With ominous clouds surrounding Sourav Ganguly's role in the national cricket team over the past couple of months, brand Ganguly also seems to be in jeopardy.
Ganguly, who endorsed a total of 10 brands in 2004, has witnessed a slip in his brand equity in 2005. There are no takers currently for the ex-captain as marketers state that he has not been in form for over a year now, post the 2004 Samsung Cup.
Rahul Dravid, on the other hand, seems to be growing steadily with his brand being perceived as a safe bet. What is interesting is that while Ganguly has not been signed on by any advertiser in the recent past, Dravid has already managed to wrangle two more brands into his kitty this summer - Bank of Baroda and Max New York Life Insurance.
So, the question is whether brand Ganguly's lifecycle is at its fag end or is this just a blip on the radar? And, whether brand Dravid is going to get hotter? While brand Ganguly went through a revolution, brand Dravid saw an evolution.
According to brand analysts, while Ganguly's core value stood for aggressive leader and batsmen, Dravid was synonymous with consistent good performance. "When a brand starts defocussing, then the brand starts getting affected. It is imperative for a brand to keep enhancing its brand value and adapt to diverse forms to allow the brand to keep growing," voices Jagdip Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika marketing consultants.
According to Kapoor, brand Dravid was very adept at adapting to form. While in 1999, he was touted at the best batsmen, he then went on to become a good performer and then a consistent good performer, Thereafter, Dravid managed to perform in all capacities of cricket. "This went on to enhance his brand value," adds Kapoor.
According to Meenakshi Madhwani, managing director Spatial Access, "Dravid has always been very appealing as a person and a cricketer. Secondly, he has managed to stay clean, sans any controversy. While Dravid will never have the panache of a Tendulkar, he might increase his fee as he is a smart cricketer and a smart businessman."
In the case of Ganguly, his brand grew owing to his aggressive style and also because of the way in which he pro-actively attacked the enemy camp. So, while Dravid achieved credibility status, Brand Ganguly achieved celebrity status. Kapoor although states that when advertisers measure a brand value, credibility lasts longer.
Brand Ganguly was at its peak in 2003 at the Natwest Trophy in England, where Ganguly got his shirt off and stylishly flung it. Indian cricket for the first time has witnessed a captain with an attitude; an attitude that struck a chord with cricket fans across India.
As a result, in 2003, Ganguly was the brand endorser for 12 brands across 19 commercials. In 2004, the ratio pretty much sustained with 10 brands across 18 commercials according to statistics provided by Adex India.
According to Shailendra Singh, managing director, Sahara India Entertainment Management Company, "Our clients who have Ganguly as a brand ambassador are on pause mode. We have no harsh reactions yet, but Ganguly will have to come back to consolidate its brand position. Although we have a minimum guarantee of Rs 10 crores (Rs 100 million) with Ganguly every year, and we have managed to achieve it consecutively for the last two years."
Coming to television spends on both Ganguly and Dravid, in 2003 the average monthly estimated spend on Ganguly was Rs 0.87 crore, which went up to Rs 1.35 crore (Rs 135 million) in 2004 and now in 2005, it stands at Rs 0.14 crore.
Dravid, on the other hand, in 2003 garnered an average monthly spend of Rs 0.98 crore, a marginal Rs 0.99 crore in 2004 and a significant jump in 2005 at Rs 1.35 crore, according to data provided by Adex India.
While Ganguly today charges a Rs 1.35 crore on an average a year for endorsing a brand, Dravid apparently garners anywhere from Rs 1 to 1.5 crore (Rs 10-15 million), according to estimates.
"Brand Ganguly is definitely on the decline. But in my opinion Dravid is currently at his peak, of course with him taking on the captain's role, one will probably observe a marginal blip upwards in his rates." Adds Punita Arumugam, CEO, Madison Media Group.
Arumugam also said that though Ganguly was not so hot as of now, he will very much a face in the advertising world with smaller brands. For Ganguly now, the ad fraternity seems to by shying away from him, as marketers are always wary of controversies.
"Brand Ganguly, in my opinion, will re-emerge in 6 to 8 months. The brand thus far has been a market leader and this is just a temporary blip," said Ravi Shankar, marketing analyst, Frequency Retail India.
A marketer also stated that while Dravid as a brand ambassador was dependable, he did not trigger the same charisma and attitude as Ganguly.
Validates a celebrity management head, "No one can match Ganguly as a brand ambassador when he is in form. Ganguly in his element is a delight to work with."
That apart, how brand Ganguly shapes up also depends on brand Dravid. While most industry experts stated that Dravid's best is yet to come, the fact is that a lot depends on his performance as a strategist.
From an advertiser's point of view, majority state that there is a lot of potential and juice left for brand Dravid and advertisers, who get him on board now, will be benefit the most.
For brand Ganguly, the next six months is the most critical. By April 2006, Ganguly needs to restage and repackage himself to be back with a bang in the advertising market, before spends are frozen by companies.Adds Shanker, "Ganguly still has a good 3-4 years before he is phased out as a brand. Dravid is in the midst of a growth cycle and is yet to reach his peak. Brand Dravid is emerging as a challenger to the market leader and will stay put for the next three years."