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SBD Global/November 15, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Brands Pay Tribute To Retiring Cricketer Tendulkar Through Campaigns, Events

As Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar "gets ready to bid adieu to active cricket, Mumbai's cityscape has been decorated with farewell messages to the batting maestro in various forms, shapes and sizes," according to the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. From hoardings to banners, the city is splattered with "goodbye Sachin" messages. It is "not only the big guns" who are doing their bit to bid farewell to the country's "favourite batsman." Localities in Mumbai "are seen hanging banners and posters saluting the legend." Brands that have been associated with the cricket legend "have found ways to pay tribute to him through special campaigns and events." While adidas will be launching the campaign SRT Forever to commemorate Sachin's innings in cricket, Aviva Life Insurance "will be concluding its ongoing marketing campaign 'What's your big plan' after Tendulkar's retirement." Other brands such as Toshiba and Royal Bank of Scotland "have also launched marketing campaigns to coincide with Tendulkar's last series." Coke said that "it will take up advertising slots during Tendulkar's penultimate and final test matches." However, company execs said that "they have no Tendulkar-specific campaigns lined up for these matches." The broadcaster and title sponsor of Tendulkar's last test series, STAR India, too, "hopped on to the wagon and went all out to engage Tendulkar fans all over the globe so that they can bid farewell to their hero." For STAR India, "it also means big advertising revenues," since it holds the exclusive media rights to all int'l cricket matches played in India. A media buyer involved with brands advertising during the match said, "Given the craze behind Tendulkar, it will definitely be one of the most watched events of the year if not decade and advertisers will not mind shelling out extra bucks to advertise during the match." Other media houses "also did their bit." TV Today Group "held the Salaam Sachin India Today Conclave" that saw participation from Sachin's brother, Ajit Tendulkar, India Today consulting editor Boria Majumdar and  cricketers Suresh Raina Javagal Srinath, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar (BUSINESS STANDARD, 11/14). In N.Y., Huw Richards wrote when tickets for Tendulkar's 200th and final five-day test match went on sale on Monday, "19.7 million hits within the first hour crashed the website selling them." That overwhelming demand to see Tendulkar's final test, which starts Thursday in Mumbai, "testified to his unmatched standing in India as both a sports and a cultural hero." In a profile of Tendulkar, American writer Mike Marqusee wrote on the ESPN Cricinfo website in '02, "Jordan, Woods and Beckham may cross more boundaries, but nowhere do those players carry the weight of expectation that Tendulkar carries in India." Much of Tendulkar's greatness "comes from his ability to consistently fulfill those vast expectations." Few players "have left so comprehensive a mark in the record books" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13).

TENDULKAR'S LEGACY: In London, Matthew Engel wrote "all political careers end in failure, goes the old saying." The same "is even more true of sporting careers." They end "after the player’s body has stopped doing what the brain tells it." If not, "the player has gone too soon and failed to fulfil their full potential." Tendulkar will retire from cricket within the week, "after playing his 200th Test match for India, against West Indies in Mumbai." Even "if he is out for a golden duck in both innings and drops six catches, failure will not be in the national vocabulary." There will be arguments about Tendulkar’s place in cricket history, "perhaps more so in the future than now." Time is needed to lend perspective, which will not be on offer in Mumbai this week: the number of Google references linking "Tendulkar" and "god" has risen to 14.5 million. Tendulkar "is not the greatest cricketer of all time." But his longevity at the top "has beggared belief." Yet, amid the clamor of India, "he has been the still, small figure at the eye of the storm." Every time he batted, "the weight of expectation was ludicrous." India, which is internationally competitive in no other major sport, "placed all its hopes of glory on its cricket team and thus, for 24 years, on its best player: him." He "remained forever imperturbable: not a word out of place, not a hair out of place, and only rarely a shot out of place" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/14).
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