Who is the most valuable celebrity brand in India?

MUMBAI: A flip through various channels and one can see film stars and cricketers selling chocolates to balms to the consumers.

There is no doubt that celebrity brand endorsements have come a long way in the country over the past three decades. As television spread to the masses and Doordarshan found its way into several homes in the country, companies and advertisers were quick to tap the new medium, giving several memorable advertisements to consumers, that some would say did more for the stars than they did for the brands.

Over the last decade, the celebrity endorsement space has evolved significantly. Not only have new mediums of advertising sprung up (internet, digital media and social networks), but also “celebritydom” is no longer limited to just Bollywood stars and cricketers. The Indian Premier League, Pro-Kabaddi League and Indian Badminton League have given several new sports stars in addition to our Olympians, Asian and Commonwealth Games medal winners and World Champions.

American Appraisal, an independent global firm providing valuation and related advisory services for business, financial, legal and tax purposes, has  launched the first edition of ‘Waiting for the Encore’, a concise report on India’s most valuable celebrity brands.

The report tries to answer a few questions. Who is the most valuable celebrity brand in India? More importantly, how can one assess the value of a particular celebrity’s brand?

The baadshah of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, tops the brand chart and is valued at $164.9 million, leaving behind the legend, Amitabh Bachchan. The shenshah stands at number 13 with $28.4 million while Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni ranks higher than other Khans at number 3 and valued at $71.9 million.

“While the youth brigade of Indian celebritydom ranks high on the popularity scale, brand values remain highest for celebrities who have stood the test of time. Brand Shah Rukh, valued at over $160 million, is here to stay,” says American Appraisal vice president Kapil Bellubi.

The report goes on to highlight that the top 15 celebrities generated over Rs 11 billion in endorsement fees in 2013-14 alone. Celebrities themselves are no longer just using brand endorsements as something to bridge an income gap between films and games. A significant proportion of a celebrity’s annual income, close to 50 per cent to 75 per cent, is generated through brand endorsements.

It goes on to report that celebrities understand that being affiliated with brands like Coke or Pepsi means that their images and likenesses may be associated with Coke or Pepsi whose reach even to the remotest part of the country can be more valuable to the celebrity than the fee that they hope to receive. Similarly, youth-centric iconic brands like Levis, Guess and luxury brands like Rado, Tissot or Louis Vuitton command immense brand presence and celebrities are normally happy to be associated as brand ambassadors for even a fraction of their normal fees. Alcohol and tobacco brands provide the best compensation, though A-Listers tend to steer clear of promoting these brands mainly on account of the potential for negative publicity.

The report states that viewers have higher recall for celebrity endorsed brands and associated credibility were the most compelling reasons for running a celebrity campaign.

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