Why brands are betting big time on cricket's old-timers

Senior players may have left the pitch a long time ago, but their brand equity stays undiluted and authentic, say experts

by Tanzila Shaikh
Published - November 08, 2023
3 minutes To Read
Why brands are betting big time on cricket's old-timers

Sachin Tendulkar cruising around in a Spinny ad; Rahul Dravid channelling his inner Bachchan in a spot for Farmley; and Kapil Dev being held hostage for Disney+ Hotstar free streaming, there's also the occasional Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Virendra Sehwag if you have been ad watching seriously.

Lately, we've been seeing many oldtimers from cricket headlining ads for major brands. The much-loved retired cricketers have been part of some compelling ad campaigns, which begs the question of whether their equity is truly evergreen. Why else would big-time brands repose their trust in cricket stars who have been away from the pitch for a while? 

Shastri in an ad for Bumble

MS Dhoni and Shastri for Winzo

Chris Gayle and Kapil Dev for Kamlapasand

Kapil Dev "abducted" for Disney+ Hotstar

The term "relevance" is a buzzword in marketing, which explains why overnight viral sensations like Jasmeen Kaur of "Just Like a Wow" fame have been landing endorsement deals. However, cricketers like Dev, Tendulkar and Shastri have long hung up their boots. So why are brands so keen to sign them up?

Aman Gupta, CMO at Farmley which recently associated with Dravid for its ‘The Wall’ campaign, said, “When you go for an ambassador, apart from all other factors, one looks for authenticity. A lot of contemporary stars are active on social media and they have many brand associations, so the brand equity gets diluted vis a vis someone like Dravid or Tendulkar. Their brands have been built over years, they are more robust brands and their brand equity is much more intact because they have been standing by their value for a longer period.” 

“The number of cricketers who are available now, faces are becoming lost other than a few like Shubhman Gill or Rohit Sharma. The faces are not recognizable by the masses. And if you look at older players, they are not out of relevance, they are still active in coaching or other ways. Their recognition would be far more than that of today’s average-level cricketer”, says Chandramouli Nilakantan, CEO, TRA Research. 

According to Mahesh Chauhan, Director of Salt Brands, cricket is no longer a seasonal thing that used to be between October to March. It's an all-year affair and the viewership keeps on increasing. 

He said, “The eyeballs movie stars get is probably around a crore or two but now you can see a single match has received 4.3cr viewership and cricket is a repeat viewing long event. Even the social media following of these former cricket players is far high and you have a year-round campaign with them vs. a celebrity who has three films a year. Cricket is always top of mind thing today.”