Addis Ababa – World marathon record holder and EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s premier athlete Haile Gebreselassie has signed a one-year advertising agreement with Johnnie Walker, the most widely distributed brand of Scotch whiskey in the world.
Haile, who will be paid $100,000 for his service, has become the first African to partner with Johnnie WalkerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Walk with GiantsÃ¢â‚¬Â campaign, which celebrates the achievements of some of the great men and women in the world.
However, members of the media who attended the ceremony were critical about the Haile choice to become Johnnie WalkerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s partner saying that the advertisement will negatively influence Ethiopian children.
They also said that when Haile associates himself with alcoholic brands many Ethiopians, including children who consider Haile as a role model, will be tempted to test what Haile has advertised.
Nevertheless, Haile downplayed the remark arguing that children under 18 are not allowed to drink alcohol, whether he advertised Johnnie Walker or not. Haile, who admitted that he takes a sip once in a while, tried to convince attendees that it was not wrong to advertise a product (whiskey) which is regarded as a glamorous gift by many Ethiopians, not forgetting to warn those who drink alcohol irresponsibly.
“If people get drunk it is not my responsibility. They should drink responsibly,” he said. Read Full Report on the Ethiopian Reporter.