Late recovery doesn't 'ad' up to cricket

If India thrash Sri Lanka, they?ll be back in demand with advertisers, writes Sonal Srivastava.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2005 17:29 IST

They may be pummelling Sri Lanka right now, but their of-late recovered winning streak doesn’t ‘ad’ up to much for Indian cricketers. Reeling under the spate of recent losses as well as the loss of form of some of our top stars, Team India isn’t exactly the brand that advertisers are gunning for.

A quick check shows that most of our top cricketing stars have hardly been signed up for any new modelling assignments of late. “You need to perform and keep winning for the money to keep pouring in,” says Sanjay Kacker, branch head, Percept D’Mark. He should know: Percept manages Sourav Ganguly, whose modelling fortunes have clearly dwindled post his loss of form.

Beyond performance, there are other reasons too for the slump in cricketing endorsements, feels Latika Khaneja, director, Collage Sports, the firm that manages Virender Sehwag’s assignments. “The World Cup is in 2006 and there are no major events in the offing,” she says. “Cricketers may not get the desired price at the moment.”

Bollywood, India’s other pop religion apart from cricket, is also a cause. “New icons like John Abraham provide an alternative. Besides, Sania Mirza’s popularity has given a new option to advertisers.”

“The timing is an important factor,” feels Kartikeya Rao of 21st Century Media. “Cola brands, for instance, don’t go for sportsmen if their launch of a new ad-film doesn’t coincide with a good ongoing series.”

Admen have their own perspective. “Advertisers worship success. Since the cricket team was not performing well till before the Lanka series, the ad-world lost interest in them,” says ad guru Alyque Padamsee. “Worldwide, the image of all sportspersons except David Beckham is dependent on their form. Beckham is like Amitabh Bachchan, who succeeds even when he isn’t doing too well.”

Says adman Prahlad Kakkar: “It’s only a matter of time before Indian cricketers bounce back with new modelling assignments. For the average Indian, they are real heroes after all.”

Kakkar has a point. All is not lost for our cricketers. While the image of most senior players (with the exception of Mr Consistent Rahul Dravid) has taken a beating, the young guns like MS Dhoni and Irfan Pathan are still getting endorsement deals. “Dhoni has just been signed by Reebok and Pepsi,” informs Yudhajit Dutta of GamePlan, which manages the Indian wicketkeeper’s projects. And Yuvraj Singh has recently modelled for Parachute hair oil and Hero Honda bikes. For Pathan, a major motorcycle deal is in the offing.

First Published: Oct 30, 2005 03:13 IST