Will Brand Salman lose sheen post conviction?

07 May,2015

 

By Ratna Bhushan & Nandini Raghavendra

 

Almost all brands that Salman Khan endorses have started looking for ways to limit or withdraw their association with the Bollywood superstar soon after the Bombay High Court sentenced him to five years in jail for ‘culpable homicide’ in a 2002 hit-and-run incident.

 

Khan, one of the most popular actors in the country, endorses about 10 national brands including Thums Up cola, Suzuki two-wheelers, HUL’s Wheel detergent, energy capsule Revital and online travel firm Yatra.com. He has over  Rs 200 crore riding on him and is known to charge Rs 4-5 crore a day for endorsements. While the court granted the 49-year-old actor two days’ interim bail late in the day, it is seen as only a temporary reprieve. “If on May 8, Salman does go to jail, we will certainly begin withdrawing television commercials and outdoor hoardings,” said an official of a top brand that Khan endorses.

 

Atul Kasbekar, promoter of celebrity management firm Bling Entertainment that represents Sonam Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar, said, “Almost all endorsement contracts include riders that if either the celebrity or the brand does something unacceptable, the contract can be terminated. Either the brand can terminate the contract or the celebrity can decide to end the contract – it works both ways.”

 

The court on Wednesday found Khan guilty of culpable homicide, saying he was driving under the influence of alcohol in a 2002 run-over accident that killed a man sleeping on the pavement. For most brands Khan is their most visible and expensive ambassador, and his sentencing will force most of them to completely change their advertising plans. Thums Up, for example, will have to withdraw Khan’s advertising just in the peak beverage season of summer months. A spokesperson of Coca-Cola, which owns Thums Up, said, “We hold the court verdict in the highest regard. We are evaluating the next steps.” Thums Up’s contract with Khan ends next year and it is most unlikely to renew the contract Spokespersons of HUL and Sun Pharma-owned Revital declined comment on whether they would continue their association with Khan. Suzuki couldn’t be reached for comment.

 

The CEO of a top talent management firm said, “There’s no way that multinational brands could continue with a convicted person. These firms are also answerable to their international teams and contracts clearly spell out clauses under which anyone with questionable conduct has to be dropped.”

 

‘Bigg Boss’, the reality television show that Khan hosts on Colors channel, could also see a new host, an official close to the production house said. Khan has been hosting the show for the last five seasons and the viewership his presence got for the channel saw his asking price rise from  Rs 30 crore when he began in 2010 to Rs 50 crore or more. “The channel could very likely to change the host, post the verdict,” said the official.

 

Salman Khan Ventures and Eros International’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Fox Star Studios and Sooraj Barjatiya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo are to be released this year.

 

Khan also has an exclusive deal with Star TV for the satellite rights of all his films for five years starting from 2013. So far, Khan has only done two films – Jai Ho and Kick – since this deal was signed for approximately  Rs 450-500 crore. If Khan goes to jail, he stands to lose a hefty part of that deal since he might not be doing any other films in the said period.

 

Shares of Mandhana Industries, which has the global licence to design, market and distribute Khan’s Being Human clothing brand and charity foundation, tanked as much as 4.1% in intraday trade. “Given that Salman has huge following, there is every likelihood that the business will continue to grow,” said Manish Mandhana, MD at Mandhana Industries. Industry sources said smaller brands that Khan endorses, such as PN Gadgil jewellers and Dixcy Scot innerwear, are likely to continue with him. Other small brands associated with Khan include Astral Pipes, Image eyewear and Splash Fashions.

 

Source:The Economic Times

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