Pooja Yadav

Samantha Prabhu is the latest South Indian star to endorse pan-Indian brands

The actor's performance in The Family Man and a hit song from Pushpa: The Rise, have catapulted her to the national scene.

After her smashing performance in the song Oo Antava from Pushpa: The Rise and season 2 of The Family Man, Tollywood actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu has now become a sought after ambassador for brands targeting a pan-Indian audience. From Myntra to Mamaearth, many national brands are eyeing her.

Sraman Majumdar, senior vice president and executive creative director, Brave New World, says, “Samantha has seen considerable media exposure from national brands, of late. In that sense, the pan-Indian audience is certainly familiar with her. Content also cuts through geographies on social media, which helps in visibility.”

Prabhu has signed commercial endorsement deals with brands like Myntra, Dream11, MyFitness, PhonePe, Mamaearth, Lux, Saravana Stores, Dabur Vatika hair oil, and more. In a career spanning over 12 years, her fame has fetched her innumerable brand endorsements. So, what is making her such a bankable endorser for national brands?

Shivaji Dasgupta, founder and MD at INEXGRO Brand Advisory, says, “There is a larger trend of South Indian cinema becoming genuinely pan-Indian in appeal. Not just popular in traditional Bollywood markets, but most importantly, surpassing the box office numbers of Bollywood movies in other regional markets, like West Bengal, for instance. So, the choice of a star like Samantha is a natural extension of this pattern. She is a good actress, successful and not over-exposed.”

A shift towards South India

Sharing her views, Sonya V Kapoor, founder, M5 Entertainment (a talent management agency), mentions, “Samantha became a national celebrity after season 2 of The Family Man. So, pan-Indian brands like Mamaearth and Myntra, are eager to sign on celebrities who can represent brands in all regions.”

Samantha Prabhu is the latest South Indian star to endorse pan-Indian brands

Kapoor adds, “Just like Kareena Kapoor or Deepika Padukone, who cut across geographies, Samantha is doing the same now.”

Prabhu, while an established star in South India, has just started to make her presence felt in Bollywood. What sets her apart from other leading ladies in Bollywood?

Dasgupta says, “Truthfully, budget would be one consideration." He adds that other actresses, like Katrina Kaif, for instance, is over-exposed and has stretched her equity considerably. "Samantha is a fresh face, particularly for national brands, a successful and good actress. And, because of her relative low exposure, association with brands can be stronger and more ownable.”

Gaining popularity

Prabhu has grown her social media presence over the last few months. With more than two crore followers on Instagram alone, she charges around Rs 20 lakh for promotional posts, as per media reports.

Anjali Malhotra, senior partner, BOD Consulting, shares that today, brands are looking for faces and imagery that aligns with them. “Samantha has obviously been a big star in South India. She is now becoming mainstream. The moment you become mainstream and you have a mass appeal, that’s the time brands start saying, ‘Hey, there is somebody on the rise!’ So, you just need to have the right values, imagery, mass appeal and be mainstream.”

Recently, Prabhu announced that her marriage to Naga Chaitanya was officially over. Her divorce was scrutinised by both the public and media. Her decision to split with Chaitanya and establish herself as an independent woman, could also appeal to brands, say analysts.

Malhotra says, “Women today are finding their voice and freedom. They are not dependent on anyone, anymore and are making a mark in their own world. The set traditional framework is no longer necessary. You can make a mark, irrespective of your marriage. Women who are doing that, clearly become a sort of 'ideal' women and a lot of millennials tend to relate to that. It actually creates a lot of appeal.”

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