New Delhi: Beverages major PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd has ended its at least decade-old association with cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, 35, as part of its strategy to position Pepsi as a youth brand.
Tendulkar’s contract with Pepsi expired in May and has not been renewed, said a person familiar with the development, who did not wish to be identified because no announcement on this issue has been made by either the company or the cricketer’s agents.
PepsiCo India executives declined comment on the subject and Venu Nair of World Sports Group, the agent handling Tendulkar, could not be reached for comment.
Getting on in years: A file photo of Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar in action, in a cricket match against Bermuda. He continues to endorse numerous brands such as Boost, Canon, Adidas, Visa and Aviva. (Photo: Adnan Abid/Reuters)
Earlier, PepsiCo had not renewed its contracts of cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. It has, however, signed up Ishant Sharma, Indian captain M.S. Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to be part of its new “Yeh hai Youngistaan Meri Jaan” (My dear, this is Youngistaan) campaign, a reference to the brand’s appeal to young people. Ganguly and Dravid are 36 years old and 35 years old respectively. Dhoni, Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma are 27, 20, and 21 years old respectively.
PepsiCo kicked off its “Youngistaan” campaign with an advertisement featuring Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. It has since followed up with spots featuring just Kapoor and Padukone.
Pepsi is the second large company to choose not to renew its relationship with Tendulkar. In 2006, Bharti Airtel Ltd ended its association with the cricketer.
However, Tendulkar continues to be popular among advertisers, and endorses several brands such as health drink Boost, Canon, Adidas, Visa, Britannia, and Aviva.
Tendulkar did not play in most matches of the recently concluded Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament and missed the Asia Cup because of injury. “Sachin is still a unique athlete and individual. I do not think anyone can match his profile anytime soon. He is still a public figure and his daily performance does not really matter,” said Andreas Gellner, managing director, Adidas India Pvt. Ltd.
“Regardless of his performance and age, Sachin is still a very strong brand in the minds of people. And he is doing well from Canon’s perspective,” said Alok Bharadwaj, vice-president, Canon India Pvt. Ltd.