The ball of Shane Bond that hit Mahinder Singh Dhoni apart from forcing him out of the IPL for more than a week also hit the brand publicity, as the number of brands that Dhoni endorses would indeed take a hit. It would happen in case of Gautam Gambhir as well.
The moot point here is that is being examined is, whether when the icons who are brand icons for a brand, do not take a field do the brands that they endorse take a hit, and if it does, how do the brand managers compensates for the loss, and what efforts are made by the brand owners, to reposition the brand.
With particular reference to the IPL this premise is being raised, as it is a short term extravaganza, therefore the marketing strategy for brand positioning and brand strategy is, a different game altogether and when the celebrity endorsers take a hit the whole marketing strategy of the brand managers indeed can go for a toss.
The concept can be explained in a much better manner when the example of Tiger Woods is used. Tiger Woods endorsed quite a lot of brands, built after the controversy, the brands that were associated with him have taken serious blow. Or for that matter, let us take the case of David Beckham, who is injured and may not be able to play in the World Cup football tournament.
Sports as a genre was not affected earlier by the celebrity endorsements, however as the commercial interests have got entwined with the sports jambooire, the brand managers indeed are scared out of their wits when the celebrity is injured, as all the media planning goes for the toss.
With IPL becoming a commercial juggernaut, obviously the brand managers would also like to have a stake in the health related issues of the brand endorsers. Does it mean then that a new window would open in the dressing room, and the brand managers would guard this and they would like to keep the players on the toes and fighting fit, so that the image of the brand does not get obliterated?
It could be helpful for the players as well, as an additional watchdog would mean that the players would think twice before indulging in escapades. Brand Managers would also have to factor in stand by endorsees, and it could possibly open endorsements for fringe players, who otherwise do not get the same attention, as the mainstream endorsers do.
By: Suman Rai