After the winter break the Cola wars seem to be heading towards another hot summer. exchange4media has learnt that Coke has inked a deal with the man who is popularly known as ‘Nazafgarh ka Tendulkar’: Virender Sehwag. Reportedly Coke has been in discussions with Sehwag, ever since the man scored a century against New Zealand in the Tri Series in Sri Lanka and single handedly powered India to a win. The deal has finally been closed only recently. Incidentally Coke also sponsored that series in Sri Lanka.
Though the exact details of the deal are not yet know, market sources say that the contract is for a 3 year period and Sehwag has been paid close to couple of Crores for the same.
As reported by exchange4media last Friday Sachin Tendulkar has been signed up by auto major TVS to promote their two wheeler brand Victor. Sachin also happens to be a brand ambassador for Coke’s biggest rival Pepsi. With both the cola majors fighting to sign up the biggest cricket stars one wonders whether there would be enough players left in the team to be signed up. A look at the statistics: At least 8 playing members of the current team are either associated or have been associated with either of the brands in the past. Sachin, Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan, V V S Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh have been Pepsi models and Saurav, Javagal Srinath have promoted Coke. With Sehwag in Coke’s kitty, the teams (for the brands) seem to be more balanced now.
Despite the huge demand of celebrities, media watchers point out that off late associating with the game has become a costly proposition. Apart from the rising costs of acquisition of the stars, the sale ability of the particular name also lasts only as long as the player is performing well. A case in point is Pepsi’s acquisition of Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan. After their spectacular performance in the ICC Knock Out Cup in Kenya in 2000, Pepsi quickly moved in to benefit from the early mover advantage and signed on both the players basis their performance in just one tournament. Though, according to sources they weren’t too costly for the company but both the players were out of the Indian team just a few months after they were signed on and the move didn’t pay well for the cola major. There has been a talk of performance linked deals in the case of sports personalities, which has been implemented abroad but given the dearth of saleable celebrities in India the concept seems to be far from being implemented.
Virender Sehwag, though has been a consistent performer over the last 8 months and with his place in the team being a surety, at least for a while, the move augurs well for Coke.
Percept D’Mark, the celebrity management arm of Percept Communication was earlier handling all the deals on behalf of Virender Sehwag. It is not know which company helped Coke to clinch the deal.
The account for Coke is handled by various agencies. McCann handles the accounts for Coke and Fanta, whereas Limca and Kinley is looked after by O&M. Madisson handles all media buying for the company. A few officials contacted by exchange4media at these agencies neither confirmed nor denied the news.