New brand endorsements give vintage stars day in the sun

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on May 03, 2012

Bollywood veteran actor Rajesh Khanna. - PTI (file photo)   -  PTI

Rajesh Khanna has made a career ‘switch', goes a tweet. Ever since the yesteryear star was seen endorsing electrical switch-maker Havell's fans on TV, he's been trending on social media networks.

Though looking frail and a pale shadow of himself, the 70s superstar's debut ad performance has managed to create quite a buzz with many hailing it as a clutter breaking campaign – and of course, puns galore, on switches and fans.

Khanna is not the only one being pulled out of the woodworks by brands keen to break the clutter with some out-of-box advertising. From Rishi and Neetu Kapoor to Hema Malini and Sri Devi, a whole crop of vintage film personalities is now being seen in campaigns. And there are more on the way - southern superstar Kamal Hassan will soon be seen in a brand endorsement and speculations are rife about Rajya Sabha nominee Rekha having been approached by a celebrity management firm.

Nostalgia is clearly ruling the charts these days. And for brands seeking a connect with older audiences, signing on a vintage star makes sense. As Mr Anirban Das Blah, MD KWAN says, “Movie buffs have grown up with these stars and brand categories that want to reach out to the middle age or older aged audiences can leverage on the popularity of these actors.” KWAN manages Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor and has also signed on Raveena Tandon recently.

For brands it also works out cheaper than signing on a current star. While Rajesh Khanna has reportedly earned about Rs 55-60 lakh for the Havell's brand endorsement deal, some of the other older stars are apparently commanding as much as Rs 70 lakh to Rs 1 crore. In contrast, a current star such as Ranbir Kapoor could earn upwards of Rs 7 crore.

Novelty factor

There's also the novelty factor. Mr Atul Kasbekar, who heads celebrity management firm Bling, says, “To break clutter, a brand campaign featuring an older celebrity endorsing his or her first brand could sometimes be more effective than a campaign featuring current stars doing their 10th or 11th endorsement deal.” Mr Kasbekar's Bling manages Anil Kapoor, who recently debuted with his ad campaign for Mont Blanc.

Several superstars in the past had deliberately kept away from brand endorsements. Mr Prabhat Chodhury of Spice, which is into movie marketing and has a celebrity publicity division said, “Stars of those times thought it was important to have few public appearances to keep an element of mystery. But with advertisers vying for celebrities, they are now ready to endorse brands.”

Mr Sunil Doshi, CEO Alliance Media and Entertainment, who has recently signed up with Kamal Hassan for brand endorsements said, “Actors such as Kamal Hassan have the ability to appeal to an audience across the country. We are in talks with brands for endorsement deals.”

Though the Havell's ad has received both positive and negative responses, with some celeb managers even calling it downright “cruel”, the company for its part is pretty pleased. Mr Vijay Narayanan,Vice-President (marketing) at Havells India, said, “All the consumers have noticed the ad and it has been buzzing on social media. We were prepared for both the negative and the positive response to the ad.”

Published on May 03, 2012

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