WOMEN IN BLUE HAVE A NEW BRAND VALUE
Brand and ad experts say that if the team keeps playing well, upswing is certain
On Sunday, the Indian women’s cricket team lost a cliffhanger against England at Lord’s cricket ground, London. But the women in blue won a billion hearts by playing like champions in the tournament. Indian skipper Mithali Raj stated that after this World Cup, women’s cricket in India will “have a brand of its own, and it doesn’t require anything else to support it in promoting the sport”.
Clearly, Mithali hit the nail on its head, as talks become rife that she and her team have attracted the attention of brands from various categories such as financial services, FMCG, and telecom. Reports also suggest that film producers have shown an interest in buying the rights to Mithali’s life story to make a biopic on her.
“Mark my words: it’s going to happen. Yes, it’ll take some time, but the transformation will be much faster than what we’re assuming. Men’s cricket has been taking place for ages now, so it’s unfair to compare them at this stage,” says ad man and film director R. Balki. Brand gurus are confident of a big change. “What’s important is that they [should] perform consistently well and win regularly, like all top stars do,” says ad guru Alyque Padamsee.
As per celebrity brand managers, brands that don’t have deep enough pockets to rope in male cricketers will look at leveraging women cricketers’ brand value — at least for some time. Experts believe that women’s cricket matches need to be in the media spotlight and have to attract constant attention for a stronger brand recall.
“After all, a star’s value goes up only when they perform like a star,” says Padamsee. “How did (Sachin) Tendulkar become a star? By scoring consistent centuries. People as well as brands want to see an athlete perform like a champion.” Padamsee has an interesting point: “For the first time, I have started watching women’s cricket. I’m confident that whoever starts an IPL for women will make a fortune.”