Brand Sachin still on strong wicket

19 Mar,2012

Sachin Tendulkar launches G-Hanz Mobile


By Tuhina Anand


India collectively heaved a sigh of relief when Sachin Tendulkar finally reached his 100th 100. The long-chased milestone had become practically a national issue, and had also brought flak on the master blaster, especially speculation about his retirement. Sachin in his illustrious career has not only reached many cricketing milestones but along with that has also become the face of many popular brands in India. He has been seen in the ads of Pepsi, Visa, Aviva Life Insurance, Boost, Adidas, MRF, Britannia, Toshiba and Castrol India among others. In fact, Future Group has co-created the Sach brand along with Tendulkar which has products including toothpaste and bathing bars. The Sach brand proves the icon’s sheer clout, that a brand can be created with a varied range of products, and is considered a viable commercial option.


Talking about brand Sachin, Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman & Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia said, “Brand Sachin is not just about cricket but it’s the persona that comes with the brand which is appealing. Sachin is a non-controversial, family man with high value systems. He is the son, father, husband, friend that one would want to have and his recognition is beyond the nation. He is a total package if one may say in terms of advertising jargon. He is a successful cricketer but along with that he is an endearing personality and therein lies his brand appeal.”


Mr Pandey pointed out that Sachin has been able to last so long in his career and done so well only because he has been able to reinvent himself and adapted to changing times. The truth, after all, is that he is no more an 18-year-old and his reflexes will change with age but he has managed fantastically to adapt himself to this change. “Sachin is special and I can’t really think of any other person from cricket who has created such an impression. Rahul Dravid probably could come a close second. But Sachin is Sachin and beyond comparison. The only other name that comes to my mind who has successfully adapted himself with time is Amitabh Bachchan.”


Looks like the naysayers can keep on debating on Sachin but the masses will continue to hold him in high regard despite the man himself saying: “I am not God, I am Sachin.” Prahlad Kakkar, ad filmmaker and CEO, Genesis Films who has worked with Sachin on many ad films said, “Sachin’s track record is impeccable and his dedication to cricket and the team is firm. His brand value lies in his courage, honesty and sincerity with which he plays. In fact, he is the real gentleman in this gentleman’s game.”


He added, “Sachin is humble to the point of being irritating. There was a time when we had shot an ad with him knocking a ball with a fly swatter. When Sachin saw the final cut he was not happy with the use of the fly swatter and requested us to re-do the shot. We didn’t find anything wrong with the shot but Sachin had a point of view and we respected and understood his view and re-did the sequence. He has no ego and he is clear that the game always remains bigger than him.”


Kakkar said that the Pepsi films, especially the one with the Sachin mask, “Sachin Ala Re”, remains his pick of the best Sachin film.


Hemant Kenkre, former first class cricketer and communications specialist who has had seen Sachin play from close quarters, says that two qualities that stand out in Sachin’s personality is his ability to reinvent and his commitment to the game. Kenkre said, “Sachin delivers and that’s the bottom line. The cynics will be cynics and there will be talks of his retirement but I really can’t think of anyone from the younger lot who can replace him.”


He added, “While people have been talking of the 100th ton, one should remember the 99 100s that he has scored before. I think his not getting the 100 was a minor bump towards this milestone. He is a man who is obsessed with the game and one can easily bank on him. His retirement is a personal issue and it will come the day he stops enjoying the game. In fact, his current brand value can be understood from the fact that his 100th 100 got 5-page coverage in TOI whereas the retirement of Dravid must have got him a one-page dedication!”


So there could be speculation on Sachin getting old for the game, but people in the business vouch for his brand value which still remains consistent. Mustafa Ghouse, Head of Sport, Globosport categorically states that Sachin is still the most sought after cricketer in the country when it comes to endorsements. However, he has a point when he says that the brands that he will attract now will differ and will be for products that appeal to older age group like insurance. For youth brands he might not be appropriate.


Manish Porwal, Managing Director at Alchemist Talent Solutions has a different view on the cricketer’s brand value. He said, “I think this is the first time but in the last two months brand Sachin has taken a beating. There has been criticism all across and this has taken a personal note than remaining professional. So there would have been some loss in terms of potential and revenues that would have come in from endorsements.”


He added, “This however will be temporary. Indians have a skewed sense of loyalty and one success will again put him back on the pedestal. His equity so to say has fallen on account of his performance but this 100th 100 will give him the jolt and become a personal milestone because of so much speculation around it. However, in terms of his long-term brand persona and brand associations one should look at characters for brands that will express long-term maturity and consistency rather than stamina or performance.”


Brand Sachin still remains strong and will remain strong in this cricket-crazy country. However, there is a feeling that the brand may have taken a temporary dip because of all the speculation and pressure on attaining the long-elusive 100th 100. However, the consistent view is confidence in Sachin’s ability to reinvent, hence his moving away from brands appealing to the youth, towards advertisers who look for traits like commitment and consistency. Qualities where Sachin fits the bill perfectly.


Photograph: Fotocorp


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