Hardik Pandya could seemingly do nothing wrong this IPL, leading debutante team Gujarat Titans to a title win.
Dhruv Jha, Co-head, Mediabrands Content Studio (MBCS) India; Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and former Marketing Head of HP Asia-Pacific; and Indrajeet Mookherjee, Managing Partner, dentsu MB reflect on how his performance as player and captain will impact his endorsement fortunes. And also, on whether IPL stardom is as rewarding in endorsement terms as achievements in the Indian blue jersey.
Will leading Gujarat Titans to an IPL title win boost Hardik Pandya’s endorsement fortunes?
Dhruv Jha: Definitely. Hardik will be looked at by many brands; he is a flamboyant personality and will do well for brands targeting youth.
Llyod Mathias: Hardik Pandya not only led from the front, he played a key role in Gujarat Titans winning the IPL in their very first year of formation. The skipper had a fantastic season with the bat ending as the team’s highest scorer with 487 runs. He also chipped in with the ball picking up 8 wickets in the tournament in total. The all-rounder also won the man of the match award for his outstanding performance in the final.
Naturally, this would make Hardik a prime candidate for endorsement and would certainly boost his prospects. His happy-go-lucky extroverted personality and his sharp captaincy skills will also help his image.
Indrajeet Mookherjee: Hardik’s had a dream run in this year’s Tata IPL, where he led a debut team from the front and aced the leadership test. With this, Pandya, who has been on and off in the Indian cricket team, is now being tipped as a viable candidate to helm the responsibilities of captaincy and being an integral part of the Indian team. This opens up doors to lucrative endorsement deals.
Hardik who is currently endorsing eight brands (Oppo, Boat, to name a few) can certainly look forward to adding more endorsement deals to his kitty once he is back in the India blues.
Is IPL stardom as rewarding (in endorsement terms) as achievements in the Indian blue jersey?
Dhruv Jha: IPL makes short-term heroes but the Indian team is the real recognition; it gives a class-apart pedestal and such stars will certainly be looked at by advertising and brands for the future!
Lloyd Mathias: As one of the most popular global sporting leagues, IPL stardom is very rewarding for any sportsperson. Of course, a place in the Indian team will always be any Indian sports person’s ultimate objective, and a place in the side will be a lot more rewarding in endorsement terms.
Indrajeet Mookherjee: In India, there is no sport that is as rewarding for its players as cricket. It opens up multiple opportunities. Having said that, IPL stars can rarely convert their performances in the league to equivalent endorsement deals.
If one were to look at some of the key players across the franchises, they have fantastic records and have been consistent over a period of time in their franchises. But their lack of presence in the blue jersey keeps them out of viable marketing strategies for most brands and categories.
Playing for the country is what separates the ‘men from the boys’ and brands often look for a cricketer who not only has stature but needs to have a strong connect and fan following across the country.