Brands serenade Indian Olympic winners with bonanzas

From pizzas to free cement, companies go all out to woo the winning players

MUMBAI: First came the free pizzas for a lifetime, then the free cement to build their dream homes and now free healthcare services. Brands are pulling out all the stops and sparing no effort to woo the Olympic medallists from India.

In a country where Cricket attracts majority of the brand endorsements, the latest celebrations of other sports like wrestling, weight-lifting, fencing is undoubtedly laud-worthy. But, it also raises questions on why such endorsements and support continue to remain limited to athletes when they rise to fame, and not when they are slogging hard to claim that hard-earned victory?

At this year’s Tokyo Olympics, it began with India’s first medallist – the 26 years old weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu who clinched the silver medal in women’s 59 kg category on the second day of the international sports event. Post the win, the ecstatic medallist shared her wish to celebrate her victory with a pizza. Within hours, the pizza brand, Dominoes jumped into the fray with a lifetime offer of free Dominos pizzas for the champion. The smart and quick marketing tactic may have brought the brand into limelight and brought a smile to Chanu’s face, but it also led netizens to ask if the brand really intended to celebrate the weight-lifter’s achievements, or cash in on the moment.

As a special reward to India’s medal winners at the ongoing Games, cements brand, Shree Cements also announced that the company will offer free cement to the medallists ‘in order to help them build their dream homes’. India has so far clinched two medals at the Olympics, including a silver medal by weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and bronze medal by shuttler P.V. Sindhu in the women's singles badminton.

 “India’s athletes are competing at the highest level of sporting prowess and making us proud," said Shree Cements Ltd, managing director, H M Bangur. "As both an Indian and a sports enthusiast, I feel that it is important to give back a little something for all that they are doing."

The latest in the line-up of brands offering gift hampers to our Olympians is multi-speciality healthcare provider Glamyo Health. The healthcare brand has gone a step ahead and announced free healthcare services to all 127 Indian athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The brand with a network of over 200 hospitals across nine cities including Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai, declared that the athletes may avail any surgical treatment from the bouquet of 50 + surgeries free of cost for life. These include surgeries related to Sports Orthopaedics, Proctology, Urology, Laparoscopy, Vascular, Ophthalmology etc.

Regular and timely medical services are important for sportspersons who slog day in and day out to perfect their moves, and this could undeniably prove to be one useful goodie bag to a practising athlete.

“Sports people have a demanding schedule and when they require such treatments, it needs to be handled with utmost care keeping in mind their sports career. Glamyo Health is humbled and proud to be doing its bit for our heroes making India proud at the global stage,” said Glamyo Health co-founder Dr Preet.

While all of these special gestures of honouring the sportspersons who make the country proud need to be encouraged, one hopes brands and companies start investing in other sports and athletes as well for the longer term. One gets to hear innumerable tales of struggles and hardships on their way to the top- to get even basic equipment, let alone world-class, with lack of facilities and training in the country. No doubt, things are looking up gradually, but India still has a long way to go to match global standards of infrastructure

Hence its time brands and marketers took their commitment to sports a notch higher and got serious about investing in emerging sporting talents in the country by way of long-term commitments, as against indulging in moment marketing riding on their success bandwagon and grandiose gestures, when the athlete’s struggle is done and dusted with.

This would ensure better credibility for the brand, as well as assuring the country’s struggling sportspersons a sponsorship when they need it the most.

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