Rishabh Pant – A new brand star is born

India’s decisive and inspiring win against Australia at the Gabba, which helped the team clinch the series 2-1, has been hailed as the greatest win. Rishabh Pant’s heroic knock of 89 played a major part in India’s win and he is now being hailed as a hero and he was also crowned as ‘Player of the Match’.

Pant, who did not play the first test but was then inducted in the second test, played some crucial innings to save India at Sydney and then finally seal the historic test win for India at Brisbane. Pant is a match winner, according to India coach Ravi Shastri. ICC paid tribute to Pant’s heroics on the field with a twist to Spiderman series’ theme song as follows:

“Spider-Pant, Spider-Pant

Does whatever a spider can

Hits a six, takes a catch

Guiding India to the match

Look out!

Here comes the Spider-Pant!”

Well, the latest cricket star has arrived. Pant is just 23 and he has a long way to go and will don the jersey of the Indian cricket team for several more years as there is bright future ahead of him. He is currently Vice-Captain of the Delhi Ranji team and also plays for Delhi Capitals in the IPL tournament. Coming from a small town, Roorkee, he has in the past few years developed into a promising cricketer, having represented India in the under-19 World Cup.

Not surprisingly, brands are approaching the wicketkeeper-batsman for endorsements. Pant has already been signed on by JSW Sports for an exclusive talent management contract. He is also the brand ambassador for JSW Steel, a leading steel brand. With this historic victory, more brands are expected to bring Pant onboard as an endorser.

What will be the right brand fit?

So, apart from his performance in the field, what makes Pant a perfect brand fit? First and foremost, Pant is a match winner and a game changer. He is known to have a very cool and calm personality and is an entertainer behind the stumps. There are several brands for which he can be a perfect fit and be relevant for their messaging, ranging from e-commerce to sports brands, health-focussed brands. Being a young and energetic sportsperson, Pant can also be a good fit for a lot of youth-oriented brands.

What works in Pant’s favour?

Firstly, as stated earlier, he is a match winner and a game changer. While there are some worries about his consistency, brands will benefit as he is not over-exposed by brands unlike some other leading cricketers. The fact that he is a small-town boy who is making a name for himself in the international field, makes him an aspirational influencer to the youth.

Finally, cricket is religion in our country and for brands, cricket heroes are excellent for brand endorsements. Along with the popular IPL and T-20 tournaments, there are reports that now test cricket will also get more support and push as very soon the world test championship will b held in England. So, from every angle roping in a new face filled with huge talent is always a win-win for brands, even though there is risk of the new player on the block being inconsistent in his/her performance.

Industry speak

Adgully spoke to some of industry experts and marketing gurus to seek their views and opinions on brands’ gamble with rising stars like Rishabh Pant.

Ambi MG Parameswaran, Brand Strategist & Founder, Brand-Building.com:

“I am not sure if there is a brand-celebrity fit that is in vogue today. At one time, brands picked celebrities and cricketers who fitted with their brand persona – Boost and Kapil Dev, Gwalior and Nawab of Pataudi, Castrol and Rahul Dravid.  

Given the rise of Rishabh Pant, there will be a mad scramble to sign him up. The first to go may be the branded footwear category, unless they have signed him up when he was an aspiring player. Brands like Pepsi have been quick at spotting talent and signing them up. Some of these are seasoned celebrity users. Then come the new age digital native brands. They will grab whatever they can get. I only hope Rishabh has a good advisor who cautions him about the dangers of signing up dodgy builders and speculative fin-tech brands.”  

Sandeep Goyal Chairman, Mogae Media:

“Brands that wish to convey ‘power’ and those that are somewhat ‘irreverent’ will find Rishabh a good endorser. He is young and full of energy. Plus, he is plucky and unpredictable. So, he is good brand fit where communication is quirky and informal.”

Lloyd Mathias, Angel Investor and Business Strategist:

“Rishabh Pant will now see an appreciation in his brand value. I think brands will always look at cricketers with a permanent place in the Indian cricket team. With his performance in the just concluded Ind-Aus series, seems like Rishabh Pant has cemented his place in the team; if not as a wicket-keeper batsman, at-least as a batsman. There could be a few brands who may sign him up now. Also, his attacking style of play may be an added element.”

Navroze D Dhondy, Founder & Managing Director, Creatigies Communications Pvt Ltd:

“As they say, “one swallow does not make a summer”, the same applies to the gladiators in sport. Yes, there is no doubt that Rishabh Pant has performed wonderfully, and nothing should be taken away from him, but it is important for everyone to understand that he is just a few seasons old. 

Hopefully he will live up to the expectations, and possibly exceed them.

Brands will obviously be ready to jump on to the Pant Brand-Wagon as he is young man with promise and a future. He is also a very down to earth person, from a small town, all that adding to the magic of a new hero! India always needs more heroes and it’s great to see more coming up from the sporting arena.”


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