Chris Gayle to endorse Mallya’s Cariba Rum

25 May,2012

By Anshul Dhamija & Boby Kurian


Swashbuckling cricketer Chris Gayle has extended ties with Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits as the latter tries to spin a Caribbean rum story off the cricket pitch. The big hitting Jamaican, and arguably the most valuable player in Mr Mallya’s Indian Premier League (IPL) team, has signed an endorsement deal for the company’s latest brand, Cariba Rum.


This is the first major standalone deal for Gayle, the highest run scorer in the current IPL season, on the Indian brand endorsement pitch. The move is probably part of Mr Mallya’s multi-million dollar strategy to retain Chris Gayle, who has been eyed by rival teams. Mr Mallya’s Bangalore team bought Gayle for $560,000 just before last season and managed to retain him in the fifth edition this year.


While Gayle’s IPL price remains the same, his overall package, including endorsement fee, may touch the maximum $2 million for an individual player in the T20 league. United Spirits, which also owns the Bengaluru team, didn’t disclose the endorsement fee but said the contract was for “more than one year”.


Outside cricket, USL’s move to use Gayle to build a Caribbean rum brand is part of the company’s premiumization strategy aimed at checking the rapid advance of MNC rivals. Prestige and premium brands will contribute almost 60% of the company’s profits in the current fiscal, up from just under 10% in 2005.


Mr Mallya, who had Caribbean business interests when he owned Berger Paints, is rolling out Cariba with a blend imported from the islands where rum was first distilled more than 300 years ago. Gayle, who embodies the Caribbean free spirit, may help United Spirits to develop a rum story closer to the original home. Cariba rum aims to tap the upgrading rum drinkers in a market where most brands in the flavour category (barring exceptions like Bacardi) are regular and economy priced.


“Gayle is the best fit as brand ambassador for a rum brand. Dark, brooding, and hard-hitting – all these facets make for great rum,” said brand consultant Harish Bijoor. “However, sportsmen and alcoholic beverages have always been a question mark in the minds of people. But then, Mr Mallya knows the cricket story,” he added.


Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2012, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved


Photograph: Fotocorp


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