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Tuesday, Mar 30, 2004

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Brand Sehwag gets a triple boost

Neha Kaushik

New Delhi , March 29

VIRENDRA Sehwag's triple ton on Monday may or may not take the Indian team to a Test win in Pakistan, but it has certainly helped boost the value of Brand Sehwag.

The sports company handling the `Butcher of Najafgarh's' commercial endorsements, Collage Sports Management, believes that with Sehwag becoming the highest Indian run scorer in a Test innings, his market value as a brand endorser is set to see a significant jump.

In fact, his value has already increased since the beginning of the year. "Sehwag currently endorses 10 brands. Though there are various companies willing to sign him up, we have decided not to increase the number of endorsements. However, the new contracts that we sign up will be for a longer duration than at present, so that the brand association continues for a longer period," a Collage official said.

The brands Sehwag endorses at present include Reliance Infocomm, Samsung, Boost, Britannia, Band-aid, Coca-Cola, Sahara, Mayur Suitings and Adidas, among others.

This still, however, does not make him the highest earning cricketer or sportsperson in the country. Industry watchers point out that Sehwag is currently the fourth-highest earner in the cricket team after Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, and the fifth-highest earning sportsperson in the country.

Sehwag's brand value has seen a steady increase over the past years. Points out an official working with an ad agency, "The brand value of a celebrity tends to have a direct relationship with his performance value. This can be seen in the case of Sehwag as well."

Industry buzz has it that Sehwag's endorsement value is touching the magic eight-figure number, though there are no official confirmations on this. Compare this to Sachin Tendulkar who is believed to be charging upwards of Rs 2.5 crore per brand.

In addition to his sharp, aggressive hitting, Sehwag's boy-next-door image also works in his favour.

"Sehwag has a very down-to-earth, boy-next-door image, which was highlighted in the Reliance ad. He has very widespread appeal," says a Collage official.

Meanwhile, Sehwag's performance in the Samsung Test series has delighted the brands that he endorses at present. Says Mr K.S. Kim, President & CEO, Samsung South-West Asia Regional Headquarters, and MD, Samsung India, "Sehwag has made not only Team India but even Team Samsung proud. He has been a member of Team Samsung ever since we initiated the campaign, and we are delighted that he has been able to set a new all-time high record during the Samsung Cup series."

Mr Sanjeev Gupta, President and CEO of Coca-Cola India, adds, "Sehwag is a wonderful inspiration for all the associates of Coca-Cola."

No doubt Sehwag has won the hearts of corporates and the public alike, and should we say has lived up to the series catchline Jeet lo dil.

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