Gatorade Ropes In First Indian Cricketer To Endorse The Brand

In sports endorsements, a new partnership has emerged that promises to shake up the game. The beverage and snack giant PepsiCo has inked a deal with Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya to endorse its iconic sports drink, Gatorade. This collaboration is even more remarkable because it marks the first time Gatorade, a prominent name in the sports beverage industry, will be endorsed by a cricketer.

PepsiCo India’s announcement of its association with Hardik Pandya has sent excitement throughout the sports and advertising sectors. Ankit Agarwal, Associate Director of Hydration & Energy at PepsiCo India, expressed the significance of this partnership, stating that it will “deepen the brand’s connection with the sports, fitness, and active-lifestyle community.” This strategic move by PepsiCo aims to leverage Hardik Pandya’s immense popularity and influence to promote Gatorade to a broader audience.

Hardik Pandya, the dynamic all-rounder of the Indian cricket team, has become a brand unto himself. In the world of sports endorsements, his star shines brightly. According to brand valuation and analytics firm Kroll, Pandya’s brand value surged to $34.8 million in 2022. His ability to connect with fans on and off the field has made him a sought-after figure for brands across industries.

PepsiCo’s move to endorse Gatorade through Hardik Pandya aligns with a broader trend in the market. The sports and hydration category is experiencing significant growth and consumer traction. IMARC Group, a market research firm, estimated India’s domestic sports and energy drinks market at a substantial US$ 2.7 billion in 2022. Projections indicate that this market is set to reach a whopping US$ 5.7 billion by 2028.

As consumer demand for sports and hydration products rises, companies are scaling up their presence in this lucrative category. Reliance Consumer Products, for instance, recently introduced a cricket-themed lemon-flavored carbonated beverage named Campa Cricket and is also gearing up to launch its own sports drink. Rival beverage giant Coca-Cola has partnered with the upcoming ICC World Cup, designating its hydration drink, Limca Sportz, as the official sports drink of the tournament. Even dairy major Amul is intensifying its focus on sports drinks through multi-media advertising campaigns.

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It’s worth noting that the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) recently implemented more stringent guidelines for celebrities endorsing brands. These revised norms now classify celebrities as individuals with a social media following of over 5 lakh on any one platform or those who earn more than Rs 40 lakh annually for endorsing brands in advertisements. This marks a significant shift from the previous criteria, which considered individuals earning over Rs 20 lakh as endorsement fees.

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