Stars not on Facebook, Twitter could lose on endorsements

10 Oct,2014

By Ratna Bhushan


Last month, a Bollywood A-lister actress lost out a Rs 3-crore-a-year endorsement deal for a multinational beauty brand to a relatively new actor. Reason: the latter was much more active on Twitter and Facebook and the brand wanted to reach out to social media audiences.


And despite Hrithik Roshan’s new release Bang Bang proving a super hit, consumer goods firm Emami, which signed Roshan for HE men’s deodorants this summer, is looking for a new face for social media. “Hrithik has a huge mass connect on traditional media. But with different audience logging on to social media, we may rope in a new face only for social media,” Emami director Harsh Agarwal said.


With social media emerging as one of the most popular hangouts for Indians, brand endorsement deals in the country are getting hugely influenced by how active celebrities are on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs. “Celebrities who engage actively on the social media space are getting paid at least 25-30% higher than those who don’t, even if the latter have huge mass connect,” said Vinita Bangard, promoter of talent management firm Krossover Entertainment, which represents Priyanka Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan.


“The socially active ones have a clear edge not only in terms of higher fees but also in getting more endorsement deals.” Chopra, with over 7 million followers on Twitter, is a hot favourite, along with stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan who all have more than 8 million followers. Some firms, including Coca-Cola India, have begun inserting a clause in their endorsement contracts that celebrities will popularise the brand on their social media assets, for an additional fee.


So, Farhan Akhtar, who endorses Coca-Cola, and Salman Khan, who is the face of Thums Up, not only feature on the brands’ advertisements but also are regularly tweeting and posting photos of themselves with the brands they promote. Many brands now go for exclusive social media endorsement deals at just about 10%-20% fees of a television endorsement deal.


For example, a reigning A-grade actress who charges Rs 1.5-1.7 crore for a television endorsement deal, charged only Rs 30 lakh to tweet for two months about an upcoming consumer brand, a talent firm head said. Endorsement deals exclusive to social media are being inked at Rs 20-50 lakh a year, while top celebrities’ fees for TV commercials range from Rs 2-6 crore annually. “It (social media) completely optimises spends and has become an extremely effective medium,” said Atul Kasbekar, promoter of celebrity management firm Bling Entertainment.


Chocolate brand Cadbury Dairy Milk has had a series of upcoming faces including Bollywood starlet Hazel Keech and model Karishma Kotak tweeting about their experience of eating Dairy Milk Silk Caramello chocolate. The tweets created the necessary buzz for the brand at about one-fourth the cost that Cadbury would have to otherwise shell out to rope in a well-known star for television.


Likewise, PepsiCo used hugely popular actor Ranbir Kapoor only on social media earlier this year for its biggest ad platform — the IPL T20 cricket tournament, though cricketers MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli were shown extensively on television ads. “We leverage our brand ambassadors through campaigns and activation via different mediums,” PepsiCo senior director, marketing (social beverages), Ruchira Jaitly said. With social media ad spends rising faster than traditional media, the online celebrity endorsement business is now growing 25%-30% faster than the traditional space. “Digital isn’t an option anymore.


It’s something we have to do to make ourselves future ready,” said KK Chutani, executive director for marketing at Dabur, which recently dropped Bipasha Basu as the face of Dabur Honey and roped in celebrity chef Vikas Khanna to endorse the brand on social media because he is active on Twitter and Facebook. Chutani said close to half of ad spends of Dabur’s juice brand Real is now directed at the digital space.


Source:The Economic Times

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