Coca-Cola brings back Salman Khan to endorse Thums Up

NEW DELHI: Beverage maker Coca-Cola has brought back actor Salman Khan to endorse its Thums Up cola brand, in a deal two officials aware of the development said was estimated at Rs 18 crore for two years. This is among the highest endorsement deals signed by a leading actor or cricketer.

Coca-Cola declined to confirm how much it has paid Khan for the association. Khan was brand ambassador for Thums Up till ’03. The current deal size is significantly higher than what Coca-Cola paid cricketer Sachin Tendulkar when it signed him for brand Coke. Early last year, the beverage maker had signed Tendulkar for a 3-year association estimated at close to Rs 12 crore.

Till March this year, Khan had been endorsing rival PepsiCo’s fizzy lime drink Mountain Dew. The actor, 46 years old, is currently riding a success wave with back-to-back Bollywood hits like Dabbang, Bodyguard, Wanted and Ek Tha Tiger.

Coca-Cola said it has also signed an agreement with Khan’s charity — Being Human – The Salman Khan Foundation — to jointly promote, conceive and execute charitable and social activities.

Coca-Cola India and South West Asia President & CEO Atul Singh said in a statement: “Thums Up’s core values of masculinity, adventure and thrill will be amplified by Salman’s association and will help us take the brand to the next level.” As Thums Up’s brand ambassador, Khan will be associated with a range of consumer activation and marketing programmes for the brand, Coca-Cola said.

In April, Coca-Cola dropped actor Akshay Kumar for Thums Up, ending almost a decade-old association with the actor, opting instead for four younger endorsers. Incidentally, Khan is older than Kumar.