WOMEN IN BLUE HAVE A NEW BRAND VALUE

Brand and ad ex­perts say that if the team keeps play­ing well, up­swing is cer­tain

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Prashant Singh prashant.singh@htlive.com

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.”

PHOTO: PRAMOD THAKUR/HT

PHOTO: RUI VIEIRA/AP

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