Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar is all set to hang up his boots, but brand managers across categories are working the numbers to see how they can extend their association with the cricketer.
Boost, the chocolate-flavoured malt drink from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, India, has been associated with Tendulkar for close to 24 years. The firm wants to wait to see how the brand can fit into Tendulkar’s plans after he retires. “It has never been about celebrating the milestones, but more so about celebrating the journey… Once this is done (Tendulkar’s last Test match), and he has had a chance to think through what he would like to do, we will sit down with him and see where Boost can fit into his plans,” said Jayant Singh, executive vice-president of marketing.
Tendulkar, who announced his retirement from international cricket last month and is playing his final Test match (it started on 14 November), has ruled the roost of endorsements for two decades, selling everything from pens to inverters to real estate. Forbes pegged Tendulkar’s earnings at $22 million as at June. Of this, prize money and earnings accounted for $4 million, and endorsements accounted for a lion’s share of his income at $18 million.
Sports brand Adidas, too, is keen to continue its association with Tendulkar.
“We have shared a fantastic 16-year-long partnership with Sachin and celebrated every landmark achievement like billions of his fans around the world... (And) while he will play his final test match in the three stripes, he will continue to guide and mentor team Adidas forever,” said Tushar Goculdas, brand director, Adidas India. Three stripes is a trademark of Adidas.
Luminous Power Technologies renewed its contract with Tendulkar earlier this year for the next three years, although it was clear to many that the 40-year-old cricketer was heading to retirement. The Delhi-based firm first signed him up in 2010. “The retirement came as a surprise to us and we wish he would continue… For us as an organization, Sachin Tendulkar is a legend and will always stay relevant (as a brand) for his contribution to the game, as well his humility, which makes him so loved,” said Manish Pant, managing director, Luminous, which is launching a limited edition series of inverters to commemorate Tendulkar’s 200th Test match.
Marketing experts say that after Tendulkar’s retirement from active cricket, the nature of the proposed deals for him may change. “The kind of brands he endorses will change. This may mean less performance-oriented categories such as sportswear and equipment and a migration towards categories that are more stable and targeted towards an older audience,” said Indranil Das Blah, chief operating officer, Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd. “These would include categories such as finance, insurance and real estate that are more relevant to a 30-year plus audience.”
He expects the cricketer to also forge associations with slightly more expensive and aspirational brands.
“Having said that, I have no doubt a lot of mass brands will look to associate with Tendulkar, considering he is one of the few celebrities who has 100% recognition pan-India, not just across geographies but also demographics,” said Blah.