Abhinav Bindra has shot his way to Olympic glory, winning a Gold in the 10 m air rifle event at the Beijing Olympic Games 2008. Even as the entire country is rejoicing its first ever individual Gold at the Olympics, and Bindra is being showered by cash rewards by various state governments, advertisers, too, are keenly watching the developments.
Bindra’s name could be just the boost the dwindling list of brand icons has been looking for. exchange4media.com talks to the Indian advertising fraternity to find out whether Abhinav Bindra has it in him to be the next big brand ambassador.
Sanjay Behl, Head - Brand and Marketing, Reliance Communication, is clear that Bindra is the next big brand ambassador in the making as he has brought so much glory to India by winning the first ever individual Olympic Gold medal. He said, “I am pretty impressed with his poised stature that encompasses qualities like self-confidence, perseverance and calmness. All these qualities of his can really set him apart from other sporting figures in India. This feat of his is already making him a household name. I hope that this can bring about a make shift from the cricketers, so that other sportspersons can also get their share of brand association for their respective achievements.”
Sanjay Tripathy, EVP & Head - Marketing, HDFC Standard Life, said, “It’s a very good sign for India, and Abhinav Bindra is definitely a very good role model in the making. He not only mirrors the image of young India, which believes in thinking big and doing things differently, but also can be a useful personality for brands to get associated with. India is definitely looking out for new icons in the sporting arena, but it would be wrong to compare Bindra with the likes of cricketing icons, as their fan following and brand association has been a result of their continuous success, and so like every new star, Bindra, too, will take some time in repeating his success and amass the fan following.”
Rajesh Mehta, Vice President - Marketing, Emami, added here, “Bindra, I am sure can carve his own niche in the business of brand associations, which is largely dominated by our cricketers, as he accounts for sharpness, acumen, and perseverance. All these qualities can be the ingredients around which any brand manager of categories like consumer durables, automobiles and others would like to weave the brand around the success story that Bindra has showcased at this years Olympics.” incidentally Mehta has now joined Western Union as Director Marketing , South Asia
Shubha George, Managing Director, Mediaedge:cia India, felt that cricketers would continue to rule the Indian ad world as their exposure time on-air and on-field was much higher then what shooters had. She said, “ Looking back at what happened with Major Rajyavardhan Rathore, who won India’s first ever sole medal at the Athens Olympics 2004, who after his glorious achievement for the country is only endorsing a couple of brands. I am not sure whether Bindra will make it big in the world of advertising and compete with the cricketers who have more on-air and on-ground exposure time.”
Madhuri Sapru, Managing Partner - South Asia, Kinetic and Dialect, said, “I think you get an effective brand ambassador when there is a true fit between the values of the brand and the values of a prospective brand ambassador, and when the ambassador is integrated into the brand communication so that they do not come across as larger than the brand and hence diverting focus from it. Abhinav Bindra can be a good brand ambassador for demonstrating success through perseverance, concentration and the desire to succeed against all odds. Some examples that fit that bill include Johnnie Walker (Keep Walking), Nike (Just do it), Adidas (Impossible is Nothing), and even some coaching classes.”