How Dhing Express Hima Das has moved ahead in the brand race

Das' consecutive 5 gold medals at the Nove Mesto nad Metuji Grand Prix have made her climb the brand endorsement ladder as brands gradually shift their focus from cricket

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Jul 23, 2019 8:27 AM
Hima Das- Brand Ambassador of Adidas

Hima Das’ consecutive gold wins have not only elevated India’s pride in the sporting arena but has also hiked up brand Hima Das. The endorsement fees of the Indian sprinter has reportedly doubled recently. Das now charges around Rs 65 lakh annually.

As brands shift their focus from cricket to other sports, Das’ consecutive 5 gold medals at the Nove Mesto nad Metuji Grand Prix has made her climb the brand endorsement ladder.

The athlete, popularly known as Dhing Express, already has a lot of endorsements to her credit, with Adidas being the most talked about one. The brand roped her in after betting on cricket magnums like Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. She has a diversified list of sponsorships and brand endorsements, ranging from financial services conglomerate Edelweiss to State Bank of India’s e-banking platform YONO. The 19-year-old is also the sports brand ambassador of Assam. She has also been appointed the first youth ambassador of UNICEF India.

Talking about Brand Hima Das, experts say her big moments will come in the Asian Games and the Olympics. If she does well in these global events, her brand value will increase substantially.  

According to Indranil Das Blah, Founding Partner, KWAN, Rs 30 lakhs per endorsement is a fair value for Hima Das. “I don’t think there should be a fixed fee for her. She should be flexible in her price points depending on the brand. For example, if a brand guarantees enough media visibility and is a fit with her attributes, money should be secondary. The primary objective at this stage of her career would be to build 'Brand Hima Das' and not money,” she explains.

“Das’ big moments will come during the Asian Games and the Olympics. If she does well in these global events, her brand value will increase substantially. But till that happens, she should concentrate on generating maximum visibility. Once a strong brand is built, money will follow,” suggests Blah.

The thought was echoed by another industry insider. “The recent wins of Hima Das have been in smaller athletic events that were of E & F grades. Her brand value might increase in the real sense if she does exceedingly well in the coming Olympics,” said the expert.

Like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal or Sania Mirza, Das is breaking new ground as not just a female athlete but also as a non-cricketing sports icon.

“Any brand advocating strong independent women, world class performance and fitness would be a good fit for Hima. Also, coming from Assam, she is seen as a role model for small towns and cities. So brands with a mass connect could work well for her,” Blah said. 

Also, brands have now started celebrating the success of sports achievers other than cricketers.

“This is a trend which has been emerging for a few years now. If you take away Virat Kohli and M S Dhoni, you will see the likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Sunil Chhetri raking in more from endorsements than most current Indian cricketers. So there is a strong market for sports achievers beyond cricket. Associating with sports like athletics, badminton, tennis and football help brands in reaching out to their audience without paying a huge price that associating with cricket costs,” said Blah.

Tushaar Garg, Executive Vice President, Twenty First Century Media Pvt. Ltd, however, feels even with the recent hike in her endorsement fees, Hima Das is still undervalued, as cricket and other team sports take up lion’s share of audience eyeballs. “Although there is less interest in athletics, it provides a clutter-free environment when compared to other sports,” he says.

Garg believes that Das will now be approached by diverse product categories such as fintech, healthtech, e-commerce, FMCG, NBFC, fashion, personal care etc.

“The value of winning is priceless and brands will break an arm and leg to associate with her. To her credit, Hima Das is a true victor for many reasons. First, she is amongst the august list of few woman who have achieved such a feat, and second, she is a shining example of triumph of human spirit in the face of adversity. Brands are keen to explore newer avenues outside the three main cultural connectors i.e. cricket, bollywood and politics. I think P V Sindhu is a great example of a woman who won an Olympic silver in a sport that is non-cricket. Hima Das presents a similar of even more effective story for the brands to leverage,” concluded Garg.





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