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Why Dravid continues to lure advertisers

With a spotless track record, Dravid proves that he is no passing fad.

Why Dravid continues to lure advertisers

For his innumerable traits, brands flock to the former India skipper (Source: Twitter)


Rahul Kargal

Updated: 13 April 2021 12:45 PM GMT

When Rahul Dravid emerged from the sun-roof of a car while wielding a bat to the screams of "Indiranagar ka gunda hu main", all hell broke loose.

Shock and awe soon gave way to a wave of memes. Dravid began trending on Twitter and Youtube was abuzz.

Reactions came thick and fast.

While the loyal Dravid fan loved watching a hitherto unseen avatar of the legend, former cricketers began recalling the times when the batsman actually lost his cool.

And as the ad racks up over 3.7 Million views on Youtube and advertisers laud the masterstroke, the question is worth asking - how does a retired batting star continue to lure advertisers?

What makes Dravid tick?

From the time he donned India colours, endorsements have followed thick and fast.

Reebok was one of the first to ink a deal with Dravid and the batsmen began featuring in their "Tomorrow is mine" campaign in 1997.

Britannia soon won the rights to feature their logo on his bat face. Pepsi followed suit and began a relationship that lasted till 2008.

With Saurav Ganguly, Dravid was a part of the young brigade of the time and television commercials with the batting duo were all the rage.

Kissan, Castrol, Bank of Baroda, Gillette, Max New York Life Insurance and several others have since sought his services.

Since he hung up his boots, we've seen the legend bat for the anti-tobacco and voting movements.

So why do brands continue to turn to this retired cricketer with grey sideburns?

The 'Mr. Dependable'

In the 2003 Adelaide Test, Dravid scored 233 in the first essay and then returned to score a 72 not out when chasing a tricky 230.

That victory is now a part of sporting folklore.

And who can forget his gritty partnership with VVS Laxman to deny Steven Waugh's 'final frontier' in Kolkata in 2001?

It is for this very reason that the West Indian batting legend Brian Lara once remarked – "if I wanted someone batting for my life, it would be Rahul."

Several times through the course of his international career, Dravid walked out to bat in Test matches with nothing on the board.

With resilience, he would hold fort and turn the most optimistic bowler into a dejected soul.

That the team counted on him to bail them out every single time gave birth to the adage of 'Mr. Dependable'.

Brands love an athlete that can be counted upon to deliver the goods.

Regardless of the venue, the opposition or the conditions, Dravid turned up and with steely grit, got the job done for India.

And it is for this reason that brands that craved reliability, sought out the batting legend to sell their wares.

Castrol, a brand synonymous with performance and reliability, worked with Dravid for several years from 2001.

A clean and inspiring image

For six-long years, Accenture, the technology, consulting and outsourcing leader, had Tiger Woods as their brand representative.

The golf legend's tenacity and victories on the greens resonated with Accenture's world-class capabilities.

In 2009, however, when Woods' extramarital affairs surfaced and he took an indefinite break from the sport, Accenture severed its ties with the golfing ace.

Similarly, the in-famous 2018 ball-tampering scandal on Australia's tour of South Africa took its toll on Aussie cricket.

Cricket Australia lost major sponsorship deals and ASICS, the footwear and sports apparel brand, terminated its association with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

Brands seek athletes with a clean image that are in a position to inspire an entire generation.

Dravid's close to two-decade-long international career has been spotless.

His gentlemanly demeanour both on and off the field has drawn plaudits from all corners.

So much so that when he apparently queued up at a science exhibition at his son's school, pictures of the gesture went viral.

Which is why when the Union Health Ministry sought to appoint a brand ambassador for the National Tobacco Control, Dravid was roped in.

Similarly, when the Karnataka State Election Commission sought to spread awareness on voting, Dravid seemed an obvious choice as a mascot.

Unparalleled trust

When a young lady - part of a hidden-camera MTV Bakra prank - proposed to a Dravid in his twenties, little did she know that a lesson on education would emerge from the batting stalwart.

The video established beyond doubt that Dravid truly belonged to a rare breed.

In 2005, Bank of Baroda struggled with a cluttered image and sought to position itself as a major bank with 2,800 branches and 25 million customers.

They turned to Dravid and television campaigns had the former India captain saying: "sab kuch badal raha hai … hamara bank bhi badal raha hai. (Everything's changing … our bank is also changing)."

Over the course of the first 45-day period of the campaign, 12.6 lakh new customers enrolled with the bank and INR. 650 Crore worth of deposits were mobilised.

Such was the impact of 'trust' that Dravid evoked.

Unmatched professionalism and leadership

Dravid did not just captain India, with his unbreakable defence, he held fort while leading the batting unit and lending it much needed solidity.

Shoaib Akhtar called the batting legend an absolute nightmare.

Dravid, a staunch student of the game, spent hours in practice and played the game by the book.

His now-infamous declaration with Sachin Tendulkar on 194 at Multan in 2004, while drawing the ire of fans, displayed that the team always came first.

Such was his leadership and professionalism.

In 2006, Citizen Watches inked a brand ambassador deal with Dravid in keeping with his independent nature on leadership.

And as Dravid brought his A-game to the park every single time he strode out in India colours, more brands were drawn to his commitment.

The Gillette Winner's League soon came calling.

'Be your best today', their campaign said and Dravid joined Roger Federer, Thierry Henry and Tiger Woods in advocating the spirit of winning.

True to the brand, Dravid has not once sported a stubble, let alone a beard.

Nation-building in retirement

While Dravid might have retired as a player, he continues to add value to Indian cricket.

When Prithvi Shaw lifted the U-19 World Cup in February 2018, Dravid smiled quietly in the background as the squad's coach.

For having orchestrated the India-A program that produced several cricketers that now don national colours with aplomb, Dravid's remarkable foresight was hailed.

And now as Director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Dravid continues to build and inspire the champions of tomorrow.

It is for these tenets that brands love Dravid. These are partnerships that don't appear to die anytime soon.

And while "Indiranagar ka gunda" trends for the moment, Dravid has proved beyond doubt that he is no passing fad.

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