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Abstract:

The case, 'The Siyaram Celebrity Endorsement Experience' examines how and why the
cricket match-fixing scandal in 2000 forced textile company Siyaram Silk Mills to
withdraw an advertisement campaign for its suiting brand J.Hampstead.

The case also provides a brief introduction to the concept of celebrity endorsement. The
case is so structured as to enable students to see how celebrity endorsement created
problems for Siyaram.

Students can get an idea of the advantages and disadvantages of celebrity endorsement.

Issues:

» Celebrity Endorsements Marketing Communication Strategy

The Cronje Scandal

In April 2000, the New Delhi police unearthed one of the biggest scandals ever to hit the
world of cricket. While investigating a local corruption case, officials recorded phone
conversations between Hansie Cronje (Cronje), the captain of the South African cricket
team, and Sanjeev Chawla, a London-based Indian businessman.

The conversation in the tapes seemed to implicate both men in illegal betting on a match
played in February 2000 in India. After initial denials, Cronje conceded that he had
accepted $ 15,000 to fix the match . The news shocked both cricket fans and the media
alike - Cronje's face was smeared with black paint on posters across the country.
Siyaram Silk Mills Ltd. (Siyaram), one of India's leading textile companies, was also affected
badly by this controversy. Hansie Cronje was one of the key celebrity endorsers for Siyaram's
J.Hampstead brand of clothing.
The campaign featuring Cronje had been running on the print, electronic and outdoor media
from March 2000. Siyaram and its advertising agency, Percept, watched in dismay as their
celebrity endorser turned into an internationally hated sportsman overnight.

The issue raised a heated debate in corporate and media circles regarding the perils of using
celebrity endorsement. Percept sources commented, "This mess is horrible."Siyaram pulled
down all the billboards featuring the entire South African team across the country. The
J.Hampstead campaign was completely withdrawn, almost 20 days before it completed its
scheduled run on hoardings and television...

Background Note

Siyaram was a part of the Siyaram Poddar Group of companies, which had a turnover of $ 209
billion in 2000-01. The group, founded in 1954, was into the textile (yarns, fabrics and
garments), paper/paperboards and tyre (rubber tyres and tubes) businesses...

The J.Hampstead Story

J.Hampstead was a very popular suiting brand in Europe, renowned for its premium
100% wool suitings woven from rich natural fibers like merino wool, cashmere and
woolsilk. In 1995, Siyaram tied up with J.Hampstead for marketing its suitings in India.

The company imported the fabric from Italy. It was priced in the range of Rs 1,500-1,600
per meter. In September 1997, Siyaram decided to begin manufacturing the brand at its
plants with technical assistance from J.Hampstead...

The Celebrity Endorsement Issue

Celebrity endorsements began way back in the 19th century with UK's Queen Victoria
endorsing Cadbury's Cocoa. Using celebrities for promotion has been a common marketing
communications strategy, practiced globally. Marketers believe celebrity endorsers are more
effective than non-celebrity endorsers in generating actual sales from the customers, and
positively influence the consumption of the products they are associated with..

The Aftermath

Cronje had to resign from the South African team and was barred from playing cricket ever
again. In South Africa, the Spur Restaurant Chain in Johannesburg ended a multi-million rand
-advertising contract with Cronje.

The controversy heated up in the next few weeks, with many more Indian and international
cricket players being named as parties to illegal match fixing. It was reported that the Board of
Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Mumbai/Dubai underworld were also involved in the
scandal...

Keywords:

The Siyaram Celebrity Endorsement Experience, cricket match-fixing, 2000, textile company,
Siyaram Silk Mills, advertisement campaign, J.Hampstead, celebrity endorsement, advantages,
disadvantages, celebrity endorsemen