Indian cricketers are perhaps the biggest advertising brands in the game. They are the most recognised cricketing faces across the globe. Fans often associate products with the cricketers who endorse them. Virat Kohli is currently the biggest cricketing brand in the world. He is on par with most of the movie celebs when it comes to endorsements. Look at Four Cricketers In The New CRED Ads.
The evolution of ads with Indian cricket:
Farookh Engineer was the first Indian cricketer to join the advertisement bandwagon. He endorsed Brylcreem back in the day. Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, and Mohammad Azharuddin were all popular faces. But the advertisement industry hit the roof when Sachin Tendulkar entered the scene.
Sachin-the game’s first big brand:
Sachin was synonymous with Indian cricket in the 90s. His association with brands like MRF, Boost, and Pepsi was legendary. Mark Mascarenhas signed an INR 100 crore deal with Sachin in 1998. It changed the game for the advertisement industry. People from the age of 6-60 related with Sachin. Hence these brands skyrocketed with his presence in the ads. Tendulkar remains a force to reckon with even now.
There were many brands that focused on team bonding. Their ads were directed at channelling the chemistry between the players. Kingfisher was one of the earlier companies to create an ad around this concept. Their ad featured prominent cricketers like Sourav Ganguly and Ajay Jadeja. Britannia too developed a similar ad campaign albeit it was a bit more extensive. Batsmen like Ganguly, Jadeja, Rahul Dravid, and Robin Singh went on to even use Britannia-sponsored bats.
The Sahara and the Hero ads:
Sahara group hit a perfect note when they capitalised on India’s dream run in the 2003 World Cup. Their properties like Ambi Valley got a major fillip owing to their association based with Indian cricketers. Hero group focused on a peculiar ’20 saal baad campaign’ evoking strong nostalgia comparing 1983 and 2003. The childhood stories of Indian cricketers were depicted as part of the campaign. The audience took a great liking to the concept.
Rahul Dravid’s iconic persona:
Rahul Dravid who was a measured cricketer throughout his life was a different beast when it came to ads. The MTV youth icon of the year in 2004 was a very popular brand figure in ad circles. Dravid’s cult status remains intact even after 9 years of his retirement. His selflessness, humility, discipline are the virtues that brands keep focusing on.
The shocking twist in Rahul Dravid story:
CRED, an Indian fintech company became the official sponsor for the IPL (2020-22). The deal was worth INR 120 crores. They leveraged this deal to crack ad campaigns with celebrated Indian cricketers. CRED milked the Dravid brand to the hilt in an unexpected way. The ad showcasing an angry Dravid piqued everyone’s attention. CRED grabbed plenty of eyeballs for such a quirky ad.
The Venkaboys ad that brought back the 90s:
CRED upped their game in the next ad. They brought back understated Indian cricketers from the 90s. The campaign showcased them in an altogether different light. Venkatesh Prasad, the brilliant Indian seamer was seen leading a fictional boy band in the ad. The likes of Javagal Srinath, Maninder Singh, and Saba Karim were the other 3 members of this ad. Dressed in all whites (few in shorts) these veteran cricketers hit it out of the park with their brilliant rendition of the 90s being the original thing. Their ad left many cricketers in splits. Cricketers took to social platforms to praise the ad.
" Meet the Venkaboys " pic.twitter.com/ELkcpb9sxt
— Venkatesh Prasad (@venkateshprasad) May 1, 2021
CRED’s campaign featuring four cricketers in an ad proved to be a masterstroke.