The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sania bubbles into top 10
- Sliding down tennis charts, but a winner in ad rankings

New Delhi, Jan. 27: Her tennis rankings may have slid over the past one year, but you canít take the fizz out of Sania Mirza.

The Hyderabad girl, who has slipped to 53 from a career high of 31 in October 2005, made it to at least one No. 1 slot in 2006 ó thanks to Sprite, and also Tata Tea.

According to a survey, Sania beat a whole bunch of actors to clinch the top spot among celebrities advertising food and drink on television. Only Hrithik Roshan, who does it for Coke, matched her zing, bubble for bubble.

AdEx India, a division of TAM Media Research, which analysed the TV ads, says Sania is the only one not an actor on the list of top 10 celebs who endorsed food and drink on TV last year.

Sania and Hrithikís share of the celebrity endorsement is 9 per cent each. The others on the list are Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan (8 per cent each), Kajol (7 per cent), Rani Mukherjee and Aamir Khan (6 each), Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan (5 each), and Juhi Chawla (4).

Sprite, from the Coca-Cola stable, paid Sania to promote the message that it was just a soft drink ó nothing more ó through ads like the one in which a pesky journalist asks her why she always wears T-shirts that have something written on them.

Sania mumbles something for the camera, then tells viewers in an aside that she drinks the cola because she likes it.

Colas need stars.

In 2006, according to the AdEx survey, 34 per cent of all celebrity endorsements in food and beverage on TV were for aerated soft drinks. Biscuits followed at 23 per cent, chocolates at 12 and chips and wafers at 8.

So while Sania and Hrithik promoted Sprite and Coke, Shah Rukh swore by Pepsi.

The volume of food and beverage ads on TV grew 35 per cent in 2006 over the past year. The colas, however, didnít record as impressive a growth as, say, the humble cooking paste, which marked an 11-fold increase.

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