Cancer scare: Yuvraj Singh, the brain behind new commercial

Yuvraj Singh

Battling a malignant cancer and unable to get back to the field, Yuvraj Singh's new ad campaign on air appears an extreme case of art imitating life. What's not known is that Yuvraj, in fact, is the inspiration and the brain behind the new series.

It was Yuvraj Singh's idea to recount the recent ups and downs of his life, including his sudden illness, in the latest ad campaign of financial services company Birla Sun Life Insurance. The cricketer even flew down to India three weeks ago to change the word "injury" to "health problems" and added a phrase to the original tag-line in the voice-over of the new series.

Yuvraj, who won the Man of the Series and was instrumental in India winning the cricket World Cup in April last year, was injured and out of the team when the ad was originally shot in October-November 2011. "He mentioned once that he did not get any time to enjoy the moment because of the looming IPL," recounts Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer, financial services, Aditya Birla Group. Soon after the IPL, he fell ill and was eased out of the team.

Birla Sun Life had originally filmed a series with Yuvraj and Virender Sehwag in 2009-10 with the power of bat as the theme. In 2011, however, the company only signed Yuvraj for two years as its "philosophy ambassador" in August. A failing Yuvraj might have appeared a bad bet for a brand but the company feels he was just the right person to endorse what the company sold the fear of unknown. According to one of Yuvraj's managers who worked on the campaign, it was Yuvraj's idea to narrate the sudden turn of events in his real life in the new series that was released last week.

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