Here's how brands bid farewell to MS Dhoni on his retirement

We take a look at the noteworthy moment marketing brand posts paying tribute to Dhoni's career and how his brand legacy will be prevalent going forward

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Aug 18, 2020 11:12 AM
dhoni

On Saturday, legendary wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Sigh Dhoni bid adieu to his long-lived successful career. MS Dhoni had a 16-year long career in cricket starting with his debut in 2004, where he played his first ODI against Bangladesh. Dhoni was the captain of the Indian ODI team from 2007 to 2016 and Test team from 2008 to 2014. Under his captaincy, India brought home the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.

While outstanding in the cricket field, in the advertising game too, Dhoni hits the right wickets and ticks off all the boxes to be an impactful brand ambassador. Some brands in his kitty are Flipkart, Dream 11, Indigo Paints, Coca Cola, redBus, Cars24, Aircel, Orient PSPO, Reebok, Boost, McDowell's Soda, Big Bazaar, TVS Motors, Sony Bravia, Sonata Watches, Dabur Chyawanprash, Lays Wafers, and Maxx Mobile to name a few. According to the Duff & Phelps Celebrity Brand Valuation study, Dhoni ranked ninth with a brand value of $41.2 million in 2019.

After Dhoni announcd his retirement in an Instagram post on Saturday, social media was filled with moment marketing posts that had the sentiment of nostalgia, respect, and remembrance of his meritorious victories during matches. Brands, latching on to the news of the cricketer’s retirement, curated creatives that resonate with Dhoni’s persona whilst keeping their brand voice at the forefront. Whilst creating a moment marketing post you need to stay genuine and not lose your brand voice just to stay on the trending page. And rightly most brands were genuine and had integrated their brand message as well.

Here is a look at how brands saluted Dhoni’s career: 

Amul

The Muthoot Group

Zomato

Netflix

Paytm India

Reliance Jio

Bazana India

Go Air

Sameer Makani, Managing Director, and Co-Founder, Makani Creatives, shared a moment marketing creative that was clutter-breaking. "One good instance of Dhoni's moment marketing is Indigo airline’s ‘Helicopter has landed’ creative which has a pun well-used, connecting it to the news as well as the brand,” he shared.

Dhoni’s brand endorsements will hit a high score in digital marketing

N. Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research, says, “This is however more likely since the brands may not spend as much on his campaigns going forward, and digital is a less expensive medium.”

Dhoni’s brand legacy will move onwards and upwards

MS Dhoni’s latest ad campaign on Mastercard’s Team Cashless India initiative released just this week stands as a proving statement that his brand legacy will live on.

Sameer Makani, Managing Director, and Co-Founder, Makani Creatives says, “Cricket is worshipped in India and so are the stalwarts of the game who have made the country proud internationally with their talent. MS Dhoni is more than just a popular cricketer. He has been a game-changer with his strategy, techniques, and commendable ability to lead as well as play. With the title of ‘Captain Cool’ bestowed upon him, he is also Padma Bhushan And Padma Shri. His personal story makes a connection with the audience; how he beat all odds and rose to become an internationally-acclaimed cricketer was made into a feature film. So what majorly sets him apart is he is globally renowned yet, relatable, a family man. His humility is known to all and his persona in real-life too is admired. He is, therefore, a celebrity and major influencer for any brand that would like to cash into his popularity."

Chandramouli commented, “Dhoni is a well-rounded, non-controversial sportsperson who has had a distinguished career behind him, which has marked an era for Indian cricket that few can lay claim to. This trust gained over the years will see a continued brand interest in him. While the endorsement value will reduce, due to the lesser field presence, he will find many takers.”

Qualities MS Dhoni possesses strikes the right chords for a brand. Raghu Bhat, Founder Director, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi, says, “Dhoni displayed many things in his career - solidity, desi cool, successful, performance under pressure, speaking up, patriotism, and living life on his terms. He also has a clean image and is universally loved. This is a unique cocktail of qualities and makes him ideal for lots of categories. Also, IPL will continue to keep him in the public eye. If he and CSK maintain a decent level of performance, I think he will continue to attract brand endorsements. A slowdown in the cricketing calendar has also meant that no new celebrities are being created. Reliance on tried and tested faces will increase, for a while.”

Jagdeep Kapoor, Founder, Chairman, Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants shared seven qualities of the number 7 jersey the great MS Dhoni: "Firstly, any brand would be fortunate to have Dhoni as a brand ambassador due to his leadership qualities. If a brand wants to project itself as a leading brand, he is the ideal brand ambassador. Secondly, in the worst of times, he brings out his best. Any brand which wants to project resilience and stay in power will opt for Dhoni. Thirdly, his fitness is legendary. Brands wanting to promote health and fitness, would not find a better fit. Fourthly, his love for his family is endearing. Family brands would welcome him with open arms. Fifthly, his affinity to the Indian army and his rank, file, and profile, could make any Indian brand proud. Sixthly, his modesty, especially his walking right behind, after winning the World Cup. Seventhly, his winning streak. If a brand wants to be a champion winner, who better to be a brand ambassador, than Dhoni. Dhoni may have retired from the test matches, one day, and T-20 cricket, playing for his country. But the brand ambassador Dhoni is far from retired. He will be playing long innings as a brand ambassador for a long long time!"

Aniket Sharma, Co-founder, Head Strategic Planning, 121XP says, "While Dhoni’s international career stands retired but Brand MSD will take a lot longer to retire out. Calling the shorts on his retirement while still being at the top of his game means the fans are not done with him yet and in fact has only added topped up his respect quotient by a few more notches . He was and will continue to remain an enigma for the masses. For them and the endorsing brands the ambassador appeal he will continue to bring to the table from an aspiration and credibility standpoint and will always continue to be relevant at what could be slightly discounted price which will make him a steal value. So get ready for Brand Dhoni 2.0 or rather the second innings but in true Dhoni style only MSD knows how he wants to script this second innings of his." 

Chandramouli concluded saying, “Dhoni’s on-field and off-field persona has been consistent, poised and stately, and this de-risks any brand that associates with him. I know of an investment he made in a sporting app called ‘RunAdam’ when he would spend hours pouring over the app details, showing his meticulousness and his thinking side. These are rare qualities that come together in Dhoni.”

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