Brands riding on Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan are heaving a sigh of relief with the Bombay High Court overturning his conviction for a 2002 hit-and-run case. Brand watchers point out that the verdict will only increase his standing among brand owners.
In May, a lower court had convicted Khan of culpable homicide and sentenced him to five years in jail for driving over and killing a man sleeping on a pavement. But the appeals judge ruled there was not enough evidence.
Khan tweeted that he accepted the ruling with ‘humility’.
But the biggest relief is undeniably for the brands he is associated with. According to celebrity management firms and brand consultants, the mass hero has as much as ₹200 crore riding on him.
Khan endorses over 10-12 brands including Thums Up, Being Human, Revital, Wheel, reality show Big Boss, men’s innerwear Dixcy Scott and PNG Jeweller.
Film analyst Komal Nahata points that currently there is about ₹100 crore riding on his films.
“Salman Khan’s stand is vindicated. His upcoming film Sultan is slated for release in 2016 and has about ₹100 crore riding on it. Brands which were previously considering exiting him as a brand ambassador will reconsider their decision.”
According to Shailendra Singh, Jt. MD of Percept India, “Salman's brand was already flying high. Now it will skyrocket. The emotional connection of the fans, the box office and the brand was hugely backing Salman’s freedom and now they have got it. It is also interesting that it has come at a time when the three Khans (Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir) are finally getting along.”
Echoing the sentiments, Jagdeep Kapoor, brand guru and founder of Samsika Marketing, noted: “Brand consultants will see how they can cash in only Salman Khan’s appeal to take their brand’s credo forward.”
As per industry sources, brands pay anywhere from ₹5 lakh and ₹5 crore per endorsement to Salman.
Picky MNC brands Asked how MNC brands which are picky about their celebrity choices will react to the verdict, Devanghshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight, said: “The arena we are playing in is largely driven by emotions and brands would also reconsider their decision. Indian companies are flexible in their approach but it is MNCs which are picky. Cases will not make a significant improvement in brand ambassador’s selection”.