Slowly, the Indian cricket team is being taken over by brash new India. With the change in guard, the attitude is changing also. While most of it is positive (fighting spirit, professionalism, fitness mantra), we can see the old-world mores & values dying away. A recent incident has glaringly shown the disparity between the older greats and the new cricketing icons.
It was recently announced that Sachin Tendulkar has chosen ‘principles’ over ‘money’ by saying no to endorse a liquor advertisement. As per reports, Tendulkar refused a whopping Rs. 20 crore-offer to endorse a top liquor brand. Living up to the promise he made to his father and following his traditional values, the master blaster has refused to promote liquor* or cigarettes.
Once Sachin refused, UB then approached Dhoni, who readily agreed to sign a three-year endorsement deal with the country’s largest spirit maker for Rs 25-26 crore.
Dhoni will be associated with McDowell’s soda – he cannot promote any alcoholic products directly as such ads are banned in India. However, he will be supporting McDowell as a brand, as most of the industry products act as a front for surrogate advertising through the media due to strict restrictions or bans on liquor and tobacco advertising in India
MS Dhoni has become an inspiration for millions of young Indians. But this step would be counter to building a positive image among his fans. As per his authorised website, he lists Sachin Tendulkar among his childhood idols. It seems he only willing to follow Sachin’s action on the field, not off the field.
The following is a comment in the past from his endorsement management team: “Unlike other cricketers who lapped up several endorsement deals during their good run, (our) company has been very discerning. We are primarily concentrating on his game and if he keeps performing well, brand endorsements will follow. We have not been actively scouting for brand endorsement deals on our own“. It seems things have changed now.
Some gems from Dhoni’s website:
“Pet hate: people with double standards”
“His innate sensibleness is a guiding principle in Mahi’s life: he is a classic combination of rock star cool and down to earth humility.”
Dhoni’s message for his fans on his website says “Never give up.” With his latest signing, he seems to mean to say, “Never give up the money. Give up your principles”
There have been many sportspeople from different fields who refused endorsements with even soft drink companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola because they felt that it was giving the youth the wrong idea that fizzy beverages are good for them. What does Dhoni believe in?
*It will be interesting to see SRT’s response if he is ever chosen by Royal Challengers Bangalore in an IPL auction.