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Friday, Feb 22, 2002

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Tatas see Narain as their `Sachin'

Purvita Chatterjee

MUMBAI, Feb. 21

"HE'S very fast off the grid. And this is perhaps the only chance you'll get to catch up. Join the Tata group." If you are wondering what this is all about, it is the invite to witness the new brand ambassador for the Tata group. The young racing champ, Narain Karthikeyan, is going to rejuvenate the heritage group trying to get a youthful look.

The black and white flag depicted in the invite signifies the new beginning for the group which has been desperate to don a new image in sync with the times.

Shedding its "old" tag, the Tatas will have the young Karthikeyan as its new icon... "Very soon, this flag will set Indian hearts aflutter" as the invite further states.

Working on the project to appoint its new Ambassador is the group's Corporate Affairs Department at Bombay House.

According to an official from the Tatas, "any of the Tata group companies is free to use him to endorse the brand. We feel that he is going to be as big an icon as Sachin."

Although this is not going to be the first time the young Karthikeyan is endorsing a brand, the racing champ is currently on a roll.

As the Tata official says, "after all, he is on his way to participating in Formula 1 racing, a feat which no other Indian has achieved so far."

While Karthikeyan has endorsed other sports-related brands and companies like Amara RajaBatteries, representing the Tata group seems to be the young champ's big break into the world of advertising as well.

That the Tatas have such faith in his performance and elevated him as their "icon," leaving out the bigger names in the sports world, goes to show that Karthikeyan is possibly going to be the next `Sachin', says an ad industry analyst.

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Tatas see Narain as their `Sachin'

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