Vantage point

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Suresh Raina's Endorsement Deal Story

As I write this blog post, Suresh Raina, having been generously granted a life by the butter-fingered West Indians, is batting well. This reminds me of an incident that happened a few months back.

Suresh Raina had just started making waves in the domestic circuit. His batting exploits were reminiscent of Virender Sehwag who also plundered domestic attacks in his junior days before meting out the same treatment to international bowlers. With Ganguly and Laxman being in patchy form, many were in form of giving a break to young dashers like Suresh Raina and Venugopal Rao. Raina, thanks to his explosive batting style, was more in focus.

With cricketing experts, several people from the ad world too had an eye on Raina. One of them was Shyamsunder Saxena, the head of a leading ad agency. he thought that he could sign on Raina early enough for a lower amount and then make money out of him once he became a star. It had worked with Irfan Pathan when an early gamble had paid off.

So Saxena signed on Raina and decided to hunt for ad assignments for him. Though several colas showed interest, the most attractive offer came from British Telecom. BT was lobbying hard in the Indian government and planned to enter the booming Indian telecom market by the end of 2005. They reckoned that by the time the clearances and licenses came through, and BT was ready to take on biggied like Airtel and Hutch, Raina would have become a star too. So they decided to plan a campaign starring him.

Everything was finalised. All that remained was the last financial negotiation and contract signing which was to happen in BT's London office. Shyamsundar Saxena and Suresh Raina were to meet with Ben Verwaayen, CEO of BT and finalise the deal.

Raina reached the office and was sitting in the conference room waiting for his agent. But the agent didn't turn up. raina and Verwaayen waited for a couple of hours but he still didn't turn up.

A passing Indian minstrel shook his head at this state of affairs and sang....

Raina BT jaaaye, Shyam na aaye... Raina BT jaaaaaaaaaye...Shyam na...aaaaaaaaaaye

:) :)