Tata Teleservices seems to have been caught off-guard after the International Cricket Council (ICC) said that the telecom company had infringed the ambush marketing clause by using skipper Saurav Ganguly and bowler Irfan Pathan in its latest ad campaign during the ICC Champions' Trophy.
The company has now decided to immediately pull down the hoardings featuring the two cricketers across the country and is examining the players' contract with the international body to decide on the fate of the ad campaign. Company sources said that the Tatas would honour the contract signed by the two brand ambassadors with the ICC. Tata Tele had unveiled the two players as its ambassadors coinciding with its new tariffs for Tata Indicom telephone services.
According to the players' clause, no player can endorse a product that is in direct competition with any of the official sponsors for 45 days before, during or after an ICC event. As Hutch Telecom is an official sponsor, Tata Telservices cannot use any cricketer on the Indian team in its advertising campaign as it is in direct competition with the former.
The ICC has already written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the issue. The BCCI on its part has communicated the ICC stand to the team management in England and is awaiting clarifications from the players.
The ICC's ambush marketing clause has been in the midst of controversy even during the World Cup held last year. While LG was the official sponsor, Samsung had signed on several cricketers for its Team Samsung ad campaign.