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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Brand it like Tendulkar

Kushal Phatarpekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, November 16, 2013
First Published: 00:13 IST(16/11/2013) | Last Updated: 00:36 IST(16/11/2013)

It was in 1989 that a young curly-haired Sachin Tendulkar first came to prominence in the Indian brand space after an appearance in a commercial for an energy drink with Kapil Dev. 

Since then he has gone on to bag a plethora of brands through his career spanning 24 years. It is said that Tendulkar’s rise and that of India’s economic growth has coincided to a large extent. As India opened up to commercialism, so did a lot of companies took stock of India’s market potential. One winner in this process was Tendulkar, a prodigy, who lived up to nearly all expectations.

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Coupled with a humble personality, ploughed in a typical middle-class upbringing, Tendulkar to many was the epitome of an above-average Indian -- smart, hardworking and with a resolve that could shake the world if given a chance.

Brand Sachin in many ways was the seed that gave birth to the sports-branding module in the Indian ad-space.

Inspiration

According to Vinod Naidu, general manager of World Sport Group (WSG), who manages Tendulkar’s commercial interests, the essence of Tendulkar’s brand is ‘inspiration’.

Speaking at a recent event in the city, Naidu stressed that Brand Sachin was based in an idea which defines his character and not something that has any bearing on his retirement.

“When we looked at Sachin, we looked at him in two parts, one on the field and other off it where he was good son, great husband,“ Naidu said. “Most brands associate with Sachin based on his personal traits like reliability, humility, power, even a brand like Coca Cola relates to the philanthropist in him.

Spotting potential

“He is also a person, whose career has evolved along with the country’s growth. In many ways he is an inspiration that has transcended generations,” Naidu added. Tendulkar’s Brand story began in the 1990s and it was WSG’s Mark Mascarenhas, who saw potential in the sporting spectrum in the country.

“Sachin’s rise came at a time when the media industry was mushrooming in the country. I believe if you can expose people on television, you can turn that in a brand,” Naidu said.

A major component that the Sachin’s brand has succeeded along the years is its penetration to different generations. Even youngsters today still feel a sense of inspiration through Tendulkar’s many achievements. While the some might say it is on the slide, Tendulkar continues to enjoy a sizeable following on social networks.

However a question mark still remains, over Brand Sachin’s ability to sustain itself after the master bids adieu.

According to Naidu though, like Tendulkar’s longevity on the field, his brand too has the legs to tread forward. “The great attribute of Brand Sachin is his longevity and I feel it will go past his retirement as well. We have always thought about his retirement beyond the player on the field and what after. There new contracts that we are looking forward to,” he said.

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