New Delhi: In a country that has downright hero worshiped cricket and no other sport, the medal winners of the recently concluded Olympics have created somewhat a stir and made corporates sit up and take notice. But how long will ad world's interest in non-cricket icons last?
Sports personalities MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Sania Mirza have been the heartthrobs for brands in India, but now there is a new kid on the block, Olympics bronze winner and boxer, Vijendra Kumar.
The Olympics changed the game for him, as once there were no sponsors willing to touch him, but now his upper cut is hitting the sweet spot with advertisers.
''Lots of companies are after him now for tie-ups as now he has won the medal. But before he went for the games, it was very hard for us to find any sponsors for him,'' says CEO Infinity Optimal Solutions, Neerav Tomar.
Vijendra is not the only one in the ring, Olympic gold winner and shooter Abhinav Bindra, along with Olympic bronze winner and wrestler Sushil Kumar are hitting bulls eye with India Inc.
Vijendra alone has got eight endorsement deals worth Rs 60 lakh each. But, how long will the ad world's love affair with non cricket icons last ?
''This hype is very short-lived, in this revisionary period. I expect the hype for them maximum for the next six months. Companies are using them for brand building as they are definitely lesser priced than cricketers and Bollywood stars,'' says ED, Starcom Worldwide, Tarun Nigam.
But perhaps like the Olympics threw up these unexpected champions, Indian advertisers too are willing to break away from their fascination with cricket, the next few months will confirm which way this game will be played.