The 'Pushpa' actor has become a popular face in adland. She's endorsing brands across product groups, that have little in common except her! What kind audience does she appeal to? Will her popularity last?
After delivering the box office hit ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ in December 2021, South Indian actress Rashmika Mandanna suddenly became various brands’ go-to endorser choice.
Mandanna has been associated with brands across categories - McDonald’s, Vicks, Santoor, Amul Macho, Dabur Honey, Wakefit.co, Lot Mobiles, Pintola peanut butter, Khazana Jewellery, Cashify, boAt, to name a few.
In the past, we have seen celebrities working with only a few brand categories. For instance, Ayushmann Khurrana and Pankaj Tripathi usually endorse brands that appeal more to the middle class. John Abraham and Disha Patani endorse fitness/lifestyle brands. That doesn’t seem to be the case as far as Mandanna goes.
When celebs become quite recognisable, then they tend to refrain from being associated with too many brands, as it may dilute their personal credibility, says a branding expert. But for those celebs who have just started their journey, like Mandanna, more ads certainly mean more visibility.
If an actor delivers one hit film after another, brands will make a beeline for him/her. Success at the box office is necessary for an actor to attract brands. But if his/her movies tank over the next few months, so will his personal equity, feel some experts.
While roping in a fresh face might have its own merits there are also some risks involved for brands, like whether the actor will deliver in the long run, whether his popularity will slowly fade away, etc.
Mandanna’s various brand associations make us wonder about a few things. Is an actor’s personal equity impacted if s/he is the face of too many brands? Is a celeb’s popularity among brands, short-lived? Do brands feel a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) when they’re unable to get a trending celeb on board?
afaqs! reached out to four industry experts for their views.
Manish Porwal, managing director, Alchemist Marketing and Talent Solutions
Whether it’s a brand that’s being stretched beyond limit or a celebrity being used beyond a point, it is likely to dilute their impact. When a superstar like Amitabh Bachchan was endorsing about 50 brands at the same time, it did impact his equity. However, there is also a counter opinion, which is, ‘Jo dikhta hai, woh bikta hai’.
The problem is that most brands don’t know how to get the best out of a celeb. Some of them may do so on a peripheral level. When a celeb is used by several brands, only two or three are able to get the best out of him/her.
"When a celeb is used by several brands, only two or three are able to get the best out of him/her."Manish Porwal, Alchemist Marketing and Talent Solutions
In India, getting an endorser is typically a ‘boardroom decision’, rather than being research/fact-based decision. While in some brand categories, getting an ambassador on board helps, there are also some well-known agencies that aren’t too keen on endorsers.
Ramanuj Shastry, director & co-founder, Infectious Advertising
Rashmika is currently the hottest property in the Indian film industry, and you can’t really blame her for making hay while the sun shines.
"Brands, in this case, are essentially ‘parasites’ that are feeding off Rashmika’s popularity. They need her, she doesn’t need them."Ramanuj Shastry, Infectious Advertising
Her image depends on the ‘films’ she chooses, and not on the ‘brands’ she endorses. Brands, in this case, are essentially ‘parasites’ that are feeding off Rashmika’s popularity. They need her, she doesn’t need them. So, Rashmika isn’t harming her brand equity by doing a bunch of ads.
Flower samjhe kya?.. Fire hai woh!
Sandeep Patwardhan, assistant vice president, Enormous
Every new brand that a celeb endorses, is a challenge in itself. Over-exposure usually does harm a celeb’s brand equity, as the relatability (factor) gets diluted.
As far as popularity goes, it depends on the choices a celeb makes, both in terms of the projects/performances and endorsements. Brands are always looking for new ambassadors. If a celeb is not in the news, s/he risks losing his/her popularity.
"Today, brands know that it is not about them anymore. It is always about the target audience and what they really want."Sandeep Patwardhan, Enormous
Today, brands know that it is not about them anymore. It is always about the target audience and what they really want. With a short-term celeb engagement strategy, it’s more about seizing the moment, than a long-term brand vision.
Sonya V. Kapoor, co-founder, M5 Entertainment (a talent management agency)
It’s a double-edged sword. You don’t want to have clashing brand ideologies that may put the wrong image out there, to begin with. Celebs can't limit themself by staying away from these opportunities. There is no right number, but there is a right way to do this. A celeb should ideally choose a brand that fits right in with their beliefs.
A brand chooses a particular celeb for various reasons. One of them being their current popularity. Both the brand and the celeb have to be the right fit for each other. Then, the messaging has to be right too.
"If the answer is to increase short-term visibility and jump on to the bandwagon, then, without a doubt, a celeb who is currently in the news, does the trick."Sonya V. Kapoor, M5 Entertainment
The ultimate question is, what’s the need of the hour? If the answer is to increase short-term visibility and jump on to the bandwagon, then, without a doubt, a celeb who is currently in the news, does the trick.