India's Olympic champs — Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal — may have had to settle for a bronze or a silver at the London Olympics, but advertisers back home have found in them a gold mine of brand endorsers.
While shuttler and endorsement veteran Saina's fee has shot up post-Olympics from Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1 crore, advertisement greenhorns Gagan, Vijay and Mary are not doing too badly either.
Samsung, one of the global sponsors for the 2012 Olympics, has already signed up Gagan and Mary, apart from Saina, under its Olympic Ratna brand association programme.
IT company Milagrow HumanTech is in consultation with shooter Gagan for a special edition of PCs and robots.Santosh Desai, managing director, Future Brands, feels advertisers will cash in on Mary's "super-woman image".
The regular endorsement fee of Indian athletes ranges between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh, depending on brand presence.
"The Olympic wins will boost their remuneration by at least 30-45%. Gagan Narang, who opened India's account in London, may rake in anything between Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 50 lakh per endorsement," says Bunty Sajdeh, CEO of Cornerstone Sports and Entertainment, the agency that also manages cricketer Yuvraj Singh's endorsement deals.
Brand Olympics got its booster dose in 2008 after shooter Abhinav Bindra's gold in Beijing.
Four years later, the brand worth has nearly doubled, according to a study by UK-based brand consultancy, Brand Finance.
"Ever since Saina won, the flow of brand enquiries is unstoppable. I have kept all deals and negotiations on hold," says H Manjula, media coordinator of Deccan Chargers Sporting Ventures, the company that handles Nehwal's brand engagements.
Experts predict that while Saina is likely to clinch the television ads, Mary and Gagan will get more offers from print and radio.
"Small brands who cannot afford cricketers will try to get them (the first-timers)," points out Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO, Brand-Comm, a brand consultancy.