MakeMyTrip's India-Pakistan match ad grabs attention; receives both flak and flattery

The brand's TOI print ad became a breeding ground for scrutiny with some considering it to be a 'fun banter' and others claiming it to be in 'bad taste'. But what added to the heat was the dig taken by competitor ClearTrip and Brand Homestays and Villas denying association with the ad

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MakeMyTrip's India-Pakistan match ad grabs attention; receives both flak and flattery

If Cricket, as is said and believed, is truly a religion in India, what unites us all Indians as much as the feeling of nationalism or even patriotism that kicks in during the IndiaVsPakistan Match.

This time around, while the ad world was spending big on various ad slots and spots for D-day, what stole away the show was the MakeMyTrip Print Ad that ran across the front pages of multiple city editions of Times Of India’s entertainment daily.

Conceptualised by Enormous Brands for MMT Homestays and Villas, the ad, for both good and bad sides, has gained massive attention from almost everybody in the marketing and advertising fraternity for its rendition of various iconic dialogues by Pakistan Cricket Team’s Captains over the past couple years into coupon codes for Pakistanis who arrived in India to view the much-awaited match.

While some call it a bold move from the brand and a fun ad encapsulating the exuberant banter for the match, others term it to be in bad taste or to be lacking sportsmanship, what could’ve really made the ad go south was if India had lost the match, but because the stars were in India’s favour, the streak of winning an IndiaVsPakistan Match for ICC Men's and Women's ODI World Cups continued for 12th year straight.

Here’s what the Print Ad actually read-


Cricket Icon, Virender Sehwag also took notice of the ad and posted about it on X, formerly Twitter, “Na Ishq mein na Pyaar mein. Jo mazza hai Pakistan ki haar mein. Aise kaun invite karta hai yaar ;) Sahi khel gaye MMT!”

Similarly, several members of the advertising fraternity also took to LinkedIn to share their two cents on the ad. They not only engaged by the ad by posting about it but took to the comments sections of the pre-existing posts to share their views on it.

But all said and done, the ad literally went viral even before the match could begin and gathered the eyeballs of many, with all the right and wrong reasons, so much so that it overtook the match’s prominence as well.

Here’s what various industry professionals had to say about the ad:

Adding to the fury surrounding the ad was another topical from MakeMyTrip’s competitor brand who reaped the benefits of the social media banter created by MMT’s print ad.

Soon the world noticed ClearTrip’s ad and began drawing a line of comparison between two of their approaches.

It was only a matter of time before Ashish Khazanchi, Managing Partner, Enormous Brands, himself took a stand on their approach for the ad and issued a clarification. To do the same, he took to LinkedIn to mention, “The English-speaking world in India yesterday was divided into two groups. People who loved our ad and people who are on LinkedIn.”

“When we were making the print ad we were making it for the likes of the millions of people in front of their TVs yesterday. Sports fanatics but possibly not purists. And that's not a bigoted or disrespectful India. It's the fun-loving average Indian and there for the joy of it and possibly, not quite the men in white flannels cricket used to be. We knew that the ad would get some traction but the fact that it will generate more keystrokes than the match itself, was something we'd never in our wildest dreams imagined,” he stated.

It was after this that Brand Homestays and Villas posted about how they had no affiliation with ‘this absolutely disgraceful advertisement’ rolled out by MakeMyTrip, whilst mentioning that they are not serving their property to Pakistan citizens” and started whole other banter on discrimination.

Times of India Cleartrip MakeMyTrip print ad Cricket World Cup Ashish Khazanchi match India vs Pakistan Enormous Brands Distateful ad fun banter social media scrutiny Brand Homestays and Villas