Branding with South

Branding with South

But this does not mean that namma stars endorse any brand that approaches them. In fact, they also do their research and have a set of criteria before picking a product to represent. When actors like Puneeth Rajkumar entered the advertising world, it was a surprise as his father, Dr Rajkumar, did not endorse any product except ‘Nandini Milk’, which was done free of cost in order to help farmers affected by drought.

“The move to endorse products was a personal one. I discussed it with my family who was alright with it,” says Puneeth, The actor endorses gold, milk and clothes. “I promote things that would help the common man. Gold helps people invest, milk helps farmers and is good for health while the brands of clothes, which I endorse, are very reasonably priced. The common man can therefore pick up stylish clothes for a good bargain,” he adds.

Many model-turned actors like Raghu Mukherjee and Tilak, before entering films were part of advertisements. They say it is a comfort zone which helped them earn an extra buck. Tilak says, “I am ready to be the ambassador of anything and everything as long as the product is not harmful for the citizens of the country. Of course, the money should be good.”

Money is something many look into but advertisements have also helped them build their image. In fact, when Upendra promoted a brand, his punch line ‘Yella ok cool drink yaake’ became an instant hit. Many youngsters, who didn’t even know the star, started recognising him and watching his films.

Heroines are not far behind. Many of them, like Sharmila Mandre and Aindrita Ray, are seen in either gold or saree advertisements, something they say women can relate to. Actresses are also very picky when it comes to advertisements. Pooja Gandhi says, “I don’t want to get into too many advertisements but I do promote those brands that I believe in.” “Fans tend to trust and believe in their actors blindly and I don’t want to break that. I first try out the brand and only if I am convinced about it, will I go ahead,” she adds.

This sudden turn amongst advertisers to pick actors from Kannada film industry is growing on a fast pace. And actors are certainly not complaining as many believe that finally the Kannada film industry is getting some importance in the advertising world.
But what really took them so long? “I feel it took so long for advertisers to go for Southern stars because of the lack of PR agents here. If you see in the North, each star has a PR agency looking after the publicity. Here it’s different. But the trend is slowly beginning. It is a welcome change as the marketing teams are waking up to the kind of fan following we have out here,” says Tilak. Puneeth adds, “It’s a welcome change and I feel that it is the best way to tap into the Southern market.”

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