The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Samsung pads up for new innings

New Delhi, Sept. 26: Samsung isn’t going to give in easily: the Korean electronic goods maker is commissioning another advertisement on cricket that it plans to air during the World Cup in February.

The Korean company, which was stymied from airing its ads featuring current cricketers at the ongoing Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka by ICC’s ambush marketing clause in the players’ contracts, is investing an additional Rs 1 crore to prepare another set of ads that will revolve around the cricket theme, but will not feature any of the current cricketers.

Last month, Samsung had prepared a set of advertisements built around the theme of Team Samsung that featured seven Indian cricketers: Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Mongia, Ajay Ratra and Javagal Srinath.

The brouhaha and the uneasy settlement between ICC, the Board for Cricket Control in India (BCCI) and the players forced Samsung to can its original series of advertisements. It tried to cobble a contingency ad campaign, but that too backfired.

“We missed the opportunity at the mini world cup very badly. We have withdrawn the Team Samsung advertisements completely as our contingency plans failed. We are airing the Asian Games ads now, but very soon you will see us back in cricket,” said M. B. Lee, Samsung India’s vice-president (marketing) on the sidelines of a dinner hosted by the company in the honour of India’s team to the Asian Games in South Korea. Samsung is the official sponsor of the Games.

Although Lee refused to give details about the new ads, company officials said: “We are in the process of signing up a few new people whom we cannot name. This will bring us back into cricket, and will be aired very soon.”

The speculation is that they could involve former cricketers who are not tied down by cricketing contracts with the ICC or BCCI.

The ICC contract had hit Samsung and Coca-Cola India the hardest. Coke tried to grab space on the airwaves with a new ad featuring actor Aamir Khan in a rustic Punjab setting, but Samsung was knocked cold by the ICC edict. The new series of Samsung ads are designed to ensure that it does not miss out on the opportunity to gain mileage from the fevered excitement over the World Cup cricket tournament to be played in South Africa.

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