Sticky wicket: More trouble on the cards for brand Hardik Pandya?

Pandya, who endorses 7 brands, has lost Gillette's sponsorship due to the 'Koffee with Karan' controversy

pandya

The ‘Koffee with Karan’ controversy has taken a hit on cricketer Hardik Pandya’s brand image, the first loss being Gillette’s sponsorship. Pandya has already been suspended by the BCCI for making ‘sexist and misogynist’ remarks during his appearance on the show with fellow cricketer K L Rahul.  

At present, Pandya endorses seven brands, including Gulf Oil and Star India. Brands have started reviewing their association with K L Rahul too who is the face of Royal Stag, Puma and his own street-wear brand Gully.

Are other brands expected to follow suit?

Sandeep Goyal, founder of Mogae Group, says Pandya’s brand value will surely take a hit. “At least in the short run for sure. He was doing well with some interesting endorsements he had signed in 2018. Gillette has already distanced itself from the cricketer. Star TV, too, has reportedly pulled down the Star Value Pack he was featuring in with M S Dhoni. Brands don’t want to court controversy or be associated with it. Pandya’s brand value was built on attributes of a dashing young performer. Instead, his brand now radiates uneducated boorishness and boastfulness. Surely no brand wants to be seen, by association, in that light,” Goyal said.

Netizens too have taken a dig at the duo for their comments on the show which could have led Gillette to call off his association with immediate effect. Mumbai Police’s Twitter account took a jibe at the cricketing duo by giving them words of wisdom on how to behave off the field. 

A ‘Gentleman’ is a Gentleman, always and everywhere. pic.twitter.com/oANwZH2WwY

Brand expert Gaurav Gulati says every brand wants to pick a celebrity with ‘high character’ because a wrong choice can cost them billions. According to a U C Davis study, Tiger Woods’s transgressions cost companies he endorsed up to $12 billion.

“Cricket is a gentleman’s game and brands could only pick them up for being gentlemen. Unfortunately, these two cricketers didn't sound like gentlemen. At the moment, their personal brand has been positioned as sexist, and for sure no would like to get their brands endorsed by them.” 

Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc says both Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul have unwittingly become ‘untouchable brand properties’ for the moment.

“Brands like to stay on the positive side and will not touch these two personas for the moment. But then public memory is proverbially and really short. They will bounce back, provided they deliver on the field,” he said.

Saurabh Uboweja, International Brand Expert and CEO Brands of Desire, however, says all is not lost for the duo and they could bounce back. “The immediate impact on their brand value as a result of their highly publicized comments on the show and subsequent suspension will be crippling for both the cricketers. However, both cricketers are talented and still in the early stages of their cricketing careers. All is not lost for them. If they are able to perform effectively "on the field" and stay away from publicity or visibility, as much as possible, they may have a great opportunity to bounce back. A lot will depend on how the BCCI handles them. Their image has been tarnished significantly and there is only one way from here, that is upwards.’’

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