Gimmicks to make big bucks!

Gimmicks to make big bucks!

The era of star endorsements on Indian television.

As Shanker Shetty, Associate Vice president, Mudra Communications puts it succinctly; “The biggest advantage when you sign on a star to endorse your product is that you can ensure recall value for your ad. No doubt it is a gimmick to use the services of a star for endorsement of your product but then you cannot deny the far-reaching impact of a star’s endorsement. Like for example even though Clinic Plus has been there for several years, today the moment you think of Shahrukh Khan, you automatically recall that he had endorsed the Clinic Plus ad.”

Amitabh Bachchan who never agreed to work in any ad film when he was at the peak of his career way back in the 80s seems to be one actor who has done the maximum number of ad films these days. Post Kaun Banega Crorepati, Amitabh Bachchan’s stock value as an endorser shot up several times. 

Had KBC not at all clicked with the viewers, today no multinational would have risked offering Amitabh this kind of mind-boggling figure as his fee for appearing in the ad and endorsing a product. In fact in the wake of the phenomenal success of KBC, Nitin Kasliwal had signed Amitabh as the brand ambassador for Reid & Taylor for a two-year contract. Incidentally the Reid &Taylor ad film was directed by Priyadarshan, who is yet to direct any film starring Amitabh Bachchan though he has directed as many as 60 films in a span of around 25 years.

Says Shanker Shetty, “It is not necessary that a star has to be paid a price which could prove to be unviable economically. Take for instance the Dabur Oil campaign done by Karisma. The ad film was produced by Yash Chopra. Karisma who used to charge in crores then was paid just one third of her market price but she did it willingly since she was working with Yash Chopra in his Dil To Pagal Hai at that time.” But Karisma demanded Rs 1.5 crores for endorsing the SAB satellite television channel.

Aishwarya Rai figures as one of the top contenders for endorsements and was reportedly paid two crores of rupees for endorsing Coke. Rakesh Roshan, who had directed the ad film which starred his son Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, has reportedly charged Rs 15 crores for the ad which included seven crores of rupees which was the fee for Hrithik Roshan.
While Salman is believed to have charged two and a half crores rupees for endorsing Thums Up, Aamir is very modest when it comes to pricing himself in spite of the fact that he is a star on his own right. He is reported to have charged just a crore and a half rupees for endorsing Coke. However the shrewd businessman producer that he is, Aamir post Lagaan started producing the ads for Coke with Ashutosh Gowarikar as the director, so that he could earn much more than what he would have stood to earn just as an actor-model in the ad film.

Akshay Kumar had endorsed a whisky ad for the Bagpiper whisky, though he does not touch liquor at all. “I do not drink whisky but that does not mean that I should not endorse a whisky when I am getting a fat sum. I am endorsing the product as an actor, not as Akshay Kumar the person. Because if I refuse to do it, there will be yet another actor who is willing to endorse the whisky,” Akshay had said when these surrogate ads were legally allowed.

Anil Kapoor is perhaps the only star till date who has constantly resisted the temptation to endorse products, whether direct endorsements or surrogate endorsements.  Shekhar Kapoor hits the nail’s head when it comes to stars endorsing. “Branding is the worst thing to happen to an artiste because today it is no longer a world of 15 minutes fame. It is just a question of 5 seconds of fame. Your brand is destroyed when after watching a Tom Cruise film, you start sending smses asking people not to watch the film. It is the corporates which need the brands to survive, not the other way round.”Whatever the case may be, the fact is that star endorsements are here to stay, whether you like it or not!

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