Sport

Graceful 'Shelly' goes distance with J'can corporate giant

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, December 05, 2013    

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Following on the heels of being named IAAF World Female Athlete of the Year, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was given a wider ambassadorial role encompassing the entire GraceKennedy Group of companies.

The extension and expansion of her current contract first signed in 2008 and limited to Grace Foods, will take her through to 2017 and will cover local and international brands such as Western Union and First Global Bank.

Don Wehby, GraceKennedy's Group CEO, refused to divulge the financial details of the contract extension.

"Our first contract with Shelly-Ann basically focused on the food divisions as you have seen in the market place with Vienna Sausages. Now what we have done we have agreed to expand it to the GraceKennedy Group of Companies," Wehby told the Jamaica Observer at the press briefing, at their Harbour Street headquarters yesterday.

He continued: "You will be seeing Shelly more as a group ambassador. We have our objective of being a global consumer group and Shelly-Ann is a world figure, so we will be using her as a brand ambassador also on the world stage making appearances for us more in the UK, US and Canada," he revealed.

Since Fraser-Pryce's image started appearing on the Grace Vienna Sausage brand, Wehby admitted that the sales have soared.

"It was fantastic. Some children would call the Vienna Sausages Shelly-Ann, so it has been a big impact and it is showing in the results of the sausages in which sales are up significantly and we have no doubt that Shelly-Ann has contributed to that increase in sales," he added.

"It has been a win-win situation for all of us and that's what a relationship is all about. GraceKennedy has benefitted and Shelly-Ann also. She has got that exposure to the corporate environment so life after track, she will be already exposed," he noted.

Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce, twice Olympic 100m champion and the recently crowned Female Athlete of the Year, following her triple gold medal winning performance at the Moscow World Championships in August, was equally ecstatic about the expansion of the contract.

"I started this relationship in 2008 and it has been journey, a journey that I would do over and over again because it is one of those journeys that have shaped the person who I am today," revealed Fraser-Pryce.

"Being apart of the GraceKennedy family has definitely given me the strength, the courage, the determination to understand that I have so many persons who believe in Shelly-Ann, who believes if you work hard, stay committed to what it is that you want to achieve, you will get there," she pointed out.

The 'Pocket Rocket', as Fraser-Pryce is affectionately called for her explosive starts, spoke of her love for GraceKennedy who stood by her in her moment of tribulation when she ran afoul of the track and field ruling body for her bout with an illegal substance Oxycodone taken for a toothache. Oxycodone is banned as a narcotic but is not considered performance enhancing or to be a masking agent.

"A big thank you for Mr Wehby and the group for putting that trust in me. Having that confidence and giving me that extra strength to stand when I needed it," said Fraser-Pryce.

"I just want to say thanks to GraceKennedy in giving me the opportunity to know who I am and giving me the platform to share my journey with young people," she added.

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