Do you make a dash for the TV whenever Virat Kohli or Sachin Tendulkar is on? Are you looking out for them on the playing field, or in an ad, drinking Boost or any popular drink? Do you see way too many of the cricketers off the field and not enough on the field? Or does all this really matter?
The reverence that most Indians have for cricket goes well afar the fact that they enjoy the game itself. Cricket has become a metaphor for recreation, religion, and even politics. But beyond all, the Indian Diaspora around the world tunes in to follow their favourite cricketers. These cricket celebrities hold more appeal for some Indians than many Bollywood stars. But does this validate the cricketers endorsing a multitude of products, simply because they can count on their fans watching?
Doubling up as Brand Ambassadors
Many of our favourite players earn megabucks through product endorsements. One speculates then, do our cricket heroes continue to play because they love the game, Or simply because a celebrity status is a sure way to rake in the millions through advertising contracts? Why is there so much resentment if cricketers are paid to endorse products? Whenever the team does badly, their advertising contracts are blamed, but when they are on a roll, no one seems to think that they spend too much time modelling! Sportspeople all over the world endorse products and no one is complaining, so why grudge our cricketers the extra money that they can earn during their short-lived careers? Because let’s face it, even the best cricketers can’t play beyond the age of forty.
Does your brand need a cricketer?
In an era where brand endorsement is an alternative career for almost every other cricketer, brands lose their exclusivity when each one of them opts for the same cricketer but on the other hand, many brands have built an excellent brand value on the basis of their cricketer brand endorsers.
But one needs to understand that overusing cricketers for brand endorsements is as hazardous as misusing them. It makes sense for a cricketer to endorse sports products, lifestyle products, apparels, etc. but it baffles the audience when cricketers turn out for cosmetics, confectioneries, common cold medicines and even sanitary napkins (unless it’s a female cricketer!)
What does the future hold?
Judging by the modelling careers of our current cricket heroes, what can we expect from the future breed of cricketers? The Indian cricket team already faces a lot of heat when the matches are lost. These defeats are considered as a loss of national pride more than just a routine ‘defeat’. But given that the individual cricketers have a financially successful life outside of cricket, losing the game for them does not mean a real downswing in their fast-paced, endorsement laden careers.