The Yuvraj Singh brand juggernaut rolls on
Brand Yuvi is seeing an ever stronger resurgence, and how, especially after announcing his retirement. Brand experts decode Yuvraj Singh’s appeal as a brand endorser and youth icon and also how brands can make the most of moment marketing.
Yuvraj Singh may not be a part of the current Team India charging at the ICC World Cup 2019 trophy, but he is very much in the news – albeit off the field. In fact, his retirement, too, created news as his legions of fans felt that the charismatic cricket had not been given the send-off that he deserved and #YuviDeservesProperFarewell trended on social media.
During the course of his career as a cricketer, Yuvi, as he is fondly called, was the face of brands such as Microsoft Xbox 360, Reebok, Pepsi, Parachute Hair Cream, Birla Sun Life, Royal Stag Mega Music, Laureus and Benz. Yuvi joined hands with fellow cricketer Rishabh Pant for the Cadbury Fuse ad series campaign by Chrome Pictures in the middle of the IPL season. He is the sixth highest paid sportsperson in India, with total assets of $35 million. He is also said to have received Rs 85.60 crore by playing in Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, was also the sixth highest earner over the 12 seasons of IPL.
Apart from his on-field achievements – who can forget his 6 sixes against England in the T20 World Championship 2007 match – Yuvi became an even stronger youth icon and inspirational figure after bravely battling cancer and beating it. As far as memory goes, Yuvi is the only cricketer who emerged victorious against cancer.
He was recently seen a campaign by PepsiCo’s Lay’s on TikTok, inspiring his fans to join in the fun and do the ‘Wavez4India’ step. Inspired by him, India’s dancing sensation Shakti Mohan also accepted the challenge and created her version of the Wavez4India step. Prior to that, the former cricketer appeared in surprise role to promote Hotstar Specials’ latest series, ‘The Office’. Yuvi was also in the news for engaging in a humorous banter on Instagram with cricketer Jasprit Bumrah during the ongoing ICC CWC 2019.
He has also invested in and has been the ambassador of online restaurant reservation platform EazyDiner via his VC funded YouWe Can Charity, which has treated hundreds of cancer patients.
Among the current crop of cricketers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli are the heavyweights remaining in the team in terms of brand endorsements. Before Yuvraj becoming the wild sensation on the advertisement ground, there were cricketing greats such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly who have been the darling of brands.
Given their fantastic performance in the ICC World Cup 2019, brands would find new favourites in Rohit Sharma and Jaspreet Bumrah.
So what makes Yuvraj Singh such a hit with brands? We asked Lloyd Mathias, Business & Marketing Strategist, former Asia Pacific marketing head of HP and Dr Kushal Sanghvi, India Lead , Integral Ad Science.
The pull factor of Yuvraj for brands
“Yuvraj was an outstanding cricketer in all formats of the game and played a key role in India winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup, where he was the Man of the Tournament. Over and above his cricketing abilities was his remarkable fight against cancer and his return to playing at the highest levels. This, combined with Yuvraj scoring six sixes in an over off a frontline bowler like England’s Chris Broad, really made him such a superstar that fans adored and brands found difficult to resist.”
Dr Kushal Sanghvi:
“Yuvraj has always been a very consistent player and also extremely popular with his charismatic style with women too. Unfortunately, he had a setback with cancer, but fought it hard and came back into game after he recovered. That is yet another angle to his personal and professional/ sporting fight and it’s a huge plus for brands that associated with him after he got back into the game post his fight. He retired while he was a consistent performer, making some amazing runs at the game and decided to retire in his peak. For brands investing into a top playing cricketer, a fighter and someone who always proved himself with his game is a great one and it is his massive appeal not just with women but with millions of people globally that a lot of brands reached out to him post his retirement too.”
What keeps Yuvraj’s appeal intact for brands post retirement?
“To my knowledge, most of the brands that used Yuvraj’s retirement in the middle of the current Cricket World Cup to pay a tribute to him with a message did not specifically contract him. They have just used the topicality of his retirement announcement to pay him a tribute while cleverly integrating their brand. So, their objective is clearly to ride the topicality with a cleverly integrated brand message while paying him a tribute. This would ensure good traction on social media. It would have been great if some of these brands actually did something to support a cause that is dear to Yuvraj.”
Dr Kushal Sanghvi:
“While a cricketer is at his peak, brands who have the large budgets can afford you, but if you are a great player like Yuvraj and now especially post retirement, his brand endorsement fee is also a little lower, while his connection with fans and sports lovers continues. So, it is a great thought to associate with a cricketer like him. It’s the fighter instinct in him that attracts brands to associate with such a player like him.”
How social media activity enhanced Yuvraj’s appeal
“Yuvraj has used social media very well to build YuvStrong as a cancer survivor who went on to do great things. His farewell video released on June 10 on his Twitter handle @Yuvstrong12 garnered nearly 190K likes and was an instant sensation. Also, his support for teammates and important causes have helped tremendously. More recently, Jasprit Bumrah’s wonderful straight-from-the-heart farewell message to Sri Lanka’s Malinga on Twitter has been an instant hit and got over 210K likes. Clearly, social media is a great driver to create awareness, especially in the midst of the World Cup.”
Dr Kushal Sanghvi:
“Social media has become an incredible force with all sorts of celebrities, especially with cricketers with millions of people following them across Twitter, Instagram and more. Yuvraj has close to 5 million followers on Instagram and his tweets get thousands of responses. It’s a clear case of brands making use of ‘Moment Marketing’, which is catching up in India too and we saw at least over 15 brands across companies like Amul, Zomato, PayTM, Fevicol and more leverage the same, having visuals applauding Yuvraj. This then plays out making an impact on the same thousands of people on social media getting them great mileage on earned media.”