New Delhi: Global credit and debit card issuer Mastercard on Wednesday announced the appointment of cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador. Dhoni is the company’s second celebrity face in addition to Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan.
Earlier this year, Mastercard launched a marketing campaign featuring Irrfan Khan, which showcased the convenience of using digital transactions. Around 95% retail payments in India are still in cash and this presents a scope for growth of digital payments beyond the metros.
“We have signed Dhoni for one year with an option to renew for subsequent years,” Porush Singh, division president – South Asia at Mastercard, said.
Mastercard will soon launch a 360-degree marketing campaign featuring Dhoni, which will target consumers as well as merchants across tier II and III cities via traditional media including television, radio, print and out-of-home. For metros, the thrust will be on digital targeting of the customers.
According to celebrity managers, Dhoni’s brand endorsement deals can be in the range of Rs 3-10 crore, depending on the size of the company he is associated with and the size and duration of the contract.
Arun Pandey, chairman, Rhiti Sports, which manages Dhoni’s commercial engagements, said, “Market leaders and innovators are best placed to execute campaigns which take the industry to the next level. The idea of Mastercard partnering with Dhoni to further the cause of a cashless India is very appealing.”
Currently, the cricketer endorses an array of brands across categories, including Exide Life Insurance, Orient Fans, smartphone maker Lava International, automobile firm TVS Motors, liquor brand McDowell’s No. 1, SRMB Steel, and health supplement brand Revital H.
Dhoni’s 11-year-long association with PepsiCo India ended in 2016 and he has also been replaced by Indian captain Virat Kohli as the face of GSK-owned malt-based health food drink brand Boost. In January 2017, Dhoni stepped down as India captain from both the 50-over and 20-over formats, paving the way for Kohli to take over as the captain.
For Dhoni, 2018 has been a blockbuster year so far. After leading Chennai Super Kings to another IPL victory in May, Dhoni last month signed a Rs 15-crore brand endorsement deal with German cybersecurity company WardWiz for three years. He also signed a three-year deal with Pune-based decorative paint maker Indigo Paints for an undisclosed amount, and had picked up a 25% stake in sports tech startup Run Adam for being the mentor and the brand ambassador for the company.