Campaign India Team
Oct 23, 2023

Shift to a cricket legend like Dhoni is a strategic move: Saumya Rathor

The category lead – potato chips, PepsiCo India, discusses the 'No Lay's, no game' campaign with Campaign India

Lay's has announced the appointment of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as brand ambassador and rolled out a campaign featuring the former Indian cricketer.
Conceptualised by Leo Burnett, the campaign aims to show how match-viewing is enhanced with Lay's. It shows Dhoni go to different houses and join them to watch the game, given they have a pack of Lay's at home. 
This is part of the global 'No Lay's, no game' campaign. 
Campaign India caught up with Saumya Rathor, category lead – potato chips, PepsiCo India, to learn more about the campaign and the partnership with Dhoni.
Edited excerpts: 
What is the idea behind getting MS Dhoni as brand ambassador?
MS Dhoni is not just a sportsperson but an emotion for Indians, and so is the brand Lay's. He perfectly aligns with everything that the brand stands for, and his universal appeal ensures that Lay's can reach a broader audience, cutting across demographics and regions in India, enhancing brand love. And, of course, Dhoni's presence in the 'No Lay's, no game' will deliver boundless joy to consumers and remind them to continue to elevate their match-viewing experience with Lay's chips.
Lay's has usually picked younger brand ambassadors. Why this shift to an older player now?
Lay's is known as a youth-centric brand, but Lay's chips possess the magical ability to bring people of all ages together, creating memorable moments for everyone. It’s like a snack-time superhero that bridges generations.
Our selection of renowned personalities in every campaign undergoes a thoughtful process. We consider the specific message, tone, and target audience for each campaign. This ensures that our brand message is effectively communicated and resonates with our consumers, whether it's about nostalgia, fun, sophistication, or any other aspect aligning with the Lay's brand.
So, the shift to a cricket legend like Dhoni is a strategic move. He's a legend with universal appeal that transcends demographics. His charm and influence reach far and wide, making him the perfect choice to help us deepen our connect with a diverse audience while keeping that youthful spirit alive.
The campaign goes on air almost at the half way stage of the world cup. Why now?
This is indeed a joyful period for us, with the ongoing festivities and cricket fever that have engulfed the country. The campaign's timing is meant to capture this unique spirit, but it's not by chance. We believe this is the moment when enthusiasm is at its peak, and people are fully immersed in the game. So, it's the perfect time to introduce our campaign and emphasise that Lay's is an integral part of the match-watching experience
Moreover, we plan to sustain this enthusiasm. The ongoing celebrations provided the initial push for our campaign, and we intend to maintain the momentum. We will continue to reinforce the 'No Lay's, no game' message through more major events and special occasions, ensuring that Lay's remains a staple in the game-watching culture.
How will Lay's be looking to break the clutter around the World Cup ads?
This campaign is part of a global initiative that connects Lay's fans worldwide who can't imagine watching a match without Lay's. We've brought this essence to India, with MS Dhoni leading the way. What sets this TVC apart is its focus on unscripted reactions from ordinary people when Dhoni arrives, inquiring if they have Lay's. Those with Lay's get a special opportunity to watch the match with him, while those without miss out. With MS Dhoni leading the way and our unique approach of showcasing genuine reactions, our campaign not only brings authenticity to the forefront but also ensures that the campaign leaves a lasting impression.
Other than the film, what will the campaign consist of?
The campaign will comprise a blend of traditional and digital platforms, encompassing television, print media, social media, and influencer collaborations. The campaign will also aim to extend its reach through prominent e-commerce platforms, ensuring a comprehensive and multi-channel approach to engage a diverse audience and amplify the message of Lay's enhancing the cricket-watching experience with its iconic brand ambassador, MS Dhoni.
Creative agency: Leo Burnett India
CEO and chief creative officer, South Asia: Rajdeepak Das
National creative director: Vikram Pandey and Sachin Kamble
President - North: Samir Gangahar
Executive vice president: Jaikrit Singh
Executive creative directors: Shahnawaz Qadeer
Senior creative director: Adwait Kulkarni
Creative director (art): Abhinandan Dey
Copywriter: Shweta Bharti
Vice president: Binay Mehra
Brand services director: Kirti Sinha
Production house:  Dharma 2.0
Director: Puneet Malhotra
Executive producer: Preetha Iyer
Producer: Priyanshi Bahadur
Campaign India

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