There has been a barrage of insinuation following news of beverages major Coca Cola India dropping Bollywood superstar Salman Khan as brand ambassador for its soft drink 'Thums Up' after four years of association. While the company scouts for a young face to go with its brand, the reason behind the company splitting ways with the highly successful actor had not been spelled pout, until now.
Turns out the company decided against renewing the actor’s contract which expired last month due to Salman’s association with reality show Big Boss 10.
Both Salman and Coca Cola have released a joint statement clarifying that replacing Khan as the brand ambassador was a mutual decision. The decision, the statement said, was taken considering his association with a ‘daily TV show’ which is sponsored by a brand ‘that competes with the Coca-Cola India product portfolio’.
While the statement did not mention the name of the show and the competition brand, it was quite evident that the show being referred to is Big Boss 10 which is sponsored by Appy Fizz, a brand under the aegis of Parle Agro.
Bigg Boss has signed up Parle Agro’s carbonated apple juice brand Appy Fizz as the show’s main sponsor, ending its two-year association with online retailer Snapdeal. Also, it is reported that Parle Agro will be paying a whopping amount of Rs 35 to 45 crore to the channel.
Besides Salman taking up a show sponsored by a rival brand, there is more to Coca Cola’s decision than Salman’s brand association.
Reports citing sources said that the company's decision not to renew its contract with the 50-year-old actor is more to do with the image of Coca Cola, which is seen as a young brand.
"That explains why Coca Cola is talking to a much younger star like Ranveer Singh," the source added.
Khan has been among the top celebrity endorsers reportedly charging Rs 5 crore per year per brand. Recently, he had courted controversy when he supported Pakistani artists saying "they were not terrorists" in the wake of a debate on whether they should be allowed to work in Indian movies after the Uri attack.
Coca Cola India had roped in Khan as its brand ambassador for the second time to endorse its Thums Up brand in October 2012 replacing another Bollywood star Akshay Kumar. He had earlier endorsed the brand in early 2000s.
At that time, Coca-Cola India had also signed an agreement with Being Human, The Salman Khan Foundation, to jointly promote, conceive and execute charitable and social activities.