New Delhi: Mars International India Pvt. Ltd, the local arm of American chocolate maker Mars Inc., on Monday announced the appointment of cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the new brand ambassador for its chocolate brand Snickers. The brand was earlier endorsed by Bollywood actors like Sonam Kapoor and Rekha.

The company has rolled out a new television commercial, made by advertising agency R.K. Swamy BBDO Pvt. Ltd, featuring Dhoni dressed as a warrior. The 30-second commercial captures a humorous locker room conversation where Dhoni calls upon his teammates to take a pledge to beat the opposing team. This uncharacteristic tirade is finally brought to an end when one of the players reasons that hunger makes even Captain Cool (title given to Dhoni) lose his cool and offers him a bar of Snickers subtly hinting the brand proposition “You are not you when you’re hungry".

Apart from television, the campaign will be supported by digital, in-store and outdoor promotions.

“We are honoured to have M.S. Dhoni join the Snickers family. The brand is loved across the world for its cool quotient and there is no one who personifies this better than our very own Captain Cool. Ever since its launch in the Indian market, Snickers has successfully built upon the philosophy of how you’re not you when you are hungry. With the association of M.S. Dhoni, we are beginning the next chapter of our journey in India and strengthening our relevance amongst Indian consumers," said Yogesh Tewari, marketing director, Mars Wrigley Confectionery.

According to celebrity managers, Dhoni’s brand endorsement deals can be in the range of Rs3-10 crore, depending on the size of the company he is associated with along with the size and duration of the contract. Currently, the cricketer endorses an array of brands across categories, including Exide Life Insurance, Orient Fans, smartphone maker Lava International, automobile firm TVS Motors, liquor brand McDowell’s No. 1, SRMB Steel and health supplement brand Revital H.

Dhoni’s 11-year-long association with PepsiCo India ended in 2016 and he has also been replaced by Indian captain Virat Kohli as the face of GSK-owned malt-based health food drink brand Boost. In January 2017, Dhoni stepped down as India captain from both the 50-over and 20-over formats, paving the way for Kohli to take over as the captain.

“It’s a myth that one needs to reflect the face of the consumer in the brand ambassador. If that would have been the case then Amitabh Bachchan wouldn’t have endorsed such variety of brands many of which are targeted at young consumers. Age is not a factor here. Snickers is an impulse purchase brand category where the storyline of campaigns supersedes the choice of brand ambassador. Dhoni, to my mind, is a perfect fit because Snickers is about staying healthy while snacking. As a brand, it wants to be seen as popular and cool which aligns with the image of Dhoni, who is one of the top players in the country and well respected among the youth," said Manish Porwal, managing director, Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions.

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