Are Indian Sportsmen Endorsements a Hoax?

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The headlines of the morning newspaper a couple of days ago read aloud that the former Indian national cricket team skipper and President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India or simply BCCI, Sourav Ganguly suffered chest pain and was admitted to the hospital. Later, after running multiple tests, it was found that he had suffered a mild cardiac arrest due to the deposit of excessive fat, resulting in blockages in some of the major heart arteries. He underwent successful angioplasty at the Woodlands Hospital in Kolkata. Many Indian cricketers, top celebrities, and top ministers, including the Chief Minister of West Bengal and Prime Minister of India flooded Twitter with prayers and wishes for his speedy recovery.

Generously called “Dada” by the whole world, this left-handed batsman has given the Indian team everything one could possibly give. Called the “God of Off-Side” this magical middle-order batsman has an immensely decorated career. He played for almost 16 years in the Indian national side. Later, as MS Dhoni succeeded him as the Indian national side captain, he stepped down from national duties in 2008. Later he played for teams in County cricket in the United Kingdom and joined sides Kolkata Knight Riders and Pune Warriors India in the Indian Premier League. His infamous incident of taking off his shirt after winning the NatWest Series in 2002 at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground as India went on to defeat England, is still a point of discussion for veteran supporters of the game. Now he stands as a living legend of the game and one of the best the cricketing world has ever seen.

The main point which arises after the news of his ill health is the truthfulness of the advertisements done by sportsmen. Though endorsed with a variety of brands such as Senco Gold, Puma, Essilor Lens, Tata Tetley, Sourav Ganguly is endorsed with one of the major oil brands Adani Wilmar by the Adani Group too. He is seen promoting the use and performing for their product the “Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil”. Speculations questions that being a promoter of this brand as well as their product, is he a user of that particular product or not. According to the many dialogues stated, one of it says that by using this product one uses a heart-healthy oil and can enjoy the sheer power of immunity that this oil and specifically this product offers.

Here is where the question from media rises, that even if he is a constant consumer of that particular product which assures a healthy heart, how Sourav Ganguly’s heart accumulated fat even after regular gym and training, which was the primary cause of the blockage of the coronary arteries and the mild cardiac arrest. Questions and controversies like this are not only detrimental for the brand’s goodwill and the endorsed personnel but also are needed to be answered truthfully given that a lot of sentiments are attached with these for the common public. Incidents like these can be quite scary for the common public, who on seeing their idol’s assurance use such products which are a hoax, providing no such facilities or health positivities.

Apart from Sourav Ganguly, many Indian sportspersons and especially cricketers are endorsed by various brands promoting different products. For example, former Indian national side captain MS Dhoni and former Indian national side batting all-rounder Yuvraj Singh have been a constant face of the flagship brand Revital owned by Sun Pharma Global Consumer Healthcare. Apart from that, current Indian national side skipper Virat Kohli is the brand ambassador of Two Yumm, a snack brand owned by the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group.

However, the incident following Sourav Ganguly’s health issue has started a chain of fearful reactions amongst the common public who are now in fear of using food or health-related commodities promoted by sportspersons. Many now believe that these are all hoaxes and are sure that promoting these is nothing but a way of income for the sportspersons.

Following this incident, it will be a challenging task for Indian food brands to regain the confidence of the masses, who now fear the loss of money as well as risk factors related to their health.

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