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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hero Honda inks 200 + crore deal with Tiger Woods !!!

There was a time when Indian two-wheeler segment was all about  : Lambretta (Lamby) Vijay, Bajaj scooters – Jawa (Yezdi), Bullet, Rajdoot  - then entered 100cc bikes – touting fuel consumption as USP – the Hero Honda campaign - ‘fill it – shut it – forget it’ – was so popular.  At a time when most Indians were using (at best shaving soaps) Kapil Dev endorsed shaving cream with the adline ‘Palmolive ka jawab nahin’ –  and Kapil on ground completing his exercises said ‘Boost is the Secret my energy’ ; later teaming with young Sachin Tendulkar ‘boost is the success of OUR energy’… some advertisements that captured the audience – Indian sportspersons starting earning through endorsements also !

This week, Tiger Woods endured a disastrous return to the golf course after a raging fever caused him to be sick twice on the course over the weekend and he ended up finishing last. A profusely-sweating Woods vomited twice on the golf course in Florida as the former world number one finished the Hero World Challenge with plenty of work ahead of him. Woods has not played since August while he recovered from a back injury. In last place in the 18-player field, he coughed repeatedly into a towel and vomited along the third fairway, but carried on in his return to competition after an absence of some four months due to back pain.

The 14-time major winner closed with three consecutive birdies to the delight of the large gallery following him at the layout that was his longtime home course. Woods, who had not played since the PGA Championship in August, said he planned to build upon his solid start in a four-month plan to peak for the Masters, happy his body was healthy enough for full-power practices. Woods, ranked 24th, would like to challenge Rory McIlroy at Augusta National in April as the current world number one tries to win his third consecutive major and complete a career grand slam.

Back home, Hero Moto Corp, the world's No. 1 two-wheeler manufacturer by volumes, has roped in Tiger Woods as its brand ambassador in a four-year deal pegged at Rs 200 crore, making it the most expensive celebrity endorsement yet for an Indian company.   Hero Moto vice-chairman Pawan Munjal made the surprise announcement on Monday evening before Indian journalists gathered in Orlando, US.  He is quoted as saying - "Tiger Woods is one of the biggest global icons and not just a sports celebrity. His appeal cuts across geographies, nationalities, age and gender and therefore, he is the best brand fit to be our 'Global Corporate Partner' as we go global."

Another reports puts the four-year endorsement at a whopping  Rs 250 crore. The same report states that top cricketers like Virat Kohli and Dhoni are understood to earn Rs 4-10 crore per brand endorsement in a year. While some in the advertising world felt Hero had gone overboard for a golfer who may not cut much ice with buyers of Indian commuting bikes, the decider perhaps thinks it otherwise.   

Munjal has been taking Hero overseas after the split with long-time partner Honda in 2011, and the latest sign-up clearly signals at that. The company has already entered markets in Asia, south and central America, and Africa. It plans a foray into western European markets next year, and US and Brazil by 2016.  Munjal's dramatic announcement was made at the Orlando home of India-Swede golfer Daniel Chopra. The Hero vice president suddenly called everyone into a huddle and dropped the news with a smile.

Cricketers have often been criticised for being paid great amounts for endorsing products – sometime back, Virat Kohli set the endorsements world abuzz  with a reported deal of Rs 10-crore per annum deal with German sports goods giant Adidas.  By some accounts, Kohli charges about Rs 1.5 crore per day as endorsement fee, Dhoni's price point is at about a crore per day.

Not sure how and whether the fortunes of Hero would soar by Tiger Woods endorsing the vehicle.  But then people like us never understood why there should be an advertisement for a product like aircraft tyre endorsed by a sportsperson – a soap shown as being used by a good looking heroine might spur up people – as a trader in a small shop in a remote village said once – many girls may not be able to read what is written but volumes of ‘fairness creams’ get sold out there too…. that is the power of marketing and glitzy advertisements !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Dec 2014

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