WhatsApp and Star Sports Celebrate ‘Inner Circle’ of Indian Sports Stars


Earlier this month, Star Sports partnered with WhatsApp to create a bespoke branded content series, The Inner Circle, to celebrate the ‘inner circle’ of people who help sports stars thrive. and to grow, on and off the pitch. The series is part of WhatsApp’s current #MessagePrivately campaign and features prominent sports figures such as Shreyas Iyer, Mirabai Chanu, Sania Mirza, PR Sreejesh and Deepa Malik, sharing their stories through free conversations with the host, Abish Mathew. The series will air on Star Sports channels and Star Sports’ YouTube with amplification on their social networks, offering an invisible glimpse into the inner circles of these famous sports icons.

Speaking of the insight behind this unique activation, Avinash Pant, Marketing Director, India says, “WhatsApp believes that we all need to be assured of our own personal space and that privacy is an important part of our lives that helps support growth and bring people together. It is no different for public figures and celebrities. When we launched our campaign, of which this activation is a part, we showed how we provide a private and secure environment for people to thrive both personally and professionally. When we looked at the platforms to engage with, we considered sports in India to go beyond cricket. The idea was to give a glimpse of the closeness these players share with the special people in their lives, who are also in a way their safe space. These are the people who provide our sports stars with a private and safe space to share their thoughts, aspirations, dreams and fears without any judgment. ”

The series gives insight into some of the most important people in the lives of these champions. For example, the first episode lets viewers learn more about the bond Indian cricketer ShreyasIyer shares with his sister, Shresta, who helps him thrive on and off the pitch as well. He also observes that the series highlights the very important role WhatsApp plays in supporting these important relationships for Indian sports stars. It puts into perspective how natural it is for a person to reach out to the important people in their life through the safe and private space provided by WhatsApp. The series also subtly illustrates how any WhatsApp messages, calls or video calls can be made with complete privacy and security.

This content partnership was executed by Mindshare, building on the idea that people in the spotlight, just like other human beings, also need a safe place to express their opinions and share their dreams without fear of fear. ‘to be judged. Explaining how this series of content was a perfect initiative for the brand, Amin Lakhani, COO Mindshare, South Asia says, “If you think about it, any time you need to confide in someone or talk to someone, your go-to platform is WhatsApp. You would likely send a message, call, or video call to people around you when you want to talk about something private. The integration has been subtle and the conversations are at the center of each episode. These stars talk about the way they “WhatsApp” to their close friend or relative, making the brand almost synonymous with communication. Through this series, Lakhani notes how the agency has highlighted the very important role that WhatsApp plays in the lives of these stars, much like in the lives of ordinary people.

The very fact that the series provides a platform for these untold stories of famous sports stars has captivated viewers, as Pant points out. “The digital ecosystem has responded very well to this. Very rarely, people have seen what goes on behind the life of a sports star through the prism of those around them. The stories beautifully show how those in the inner circle are the catalyst and the driving force that keeps these athletes going. It’s also a wonderful reminder to viewers that these stars are humans after all, and that’s what makes this series so relevant. From an audience perspective, we’ve seen some fantastic reactions and we’ve already passed 100,000 views for our first episode and the trajectory has been similar for the other episodes as well. From a media perspective, Star Sports was the perfect fit for this series, as Pant notes: “When Mindshare recommended Star Sports, we agreed that they were the natural platform to bring these stories to life because that Star Sports knew about these athletes and their stories. In addition, Star, with its broadcast expertise, also enjoys immense respect from the public. He adds that the goal was not to choose athletes based on their popularity or to seek out viral content, but rather to tell stories of those who support their dreams and strike a chord with viewers in doing so. .

An association with Star Sports also means that brand reach and resonance can be developed through the broadcaster’s targeted audiences. While on social media each of these personalities also share content, much of it will amplify the series on Star Sports social media. You can see a fair amount of responses, where people are genuinely moved by the relationships these stars share with their close friends and family around them.

Four episodes of the series have already been released and can be viewed here. The latest episode featuring hockey star PR Sreejesh will be released this Friday.

  • Shreyas Iyer with his sister, Shrestha Iyer

  • Mirabai Chanu and Coach Vijay

  • Deepa Malik and her daughter, Devika Malik

  • Sania Mirza and her sister, Anam Mirza

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