Sourav Ganguly is no longer among the hottest poster-boys in the cricketing circuit.
The Indian captain's performance in the recent matches has not been spectacular and the six-match ban has added to his woes. All this seems to have taken some sheen off his saleability.
Speaking to Business Line, Mr Sanjay Lal, CEO and MD, Percept D'Mark, said, "For a marketer this is the ideal time (when his performance takes a beating) to rope in a celebrity. But from a manager's point of view, we would not like to sign on more contracts. There have been enquiries from eyewear and pharmaceutical companies. But we have not signed anybody as yet as we think the time is not appropriate."
He was also optimistic that the Indian captain would make a comeback and regain his old form. "A player like Ganguly will not be shaken by one bad patch," he said, adding that currently the cricketer endorses eight brands including Pepsi, Hero Honda, LG, Sahara and Tata Indicom. "The cricketer is already packed and we can add just one or two more endorsements," he said.
Meanwhile, LG Electronics has said that the promotional period for the `Khelega Kya' commercial featuring Sourav Ganguly and Inzamam-ul-Haq taking on each other as medieval warlords ends on April 20, and the campaign would go on schedule till the planned date.
Mr Abdul Khan, VP (Marketing), Tata Indicom, said that the ban on Ganguly does not alter anything in the company's relationship with him. "This is just a phase. There are ups and downs in everyone's lives. Two-match ban, six-match ban ... these are just technicalities. He has been our brand ambassador for one-and-a-half years now. What he brings to the brand is his iconic status, his aggressiveness, his attitude of encouraging young talent and of knitting the team together. We don't see any negative impact on the brand." Asked whether this reply implied that the company's agreement with Sourav was not performance-linked, Mr Khan, however, said that he would not be able to comment.
According to industry analysts, celebrity endorsements enable brands to get instant recall and hence the trend of taking on celebrities is on the rise.
However, the role of celebrity endorsers has been evolving, with the celebrity no longer exhorting the consumers to buy the brand just because he or she uses it but entertains the viewer as well.