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Cricketers remain unbeaten in advertising field
April 04, 2007 17:26 IST
Most celebrities mellow and fade with age but Indian cricketers never seem to be falling out of favour with corporates, who have bet anything between Rs 250-300 crore on old warhorses Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, for their advertising campaigns.
Though the trio may not make it to the next World Cup, especially after throwing away their chances in the current edition, ad makers feel that their faltering performance would not hurt long term endorsements.
"It will be a very immediate reaction to say a brand like Tendulkar has eroded. If a brand like him was event specific and if one bad performance was to erode his value, then the entire concept of celebrity endorsements will be fallacious," Canon India Vice-President Alok Bharadwaj told PTI.
As such, advertisers have little choice on whom to pick for brand endorsements. If one takes away the cricketers, the number of sportsmen in Indian advertising are few and far between, which leaves only movie stars in the horizon.
Earlier this year, Canon had signed a three-year contract with Tendulkar, who is reported to command an estimated Rs 6-7 crore annual fee per endorsement and has about a dozen such contracts with various brands.
"We've shared a healthy relationship with him (Tendulkar) and see ourselves continuing to do so in future," PepsiCo India Executive Vice President (Marketing) Vipul Prakash said.
Asked if under the present circumstances, where Tendulkar has come under lot of criticism for non-performance, the company would renew his contract if it were to expire now, he said: "Pepsi will not make decisions toward its associations that are based on winning or losing of a match or series."
However, with the game's veterans such as Ian Chappell calling for his retirement, many in the industry believe Tendulkar's stock has gone down and it would be difficult for him to command the same fees.
"His performance has taken a beating and definitely this will be reflected in his endorsements," Percept D'Mark CEO Preeta Singh said.
This is strongly contested by his manager -- Saatchi & Saatchi, whose arm Iconix looks after Tendulkar's business.
"There is no change in the contract we have signed with Tendulkar and the contracts which he has signed with various companies for brand endorsements," Saatchi & Saatchi India Managing Director V Shantakumar said.
S&S had sealed a three-year deal with Tendulkar for a reported Rs 180 crore to manage his business last year.
Unlike Tendulkar, Dravid, who is reported to command an annual fee between Rs 1.5 crore to 2 crore, is on a much more comfortable wicket.
"We are solidly behind him," Bank of Baroda Chairman Anil K Khandelwal said, adding that the bank would retain him.
"Dravid continues to be our brand ambassador and we are proud to have him," he said, adding that one unsuccessful experience would not write off Dravid.
The bank had signed a multi-crore, three year contract with Dravid in 2005 when it went for an image makeover.
Lokesh Sharma, Managing Director of 21st Century Media, which handles Dravid's accounts, said the Indian skipper still holds his ground as far as brand equity is concerned.
As for Ganguly, his comeback performance on-field has had a similar effect off the field, with his fee returning into the crore league. "Ganguly has done well. Compared to 18 months ago, his value has improved a lot," said Singh.
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