Defeats devalue Brand Dhoni; Yuvraj, Kohli escape unscathed

Some brands may even rework their contracts if Dhoni is removed as captain.

New Delhi: The string of recent losses can cost MS Dhoni and his boys dear, literally.

Media analysts, brand experts and sports marketing agencies say the capitulation of the Indian cricket team first against England and now at the hands of arch rivals Pakistan will reduce their endorsement rates by at least 20%.

Dhoni could be worst hit and some brands may even rework their contracts if he is removed as captain.

“I am afraid Dhoni’s endorsement values may fall over 50% if he is dropped as captain,” said Santosh Sood, media consultant and former COO of Rediffusion Y&R, an advertising house.

Dhoni now charges Rs. 2 crore per day as “appearance fee” for any event related to a brand that he endorses — running shoulder-to-shoulder in with Bollywood superstars such as Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan in the endorsement sweepstakes.

Only Yuvraj Singh, who made a grand comeback after recovering from cancer, and Virat Kohli are likely to escape unscathed.

“The string of defeats will definitely hit the sentiments of the brands endorsed by Dhoni and other players,” said Piyush Pandey, ad guru and creative director, south Asia, Ogilvy & Mather, India.

According to TAM Media, a television viewership monitoring agency, sports celebrity endorsements on television have fallen more than 40% over the last one year. Brand agents, however, stoutly defended their clients.

“Wins and losses are part of the game. There are many global brands that are interested in signing Dhoni,” said Dhoni’s brand manager Arun Pandey, chairman of Rhiti Sports.

“It’s tough to accept back-to-back defeats at home and questions on endorsement fees are reactions. However, the effect will be temporary,” said Harish Krishnamachari, vice-president, World Sports Group, which manages Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir’s endorsements.