Pepsi ends 11-year association with cricketer M S Dhoni

By Blnguyen (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Pepsi Co has ended its 11-year association with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of India's one-day and Twenty20 cricket teams, indicating that the flamboyant cricketer's long run with advertisers may be slowing down.

The 35-year-old cricketer, who rose to become one of the country's most successful captains, was the face of both Pepsi Cola and Lay's chips. His association with PepsiCo dates back to 2005. 'Oh Yes Abhi' and 'Change The Game' were among the company's biggest campaigns that featured him.

PepsiCo vice president for beverages Vipul Prakash confirmed the development. "At PepsiCo, our focus in advertising and marketing is to make our products the hero and celebrate the hero," Prakash said. "The idea will always play the most important role. If there's a role for the celebrity that helps take forward the idea of celebrating our product, we're more than happy to taking it further."

PepsiCo, which also makes 7Up and Mountain Dew drinks and Kurkure snacks besides its mainstay Pepsi Cola and Lay's chips, has had a history of being associated with A-listers from sport and Bollywood.

Popular names currently endorsing PepsiCo brands include cricketer Virat Kohli and actors Ranbir Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra.

Arun Pandey, founder of Rhiti Sports Management, the agency that represents Dhoni's business interests, said he was overseas. He didn't respond to questions on PepsiCo matter.

According to Forbes magazine's listings for 2016, Dhoni earned $27 million from endorsements and is among the world's highest paid athletes. Forbes estimated his salary and professional earnings at $4 million.

According to The Economic Times, experts said Dhoni's run with advertisers may be tapering with Kohli having emerged as an icon. Kohli, full of the youthful swagger that advertisers want, is said to be charging close to Rs2 crore a day versus Rs1.5 crore by Dhoni. In terms of annual contracts, Dhoni's asking price of Rs8 crore may not be finding too many takers, they said.

Up until 2014, Dhoni endorsed 18 brands including Pepsi, Reebok, Boost, Dabur, Sony, TVS Motors, Videocon, Orient Fans and Big Bazaar, charging Rs10-12 crore each. The list of brands is said to be less than 10 now and includes Lava Mobiles and GSK's Boost.

Dhoni, who announced his retirement from Test cricket in 2014, leads the Rising Pune Supergiants in the Indian Premier League. The previous team he skippered, Chennai Super Kings, was banned for two years over the spot fixing scandal. In 2014, he was listed by Forbes as the world's fifth most valuable sportsperson brand with a valuation of $20 million.

His business interests include gym chain SportsFit, sports retail chain FitSoul and the Mahi racing team. In February, Dhoni associated himself with lifestyle brand Seven, an entity floated by the Rhiti group that makes apparel and footwear. Source: