It is common to find Indian cricketers being roped in for brand endorsements. The immense popularity of the game in the country means that the players end up becoming some of the most recognised faces in the country and their names become brands themselves. MRF had become almost synonymous with Sachin Tendulkar’s bat with the batting great sporting the name of the company on his willow for the better part of his career. The dialogue “Boost is the secret of my energy” is also something that we read mostly in the voice of that of Sachin or former Indian skipper MS Dhoni.
It is, though, rare to find cricketers appearing advertisements before the 1990’s. But these did happen and proof of this is an old Thums Up commercial starring Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil and newly appointed India head coach Ravi Shastri. The video shows the three stars juggling a cricket ball, a Thums Up bottle and an opener. They pass it around for some time and finally, Gavaskar ends up with the bottle and the opener.
Another classic advert is Shastri’s endorsement of Vimal suits. This one came out a few years after the Thums Up commercial and Shastri is looking like an experienced veteran, as opposed to the fresh-faced youngster he looks in the previous ad. Endorsements and sponsorship deals have come a long way since with Virat Kohli recently landing deals worth more than Rs 100 crore.