Gan­guly pow­ers down the en­dorse­ment pitch

With Tet­ley, Es­silor and other brands seek­ing him out, Gan­guly is the high­est paid en­dorser among re­tired crick­eters

Business Standard - - FRONT PAGE - URVI MALVANIA Mum­bai, 26 Fe­bru­ary

With Tet­ley, Es­silor and other brands seek­ing him, he is the high­est­paid en­dorser among re­tired crick­eters, writes URVI MALVANIA

Among the rare crick­eters to strike it big on the en­dorse­ments track well af­ter re­tire­ment, Sourav Gan­guly is not only draw­ing in the big brands but has also beaten for­mer team­mate Sachin Ten­dulkar on the rank­ing ta­bles. With his re­cent en­dorse­ment for Tet­ley Dada, as he is pop­u­larly known, has eight brands in the bag and charges between ~1-1.5 crore for a four to five day en­gage­ment a year. He ranks third on the list of( play­ing) crick­eteren­dorse rs, al­though his fees are sig­nif­i­cantly lower than stars Vi­rat Kohli and MS Dhoni who charge between ~8-12 crore a year.

Gan­guly was much sought af­ter even when he was in the team with brands like Tata Café and Hero Honda under his belt. Who can for­get him awk­wardly shak­ing a leg with Hrithik Roshan in the Hero Honda ad? In his hey­day, brands pur­sued him for his ag­gres­sion and abil­ity to fight back. To­day he is seen as a pop­u­lar am­bas­sador of a game that has mass ap­peal. His ap­peal has also gone up with women and chil­dren, es­pe­cially af­ter his ap­pear­ance on pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion shows in Ben­gal.

Gan­guly’s brands in­clude re­gional and na­tional com­pa­nies. He en­dorses every­thing from smart­phones and lap­tops to tea and in­stead of get­ting him to shake a leg or mouth too many lines, the ads are play­ing on his present im­age of be­ing a states­man of the game say ex­perts. His pop­u­lar­ity, es­pe­cially in Ben­gal, is also draw­ing the brands in.

Gan­guly formed part of what is called the golden quar­tet of In­dian cricket along with Sachin Ten­dulkar, VVS Lax­man and Rahul Dravid. While Gan­guly was the first to re­tire (2008) and Ten­dulkar the last (2013), the south­paw has had a longer (and more re­ward­ing) in­nings in the en­dorse­ment game. He is the face of Tata’s Tet­ley brand for its green tea and DTDC’s lat­est cam­paigns. He has been with Es­silor lenses, Senco Gold, and Burn­pur Ce­ment among oth­ers for some time now. He is also the face of sev­eral real es­tate projects in West Ben­gal.

What has worked in Gan­guly’s favour is that he has not faded from pub­lic view even af­ter re­tire­ment. “Gan­guly didn’t go into hi­ber­na­tion. Even af­ter he re­tired from the IPL, he was in­volved through the CAB (Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion of Ben­gal) and an­chored TV shows. In Ben­gal he is as pop­u­lar as some of the big­gest movie stars from the state, so he makes sense for a lot of brands (to want to hire him),” says Indranil das Blah, part­ner and COO at CAA KWAN, a sports and celebrity man­age­ment com­pany.

Gan­guly is a pop­u­lar com­men­ta­tor and an­chor of shows like Dada­giri (Zee Bangla) and a Ben­gali adap­ta­tion of the pop­u­lar Kaun Banega Crorepati pro­gramme. The shows have brought him wide recog­ni­tion and in­creased his na­tioanl ap­peal.

“Sourav has been an ex­cep­tional sportsper­son. To­day, even though he is not an ac­tive sportsper­son, he still faces the pres­sure of ‘su­per hu­man’ ex­pec­ta­tions that peo­ple have,” says Sushant Dash, re­gional pres­i­dent (In­dia), Tata Global Bev­er­ages. Tet­ley has as­so­ci­ated with Gan­guly for their ‘Su­per Green Teas’ in In­dia, which Dash be­lieves will be a big growth driver for the cat­e­gory. The ads were first re­leased on­line, on YouTube, Face­book, Hot­star and some health and well­ness fo­rums. “We are also do­ing print ads and are ex­plor­ing on­ground ac­ti­va­tion as well,” Dash adds.

Jagdip Kapoor of Sam­sika Mar­ket­ing feels that his rel­e­vance fac­tor is also high. “He com­mands ge­o­graph­i­cal rel­e­vance in Ben­gal, he has lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, his ca­reer marks his in­ge­nu­ity as a strate­gist and he in­spires trust. He is what I would call a valu­able en­dorser at a rea­son­able rate. I feel this is the time for him to up his rates!” says Kapoor.

The in­dus­try pegs Gan­guly’s fees at ~20-25 lakh a day for a com­mit­ment of four to five days a year. This is what cur­rent play­ers, Ro­hit Sharma and R Ash­win charge and more than what Shikhar Dhawan com­mands. Of course, he does not come close to what MS Dhoni (~8 to 10 crore a year) and Vi­rat Kohli (~10 to 12 crore a year) bring in. But if one com­pares Gan­guly with the crop of re­tired play­ers, he is leagues ahead. VV Lax­man never re­ally boarded the en­dorse­ment brand wagon, Dravid has con­sciously stepped away to fo­cus on coach­ing and Ten­dulkar, charges around Rs 75 lakh a year. When he was play­ing, Ten­dulkar drew close to ~6 crore a year.

Kapoor be­lieves that Brand Gan­guly has a long life ahead, but das Blah does not agree. “It is quite clear he is se­ri­ous about a ca­reer in cricket ad­min­is­tra­tion. If that is the case, once he is part of the BCCI, he won’t be able to en­dorse a lot of brands if there is a con­flict of in­ter­est. So like they say, he should make hay while the sun shines,” he says.

PHOTO:REUTERS

BRAND POWER En­dorser Fees per year per brand (~cr) Vi­rat Kohli 10-12 MS Dhoni 8-10 Sourav Gan­guly 1-1.5 R Ash­win 1.25 - 1.5 Suresh Raina 1-1.5 Ro­hit Sharma 1- 1.5 Shikhar Dhawan 0.75-1 Sachin Ten­dulkar 0.7-0.75 Source: In­dus­try es­ti­mates

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