Celebrity Brands: Dhoni – Captain cool of social media

Mahendra Singh Dhoni social media celebrity brand

With celebrity brands this week, we traverse through the Dhoni social media journey, a testament to the fact that if you’re genuine, popularity & love follows across platforms.

Mahi, Thala, Captain, one of the most successful skippers of all times is indeed truly loved. Inspite of Mahendra Singh Dhoni being relatively low key on social media, his fan following and engagement continue to thrive. Hailing from Ranchi, Dhoni commands respect, love & mass connect across ages. Apart from having many accolades in his kitty, the skipper is cherished by brands, too.

Touted as ‘charismatic beyond cricket fields’, Dhoni brings relevance for the brand endorsements as a reliable ambassador who’s advice people look up to. As the cricketer announced his retirement on August 15, 2020, he is also seen expanding his business ventures with investments such as Cars24, & owned athleisure brand, ‘Seven’, and a gym venture, Sportsfit World. MSD even co-owns Chennaiyin F.C., an ISL team.

Dhoni is known to have been witty even on the social media and has been memers’ favorite. The cricketer has also had his share of controversy. In one of the instances, Dhoni was embroiled for his association with Amrapali Group, a real-estate brand when he dropped the endorsement as the promises to the residents were reportedly not meted out for the property. 

With some help from Qoruz data, we understand how Captain Cool on social media doesn’t follow a strategy as such, but is all about him being true to his personality and true self, which works for him seamlessly.

Brand Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Overview

MSD ‘s presence throughout social media is marked with a style of his own & an aura of coolness. The prominent themes that emerge throughout his digital presence are #changemaker, #neverletsyoudown, #salaamsoldiers, #WhistlePodu, #Thala, #chennaiyinfc amongst others. Apart from these, his love for dogs, bikes, games, and his daughter, Ziva permeate across platforms.

Back in the days, Dhoni often used social media for witty banter with his peers or taking a bold stance on issues.

As Dhoni stepped down as captain of India in the limited over formats in January 2017, the cricketer’s activity reduced on social media. He continued to be associated with brands leveraging Facebook and sharing candid moments through Instagram posts

Mahi often shares glimpses of flaunting varied hairdos and beard looks.

The cricketer started MS Dhoni Charitable Foundation back in 2010 & has continued to be involved in charity with various partnerships.

While he has been associated with many causes such as batting over nutrition, sanitation, school & education for girl child without any pomp & show, Dhoni continued to maintain a distance from media interactions as COVID-19 took a grip over the world. Few glimpses of him can be seen through CSK when wife Sakshi Dhoni takes to Instagram Live.

The cricketer started 2020 with snowfall & Ziva in Mussoorie.


After almost 437 days of hiatus from cricket where the fans were waiting for their Thala to return, Mahi sported a ‘rugged look & a beard dyed jet-black’ indulging in farming with a tractor.


Recently, when his little daughter, Ziva posted another bearded look of the former captain, the social media world went in a tizzy, much to the memers’ delight. Here, the father-daughter were seen having fun with a playtime session & exercise alongside their pet.


As the cricketer was spotted in a clean-shaven look at an IPL practice session post this event, the viral video paved way for memes.

Dhoni’s love for dogs & animals also comes out across his social media presence.


The cricketer leverages social media to launch his strategic investments & announcements.


As Dhoni announced his retirement on Independence day through an Instagram video, fans awaited his return in IPL 2020.

The fan pages & Chennai Super Kings’ official handle for the maverick player seem to be buzzing quite often, keeping Dhoni trending. These prominently include- MS Dhoni Fans official, Dhonism, and more.


Social media Footprint & Analysis

Dhoni retains his position at No.5 at Forbes India list of 100 celebrities, 2019. Brand MSD stands at INR 135.93 crores despite the cricketer not being into Test matches. Other reports suggest that Dhoni’s net worth is around INR 750-800 Crores.

The cricketer joined Twitter back in November 2009 & used to be most active on the medium. Of late, he remains most active on Facebook & leverages Instagram to mark important occasions. We see glimpses of the captain through Chennai Super Kings’ official handles & his spouse, Sakshi Dhoni’s.

His social media footprint is as follows:

  • Instagram – 29.7 million
  • Facebook – 20.4 million
  • Twitter – 8 million

According to Qoruz data, content affinity for the cricketer’s page is also seen for football, gadgets & movies.

The audience engagement for Dhoni’s official is maximum on Instagram, followed by Facebook & Twitter.

Instagram Overview

The cricketer garners a 9.98% engagement rate on Instagram with 30-40% dynamic posts to date. His followers have increased by 11.89% in the last 30 days, suggest Qoruz data. Quality over quantity of posts seems to be the benchmark across Dhoni’s Instagram profile. This is proved by the content performance on Dhoni’s page which is much higher than the Industry average as cited below:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni- Instagram Overview

Further, most of his followers speak ‘Travel’. 79.7%+ of his Instagram audience comprises males.

Facebook Overview

Dhoni leveraged Facebook mostly for brand campaigns in the past 6-7 months. However, his followers have grown by 0.87% in the past 30 days. We observed mostly dynamic video posts on his Facebook profile.

Twitter Overview

Dhoni seems to always have been Twitterati’s favorite. A few of the recent hashtags around him have been #MissYouDhoni, #HappyBirthDayDhoni, and #WelcomeBackDhoni for IPL 2020.

Data further points towards an average engagement rate of 0.07% on Dhoni’s Twitter account with a growth of 3.59% followers in the last 30 days.

Most of his Twitter audiences speak English followed by Bengali & Gujrati.

Through Dhoni’s social media presence, we see upfront, frank and precise captions. While Twitter posts from 2014-17 showcase the former captain in a candid to witty mode, the latest infrequent Instagram posts showcase to-the-point captions with mostly no hashtags.

Also read: Celebrity Brands: Virat Kohli – Captain of social media presence?

Friends, family & Locker Room Fun

Dhoni’s social media presence gives a sneak-peak into heartfelt moments with his family, especially bonding with his daughter, Ziva.


Despite immense pressure on the field, Dhoni always exudes an aura of calmness & invincibility that helped him achieve milestones for the Indian Cricket team & get the nickname of ‘Captain Cool’. His social media presence often provides glimpses of the dressing room fun.


Sakshi- The pillar of strength

Be it refuting rumors about her husband or lashing out at reporters for misleading information, support from Sakshi Dhoni has often reverberated through the cricketer’s social media presence.

Marking important events 

Continuing with seldom posts, Dhoni leverages social media to mark important events beyond cricketing realms. Be it receiving the honorary ‘Padma Bhushan’ award, or announcing his retirement through video posts, Mahi usually shares marquee events through the channels.



Dhoni X Brand Associations

According to a Hansa Research report– Only five celebrities cut across geographies, gender, age, and socioeconomic classifications that include Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli. The study further highlights that Dhoni continues to endorse products in synergy with his brand attributes such as that of a composed leader, innovator & an athlete.

Reports even suggest that the ‘down-to-earth’, small-town image helps Brand Dhoni to stay popular amongst brands who aim to leverage his calm, relatable & cool persona with mass appeal. In tandem to this fact, Sunil Gavaskar was recently quoted as saying, “Since MSD comes from Ranchi, which doesn’t have a cricket culture as such, the whole India loves him. Sachin is more popular in Mumbai and Kolkata. Kohli is more popular in Delhi and Bangalore. MS Dhoni is loved all over India,”.

His ‘Thala Dhoni’ image for Chennai Super Kings further seems to enhance the brand value.

According to data Dhoni endorses brands under Home Decor, Airlines, E-commerce, & FMCG category through his Facebook page.

Dhoni’s smart investments also include Cars24 & Dream11 that are promoted through his social media presence. The star has associated with a gamut of brand campaigns that stand for inspiration, future planning, and power.



Indigo Paints


Mutual Funds sahi hai






Initiatives & Controversies

MS Dhoni’s Charitable Foundation has often made efforts to raise funds for young athletes, for the Indian Army, and more in the past.

In the recent days, while the cricketer maintained a distance from social, he was seen thanking small merchants as COVID warriors through a MasterCard’s #ThankYouVyapaariyo campaign during the pandemic.

In the initial days of lockdown, Dhoni donated INR 1 lakh to fight coronavirus in India to a Pune-based NGO, Mukul Madhav & soon was caught in the ire of controversy around it with #Dhoni & #ShameOnDhoni trending on Twitter.

Reports suggest that the NGO had a target of INR 12.5 lakh as donations which Dhoni helped fulfill with the donation. Soon, some noted people came to his support.

IPL Fever

With the 13th season of IPL, the latest TAM Ad Ex report suggests Dhoni occupies the second position in brand endorsements with close to 30 brands in his name.

As the CSK skipper took the team to triumph on 19th September 2020, the electricity & charisma generated by the leader reverberated on social media as he accomplished the feat of winning 100 matches on IPL.

IPL 2018 data highlighted that 50% of CSK’s conversations happened around Dhoni. Be it #ThankYouDhoni posts or felicitating the persona with #WelcomeBack hashtags, the skipper seems to be memers’ and hashtags favorite.

Summing it up

As we traced the social media presence of Brand Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the undiminished value of the personality is quite evident. The age-old adage, if the content/product are good, you don’t need to go out of the way to win consumers stands true when it comes to Dhoni. Merely by being himself on the field and on social media, makes him a phenomenon to resonate with. There’s something to chew on.