One of Ethiopia’s greatest runners recently signed with a major alcohol brand.
Marathon world-record holder Haile Gebrselassie has recently signed on to promote a product not generally associated with world-class runners: whiskey. On Monday, it was announced that 37-year-old Gebrselassie will make a commercial advertisement for Johnnie Walker whiskey, a brand of parent company Diageo, which also owns the Smirnoff, Baileys, and Guinness brands.
“I cannot begin to express how proud we at Diageo are to have Haile Gebrselassie associated with Johnnie Walker,” said John Lloyd, the new business director for Diageo. “He is truly an inspiration to us all.”
At the endorsement announcement was an enormous photograph of Gebrselassie taken with an Ethiopian river in the background. “He used to run to class,” the advertisement reads. “Now he runs for gold!” At the bottom of the billboard are the words, “Keep walking.”
Gebrselassie was pleased with the endorsement, but cautioned any potential underage drinkers. “I particularly like the message, ‘Keep Walking,’” he said. “I concur with their instructions of not letting children under the age of 18 consume it, and those older to be responsible with their intake.”
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