Endorsements and Stars
Vinod Mirani

Endorsements and Stars
Endorsements and Stars

It used to be the number of bouquets a star received on special occasions, the footwear outside his house that decided his/her popularity and marketibility (in those days, footwear was taboo in most places related to film industry like recording rooms, dubbing rooms, most production offices and the stars’ homes etc).

Now, the number of brand promotion assignments is the reflection of how popular a star is. Earlier, few stars ever were asked to promote consumer products or beauty products. If the memory serves one right, mainly Lux soap used the reigning female stars as models. Otherwise, the territories were well demarcated, models were models and stars were stars.

Lux soap counted mainly on influencing female consumers and, as a policy, engaged female actors. Launched in 1925 (the soap brand used Hollywood starlets to promote its brand initially. Soon, it decided to use local film stars as models and Leela Chitnis is said to be the first Indian actor to promote the brand (One report says that Lux was launched in India in 1909 with Leela Chitnis as its first model! Leela Chitnis was born in 1912!!). The appeal was totally glamour oriented as in, if such and such glamorous star uses Lux Bath Soap, so should you. The medium of reaching the target consumer, in this case, women, was limited to print media and street publicity; women were not privy or keen on print media while their outing being limited. So can’t vouch for the effectiveness of this campaign.

Since its launch in India, Lux has assigned just about every pretty or not so pretty but popular film actress with a clear complexion as its brand ambassador which included just about every female actor who was successful. No use naming them since it reads like a who is who of the Hindi film female actors, not to forget the female artistes from other regional films the company used for local appeal!

But, a time came when the ad agencies lost their perspective and the film stars doubled as brand ambassadors.

Lux was passé. The next big thing was the fairness creams and beauty creams for men! I thought a man always wanted to be a man, not a beauty!! Shah Rukh Khan promoted all such things as male fairness creams and get fair overnight creams.

Branding is the main source of income for most stars. Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan manage to do just about a film a year. How much can that earn for them? A few hundred crore, at best. Their moolah comes from branding which varies according to their popularity.

Something I think needs to be told is that the so called superstars make more money out of branding and endorsing products than they make from their films. It may be contractual obligations or whatever. Shah Rukh Khan still endorses a few products even after the public rejecting a horde of his recent films. Abhishek Bachchan tried to sell iDea network while his films did not draw a Rupees 100 or 200 ticket buyer! In his case, it looked more like the ad makers loyalty with the family. Amitabh Bachchan gets his share of branding because he has become an icon. Sunny Deol does not drink but he does promote alcohol. So do other stars like Akshay Kumar, who may not drink or smoke in real life.

Coming back to the promoters riding with the successful stars, it is not surprising that Ranveer Singh now sells more products than the Tatas and Ambani Mukesh combine! He promotes just about everything under the stars! The moviegoer endorsed him and the ad agencies are exploiting that status of Ranveer. Varun Dhawan is next in line followed by the newly coined star, Vicky Kaushal.

Vicky is the son of fight composer Sham Kaushal, the action director who made his Hindi film debut with the Nana Patekar film, Prahaar, in 1991. The lad is suddenly in demand which is an acknowledgement of his having arrived.

It is like, ad makers seem to be endorsing public choice by immediately signing up the actors whose films work at the box office. And, high time to since one has had enough of old faces endorsing just about everything from online groceries to fairness creams! Salman Khan, the most popular of the stars is somehow seen endorsing fewer products. Aamir Khan was dropped by ad makers following a public outrage following his controversial remark about tolerance/intolerance. But, public memory is short and he is now back endorsing products. Why not, when people lap up his films might as well let him endorse consumer products.

The actors are ready to do any kind ad promotion, Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan even sell products against their public image though Bachchan had stopped doing cola ads after a controversy regarding its content. Akshay Kumar is more in demand following his recent run of successful films. What is strange is the endorsement of vests; every actor has one brand to his name!

Among the female stars, Deepika Padukone still remain at No 1. People just adore her. Alia Bhatt is close second followed by Katrina Kaif.

Products were promoted by models but their role now seems to be limited to ramp walks because, film stars have all India reach, especially the Hindi belt.

A big star may do just one film a year at best. How much will it earn him?  Well, if it happens to be a Dangal, no limits but what if it happens to be a Zero?

@ The Box Office

There were no new films released last week. The first Friday after the New Year is considered to be inauspicious and it has become a tradition to avoid the release of a new film on that day.

n Simmba continued its march even during its week two as it has crossed 200 crore mark during the week. The film is expected to account for about 211 crore by the end of week two.