Baseline Ventures is sending notices to over 20 brands for using PV Sindhu’s image without proper permissions: Yashwanth Biyyala, Baseline Ventures
PV Sindhu brought home a Bronze medal from the Tokyo Olympics this yearPV Sindhu
As of today, Baseline Ventures has already sent out legal notices to 15 brands
brands

Baseline Ventures is sending notices to over 20 brands for using PV Sindhu’s image without proper permissions: Yashwanth Biyyala, Baseline Ventures

As of today, Baseline Ventures has already sent out legal notices to 15 brands
  • PV Sindhu and Baseline Ventures, the agency that handles her, is taking over 20 brands to court for using her name and image on their marketing communications without permission.
  • We spoke to Yashwanth Biyyala, Director - Talent and Partnerships, Baseline Ventures who told us how most of these brands have not just flouted rules around the use of an individual's image with her permission, they have also blatantly flouted the Olympics guidelines around advertising.
PV Sindhu made the nation proud last week by bringing home a Bronze medal from Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Indian woman to win two Olympic medals. With her win came congratulatory messages on social media, from the government, individuals and even brands who wanted to jump onto the trend, making the most out of the moment.

However, Sindhu and Baseline Ventures, the agency that handles the player, is taking over 20 brands to court, for using her name and image without the proper permissions. Baseline Ventures is seeking damages worth Rs 5 crore from each of the brands that have flouted the norms.

Officially, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has laid down clear rules about how athletes can communicate with brands during and after the games. The Rule 40 framework, according to the official Olympic website is aimed to enable ‘the Olympic Movement to fund all Olympic teams worldwide, Olympic sports and the Olympic Games themselves.’ The rulebook has clear guidelines about how players can engage with their Non-Olympic Partner personal sponsors. There is also a blackout period that the athletes are supposed to sign before the games. Apart from brands that are IOC)and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) partners, no other brands are allowed to push out communications with players.

“Rule 40 clearly mentions that there is a blackout period between July 13 (when the Olympic Village opens) and August 10 (two days after the Closing Ceremony). All athletes have had to give their consent to Rule 40 which clearly states that their brands cannot promote them during this blackout period. In fact, even brands that are paying money to Sindhu are not using her in their marketing during this period. They have not even put out a congratulatory message,” explained Yashwanth Biyyala, Director - Talent and Partnerships, Baseline Ventures.

Officially, only brands that are IOC partners, in this case, Bridgestone and Visa, are allowed to use the player in their communications during the tournament. Also, brands, like Amul, that have tied up with the IOA, are permitted to use the names of athletes. “Even the athletes themselves cannot put out a branded post during this time period. If brands want to put out content around athletes, they have to take a written consent, and none of them have done it. Close to 15 brands officially work with Sindhu, and since they have not taken IOA’s permission, none of them have sent out a single congratulatory post for her. And then we have brands that are blatantly flouting rules, on an individual athlete level as well as the Olympic rules,” added Biyyala.

Having sent legal notices to 15 brands, the agency is in the process of sending notices to 5 more brands. The agency is asking the brands to pay Rs 5 crore and also remove the posts that have flouted the norms from their social media handles. The agency has already sent notices to brands including Happydent (Perfetti Van Melle), Pan Bahar, Eureka Forbes, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Vodafone Idea, MG Motor, UCO Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Fino Payments Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Bank and Wipro Lighting and is in the process of sending notices to a few more brands.