After parting ways with Collage, ace shooter and Olympic Gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra has switched sides to B Formula Entertainment headed by MD Bonney Duggal. The historic win at the Beijing Olympics has turned Bindra into an overnight star making him command not less than Rs 20 million for brand associations.
When Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the Silver for India in the 2004 Athens Olympics, he met with limited success in the ad world despite the initial buzz. He managed to endorse only Hero Honda, Sahara and Coca-Cola. Rarely do we see any sport other than cricket hogging the limelight and becoming the talk of the town in India. But Bindra’s Gold that makes him the first Indian to win an individual gold at the Olympic Games after 28 long years, is slated to change things.
Most in the media have speculated that Bindra could be the next sports icon or a brand ambassador standing apart from filmstars and cricketers, who currently dominate the Indian ad scenario.
When contacted, Bonney Duggal said, “The pact with Lucknow-based Sahara Group did not work well, and the association with Samsung was only for the Olympic Games. So, as of now we have no brand associations. However, there are brands coming in.”
Duggal also made it clear on the kind of brands he is looking for Bindra. He said, “We are definitely looking for good products like watches, construction companies, and telecom, as first and foremost building an image is very crucial and we are looking for products that would go well with his image.”
On whether B Formula Entertainment would be would be working with Bindra on a complete image change, Duggal said, “We would be working with Bindra on everything that includes the complete imagery and brand endorsement, something that has never happened before.”
Commenting on advertisements in non-cricketing sports, Duggal observed, “The time is ripe as a lot of money will be coming in sports now, merchandising will also be playing an important role and we are looking forward to develop the sport as he believes that he has to give back to the sport what he had received.”
With a billion-plus population and most of them being youths, Duggal said that his strategy was to focus on the youth as they would be playing an important role in the future. Bindra added that Duggal would be handling his endorsement responsibilities. When asked whether Bindra would be working with any other talent manager as well, the ace shooter’s father replied, “All the work that would go behind developing Abhinav’s media and brand relations would be taken care of by Bonney Duggal. Lathika is an old family friend and if there is something that she gets that is worth looking at, we would consider it. But Bonney is handling Abhinav’s brand decisions.”
Of course, it also depends on Bindra’s performance in future gaming events. Will he continue to excel or fade away from the limelight like his predecessors, only time will tell.