Virat Kohli’s scores and dominance on television ad space is as rampant as his heroics on the ground. In numbers, it’s 196 minutes, 643 advertising slots, 20 brands and 13 companies per day and 1,190 hours of TV advertisement space occupation in a year.
India, it seems, just can’t have enough of Virat Kohli. When not lofting hapless bowlers out of the oval, the cricketing world’s richest icon is on national television selling soft-drink, luxury cars, luxury watches, or lending credibility to some banking institution – for a little over three hours a day.
In 2016, the Delhi dasher endorsed as many as 20 brands of 13 different companies, and these brands advertised for 1,190 hours across multiple TV channels. That meant the cricketers was being seen, on an average, in 643 advertising slots every day, according to an Economic Times report.
“Brand Kohli has been steadily on the rise after the T20 event in 2012. This is obviously due to his on-field performance and, most notably, his best knocks that have come during tough chases,” said Mr Ramakrishnan R, director at sports marketing firm Baseline Ventures. “This is also supplemented by his behavioral attributes on the field, making him a great brand package,” added Mr Ramakrishnan.
According to viewership analysis by TAM Media Research, Kohli’s per day exposure was at 196 minutes across all television channels, promoting brands such as Colgate, TVS, Vicks, Clear Shampoo, Pepsi, Audi, Britannia, Lloyd and MRF.
More importantly, in 82% of these advertisements, Kohli was the solo star, which according to brand experts is a testament of the aggressive player’s popularity and bankability. In 2015, by contrast, he appeared solo only in 40% of the ads.
In other words, in more than half of the ads that he was part of, he was partnered with other sport or film stars. Kohli has been the advertisers’ delight for some time and he joined the Rs 100 crore club by mid-2016, endorsing 13 brands. The 28-year-old right hand batsman hit the headlines once again earlier this year when he signed an eight-year, Rs 110-crore deal with a single brand, Puma, in one of the biggest such endorsements in the South Asian nation.
“With 18-odd brands under his kitty, I am not surprised by his exposure or overexposure in the media. There are only three cricketers, including Kohli, playing all three formats of cricket, a factor justifying the media space given to him,” said Ramakrishnan.
Brand managers say that Kohli and his managers have become very selective on signing new brands. “Virat is an established player now. He wants to be associated with the brands that add value to his own brand value,” said a top marketing executive of an apparel brand that could not sign him on.
Bunty Sajdeh, CEO of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment, the agency that manages Kohli’s endorsements, says that only 10-15% of mainstream Indian brands can afford Kohli as their brand ambassador at present.