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Volume 10 No. 25
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Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli Ends Six-Year Association With Pepsi

PepsiCo and Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli "have parted ways, ending a six-year endorsement association amid concerns" expressed by Kohli about promoting products that "go against his ideals of fitness just for money," according to Ratna Bhushan of the ECONOMIC TIMES. With this, Pepsi, which has "banked on household names globally as well as in India to back its mainstay brands," has lost the country’s "highest-paid celebrity and its most marketable face." A PepsiCo spokesperson said, "Yes, the old agreement has ended and both parties have amicably decided not to renew (it) as of now." Kohli, a fitness enthusiast, "expressed reservations in an interview about being associated with a sugary drink." He commands an endorsement fee of Rs 4.5 crore ($676,000) to Rs 5 crore ($752,000) a day compared with Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 4 crore a day last year. Fresh food startup Fingerlix co-Founder Shripad Nadkarni, a former marketing exec for Coca-Cola, said, "Soft drink companies need to step up innovations and launch relevant products since concerns about sugar have come home. ... Historically, names endorsing colas used to be the ultimate youth icons. But with the number of options of consumer connections increasing dramatically, the share of mass media, too, has come down" (ECONOMIC TIMES, 9/15).