Coca Cola has signed has roped in former Indian Cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly as its social ambassador for a three year deal which ends on 2017. His former team mate Sachin Tendulkar’s contract ended last year and they have chosen Ganguly as the replacement.
“Ganguly is on board and a part of the team that will lead our charge towards the FIFA Under-17 World Cup football 2017,” Coca-Cola India and South West Asia vice-president, marketing and commercial Debabrata Mukherjee said. Coca-Cola is a partner of the 2017 tournament to be held in India. “This could be a watershed event on the Indian football canvas,” Mukherjee said.
Besides the cricket association, Ganguly will lead Coca-Cola’s football programmes and run various grassroots football activities. “Ganguly has also volunteered to be a part of the Coca-Cola Support My School movement – a programme that promotes the cause of healthy schools,” Mukherjee told ET.
“This deal should give Coca-Cola bigger clout in sports circles — mainly cricket and football. Sourav has a clean, consistent image,” an official directly aware of the developments said. For Coca-Cola, which has A-listers such as actresses Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor endorsing its brands, getting Ganguly to back its social initiatives should pay off, industry experts said.
“Sourav is on the IPL panel, he’s a commentator, he’s visible consistently, and he’s on prime-time news. Brands want names that are visible and in the news. The move makes a lot of sense for Coca-Cola,” said Shailendra Singh, joint managing director of entertainment and sports marketing firm Percept.
Coca-Cola did not comment on Ganguly’s endorsement fees. While Coca-Cola signed Tendulkar for an estimated .`12 crore for three years, another official said Ganguly has been roped in for less.
Establishing an association with sports resonates well for cola companies, which often face flak for promoting sugary drinks. Rival Pepsi-Co, too, has cricketers MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli as the faces of its brands. “Sourav is a cricketer by accident and footballer by gene. He identifies with our priorities around promoting physical activity and well-being,” Mukherjee said.
The maker of Thums Up cola and Sprite lemon drink has come full circle by turning to Ganguly, who used to endorse Coca-Cola beverages from 1997 to 2000.