Virat Kohli in Ads – A Cricketer Body Language Perspective
When we look at advertisements these days we notice that more and more of the ads are being endorsed by celebrities. Were you watching the television or your phone, I am sure you would have come across such ads. Let’s take a look at Virat Kohli’s advertisement of MRF ZLX tyers. This ad is quite short and direct but is it as effective as it should be? Is Virat Kohli looking natural or relaxed? Few questions we have to ask because of the amount of money invested in these ads. Let us analyse.
A brief glance at this snapshot from the ad would hint to you that some body language “expert” has suggested to the cricketer to hold his hands in a steeple during the ad.
Steeple is when we place the fingertips of both hands together, spreading them, and then arching the hands so that the tips of the fingers look like a church steeple. This is a universal display of confidence and is often used by those in a leadership position. The steeple is generally depicted by leaders in the middle of a conversation at points where they are cent percent sure of what they are conveying. Or by presenters at strategic points in their speech. When body language tweaks like the steeple are taught to people who don’t use them, two things need to be kept in mind:
- You replace the person’s existing body language gestures with new ones only if required i.e. if the person is not using the right gestures at the right times
- The gesture should be practiced enough so that it comes naturally to the person, and he or she does not need to purposefully “take on” a particular gesture at any point during their conversation.
From both of the above perspectives, this steeple is not working for Kohli. In an ad that lasts for a very short time on the screen, the creative director could have gotten a better delivery from Kohli had he been allowed to use his natural style of body language. Holding the hands together in a manner he never really does looks not only rehearsed and unnatural on Kohli, but it also takes away an opportunity to illustrate what he is speaking by using more effective gestures.
Take a look at the below ads, beautifully executed by Kohli for the Manyavar brand.
This is Kohli in action, using very effective and natural facial expressions which are completely missing in the previous ad because Kohli is busy focusing on the unrehearsed and unnatural steeple that he has been asked to perform. Also look at the hand gesture. If it is working, why change it?
Here is Kohli once more in action, using an effective precision grip to highlight his point. And at the same time, using other parts of his body as well to participate in his performance – the feet pointing towards the car to show where he wants to go, the eyebrow raise emphasising his dialogue, the hand on car showing possessiveness, to name a few.
There is no one single way of the “right” body language. Ad models, or for that matter even any onscreen performer, should be advised to tweak their style only if they are too monotonous, not very expressive, or unable to bring out their natural style, as in the case of Rahul Dravid in the Cardekho ad which we analysed previously.