brand endorser, you last saw him smile flirtatiously at a woman screaming at him, 'Kaun sa shampoo?', while his Clinic All Clear powered hair shone bright. If you're having trouble remembering this one, that's probably because the ad in question was released more than four years ago.
Shahid Kapur, the young Bollywood star who started his career as a college lad in Ishq Vishk, has come a long way. After a rather long list of flops, Kapur has, of late, worked in films that have created a buzz: Jab We Met, Vivah and Kismat Konnection. And with these, he has also renewed his 'konnection' with brands.
Kapur has been signed on as the brand ambassador for travel gear brand VIP for a two year period. The deal has been firmed between VIP and Bling!, the talent management company that recently took on the task of managing Kapur's portfolio.
"After Clinic All Clear, Shahid was very determined that he would endorse a brand only when his films were successful," says Atul Kasbekar, chairman and managing director, Bling! "He's like an uncut diamond that was just waiting to be discovered by brands."
Incidentally, Clinic All Clear and VIP are among the only brands that Kapur has endorsed so far, barring his appearances as a child artiste in films for Pepsi and Complan, among others.
When VIP bagged Shahid
Twenty-eight year old Kapur will be positioned as a youth icon by Bling! As Kasbekar explains, there are the Khans and Akshay Kumar, who fall in the 40+ bracket of male endorsers; there are Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan, who are in their mid-30s. And then there are the new kids on the block, such as Ranbir Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh, who appeal largely to a teenage crowd. "So, Shahid can carve a niche for himself as an endorser in the late 20s age bracket," Kasbekar deduces.
Sudhir Jatia, managing director, VIP Bags, says, "Shahid Kapur is stylish, modern and popular with the urban youth. He is a perfect fit for our new range of VIP luggage, which is no longer traditional and rigid, but premium and classy in look, feel and design." The new VIP range, he adds, is for the modern youth, who can balance his personal and professional life with ease and comfort.
Over the years, VIP has been tagged as a brand for mamas and papas, with its Kal Bhi Aaj Bhi films that ran for years together - advertising that lent maturity to the brand imagery. A few years ago, the brand revamped its products and tried to grow younger with reference to its target group, with the Bye Bye, Happy Journey commercials.
Since then, there has been a rather long gap in its advertising, and the brand now wants to revive it. Kapur has been brought aboard to lend it youthful charm.
Bollywood, in a bag
The film, created by Lowe, has a rather 'filmi' love story. Kapur whisks away his fiancé (essayed by former Miss Sri Lanka Jacqueline Fernandes) on their wedding day. Though she protests, he takes her VIP bag and the two set off in his car, with the rain pattering down upon them.
Driving through fields and in bad weather conditions, they reach a small seaside chapel. Kapur gently reminds her that this was where they first met, so they should get married here, instead of in front of thousands of guests. When she looks down in askance at her plain dress, he opens her VIP bag and takes out her wedding gown, while the voiceover concludes, "Introducing Nuovo - water and stain resistant bags from VIP. No matter what your trip, we have a bag for you. What's your trip?"
Another ad featuring Kapur will be launched in January 2009, for the VIP Coupe, a bag for short journeys. It will show Kapur share a crazy rapport with one of his buddies, with the bag story woven in.
The film for VIP Nuovo was shot in Goa by Amit of Chrome Films.
"Our plan is simple - to say that the brand understands what people travel for," he states.
Jaleel feels that the fact that Kapur stayed away from endorsements is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, it lends freshness to VIP, as Kapur has been an "underutilised brand endorser so far". The romantic, Bollywood-ish storyline is aimed at making the appeal more bubbly and youthful.
Bling! is in talks with some other brands, including an FMCG giant, for deals with Kapur.