December 20, 2005
Indian team sponsor rights awarded
Crossposted at Cricket 24x7
With the previous administration in the BCCI rattled by the controversy over TV rights, leading some administrators to wonder about a BCCI channel, the new administration decided to adopt some transparency. The team sponsor rights were awarded to Air Sahara for a whopping Rs. 313.8 crores for a period of four years. The rights do not include ICC organized tournaments such as the World Cup, Super Series or the Champions Trophy. The Sahara Group has been sponsoring the Indian men's team for the last few years and earlier this year they started sponsoring the women's side as well. I assume this means they can brand the team as the 'Air Sahara Indian team' in their communication.
Statutory warning: To be taken with a pinch of salt ... and more!
While the BCCI claims that Air Sahara's bid was the highest, sources inform me that the airline formerly known as Indian Airlines was the highest bidder. But it suddenly dawned on the honchos that naming the team the Indian Indian team would have looked totally dumb. Hence the decision to go with Air Sahara.
As a result, Indian's (ooh! I hate that name!) rebranding exercise seems to have fallen flat on its face. It now becomes plainly obvious that the brand management consultant who came up with that name took the airlines management, the Civil Aviation Ministry for a huge ride, on their own "premier domestic" airline.
Or so I thought, until I realized that there was another aspect to it. It seems to be a master plan by the consultant, the management and the ministry to subtly carry out an ambush marketing strategy unparallelled, even better than Pepsi's "Nothing official about it" potshot at Coca Cola in the 1996 World Cup. The cricket team would implicitly be portraying their brand name all the time. In fact, it wouldn't be restricted merely to the cricket team. Hockey teams, football teams, Institutes of Technology, Institutes of Management, Institutes of Planning and Management (*chuckle*), newspapers ... the list goes on. Everyone of those would now sport the airline's new name. Lorries plying on the country's highways would say 'Be Indian, buy Indian', regardless of the fact that the chap following the lorry would barely have three thousand rupees in his bank account. It's fame and brand would spread and stop at nothing but world domination. Embassies and High Commissions (and their staff) would be brand ambassadors. I'm sure they're miffed that George Bush's cat is called India and not Indian!
Labels: bcci, cricket