the crowd only validates the channel owner’s argument. The intention is very much there; it’s just that both the franchise owners and publicists/managers need to discover how their client can add value to the ceremony.

 

No matter how much you tweet or how many morning shows you appear in, the number of people watching PSL is just too humongous. This is an ideal space for upcoming brands, particularly films, for promotion and to be connected to a wider audience all across Pakistan and around the world. Your film gets associated with an even bigger product while catering to masses that also include people who are not a part of your regular cinema-going audience.

Mohib Mirza and Sanam Saeed tried doing it for Bachanaa but their campaign seemed very haphazard and hence, couldn’t make the desired impact. Some may argue that Humayun Saeed showing up at the stadium in the same look as his character in upcoming film Main Punjab Nahin Jaaongi was a subliminal way of marketing his film but I am sure we can do a lot better. We shouldn’t forget that a major reason behind IPL’s success is how it seamlessly merges Bollywood with cricket and provides an alternate culture altogether.

With so many eyes fixed on the TV, PSL can prove to be an ideal release medium for upcoming projects. Be it the much-awaited Ali Azmat album or Ali Zafar’s Pakistani film debut, songs from both can be performed at the ceremony and that way, the crowd will have something new to look forward to apart from just live music.

The same goes for dance performances. The quality of choreography in Pakistan may not have what it takes to put us on the world map but we still have an item or a shaadi number in every other Pakistani film. With the help of foreign choreographers, we can do the same through live dance performances but the bottom line is to treat PSL like a solid marketing season. A season that gives you an opportunity to get your product endorsed by leading stars from across the world while simultaneously catering to the biggest live gathering of Pakistanis ever.

In merging the two industries, the message we are trying to send to the international community will only get more thorough. This will not only encourage international players to be a part of a star-studded showcase but will also encourage cultural mascots from around the world to visit Pakistan and interact with their fans.

The Express Tribune

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