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Narain Karthikeyan races on the branding track

05-August-2005
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Narain Karthikeyan races on the branding track

It has been quite hectic for the last few days for Narain Karthikeyan, the sole Indian representative to F1. The F1 star has been pit-stopping for brand associations in India; especially after his brief visit post-Hungarian Grand Prix.

The brands have been racing against time to rope in the young, unconventional motorist, and the latest one to have hooked him is JCB.

Brands like Tata Motors and BPCL, with their support to the motorist, promoted him from the F3 to F1 circuit. And now, more brands from media to apparel are joining hands with him. Amaron Batteries, ESPN-STAR Sports and Kingfisher are among those associated with the Indian racing star.

On the Tata Group’s association with Kathikeyan, Dr V Sumantran, Executive Director-Passenger Car Business Unit, Tata Motors, said, “We have always supported Narain Karthikeyan’s racing career and are upbeat about our association with him.”

He further said that Karthikeyan’s ‘special appearance’ at the launch of Dicor, the premium SUV Tata Safari, was primarily to carry forward the association. “Moreover, Karthikeyan embodies the spirit of Dicor, which is primarily targeted for those who dare to take the ‘unconventional fast lane’,” he added.

Interestingly, JCB, the construction equipment major, which announced its plans to foray into the apparel business on August 4, has also roped in the motorist as its brand icon. Karthikeyan’s association with the company will see him sporting the latest line of apparels from JCB.

Managing Director, JCB-India, Onkar Singh Sunar, said, “Narain stands for the company’s values such as continuous performance improvement and commitment towards excellence in markets around the globe, which makes him the right fit.”

Meanwhile, leading sports channel ESPN-STAR Sports, too, recently announced that Karthikeyan would play an important role in drawing more Indian viewers to enjoy motor sports.

R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, had earlier said, “We will use his presence in the F1 circuit to further grow the sport’s popularity in India. Narain’s presence will help in making Indian consumers relate to motor sports, subsequently leading to viewership for the sport. We will kickstart our promotional campaign with Narain in an on-ground event in his hometown Coimbatore in the first half of August 2005.”

Karthikeyan is going to be on the fast track this season. Just as he gets busy with launches, motor racing promotions and more brand associations, many F1 die-hard loyalists would only keep their fingers crossed for Karthikeyan’s stint at the first-ever Turkish Grand Prix.

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