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Dec 23, 2010

Pepsi signs Dilshan and Malinga

by Rex Clementine

Pepsi’s brand ambassadors Tillekeratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga pose for photographs after their association with Pepsi was announced. (Pic by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

Pepsi Cola, a leading carbonated soft drink announced its tie-up up with leading Sri Lankan cricketers Tillekeratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga at a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday.

Dilshan, a dynamic opening batsman has been in outstanding form in all forms of the game since May 2009, while Lasith Malinga has been a key component of the Sri Lankan bowling attack and notably claimed a hat-trick in the last World Cup in the Caribbean.

Both players will be promoting the product prior to the ICC Cricket World Cup. Along with Pepsi, LG, Reliance, Hero Honda, Emirates, Yahoo, Reebok, Castrol and Money Gram are the other sponsors of the ICC.

Pepsi also announced that they will be kicking off their World Cup promotion campaign from January. "We went to India to shoot the commercial and it looks very exciting. It’s coming in January and we are excited to see it," Dilshan said speaking to journalists.

Kunal Sharma, Country Manager of Pepsi Sri Lanka said that the reason to choose Dilshan and Malinga as their brand ambassadors was because they were dynamic cricketers. Sharma also revealed that Pepsi will introduce its new logo from January 2011.

The ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy that’s on a tour of Sri Lanka currently was also brought for the function.


The Cola Wars
The two popular soft drinks brands in the world, Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola have been involved in some interesting battles to promote their brands and at times cricket has been effectively used to promote their products. Although Pepsi-Cola is currently an official sponsor for the Cricket World Cup, the last time the World Cup was played in the sub-continent it was Coke who had signed up as the official sponsor.

However, Pepsi had several leading Indian players like Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin and Vinod Kambli on board as brand ambassadors and cleverly but perhaps unethically promoted their product although Coke was the official sponsor.

Coke’s slogan during the World Cup was, ‘The Official Drink of the Cricket World Cup’. Pepsi responded by having their own slogan, ‘Pepsi - Nothing Official About It.’

As Coke was an Official Sponsor, during the drinks break, the Coke trolley used to come out, but the Indian players who were contracted with Pepsi refrained from going anywhere close to it. While doing so, they may have forgotten that it’s just not cricket!

After the fiasco, the International Cricket Council had to introduce the Ambush Marketing Clause for players’ contracts to protect its sponsors. Strangely, Pepsi is one of the beneficiaries of the clause although they were involved in ambush marketing during the 1996 tournament. (RC)

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