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Last Updated : Oct 09, 2020 01:41 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Brands to remain cautious before signing up Bollywood stars as ambassadors in the wake of drugs controversy

With the Narcotics Control Bureau naming Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor, many brands are now downplaying their ads. Experts say their brand value may drop around 30 percent. In 2019, Padukone enjoyed a brand value of $93.5 million.


The events in the past few months have affected the brand value of some leading Bollywood ladies.


Brand experts Moneycontrol spoke to agreed that Bollywood stars named in the drug abuse controversy could see around a 30 percent drop in their brand value.


The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has named Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor in the alleged drug abuse case related to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.


Rajput, a young actor, was found dead hanging from the ceiling fan at his home in Bandra, Mumbai, on June 14, 2020. There are still a lot of rumours and speculations around his death.



Public sentiment a worry


Brands are now worried as public sentiment is against these stars, and many companies are downplaying advertisements featuring these celebrities. Most celebrities are ambassadors for some of the well-known brands.


Padukone is the face of brands like Nescafe, L'Oreal Paris, Lux, Royale Atmos, Tetley Green Tea. Overall, she endorses around 23 brands and reportedly charges around Rs 6-8 crore.


Going by Duff & Phelps’ celebrity brand valuation report released in 2019, she enjoys the third position, with a brand value of $93.5 million. She is also among the top endorsers for brands within the personal-care category.


The numero uno is a sports personality -- Virat Kohli with a brand value of $237.5 million, followed by Akshay Kumar at $104.5 million.


Experts say that Padukone is one of the most favoured celebrities among brands due to her clean image. However, things may not be the same now.


A lot is at stake for Sara Ali Khan as well, who though new in the endorsement space, saw brands betting big on her in no time. In two years, the actress has bagged as many as 11 brands in her kitty.


New brand sign-ups on hold


Sandeep Goyal, chief mentor, Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB), believes that the drug abuse allegations will deeply hit the celebrity landscape.


Since there is a cloud of negativity, new brand sign-ups have been kept in abeyance for celebrities who have been named in the scandal for now, Goyal said.


 What next?


Recently, a survey by IIHB showed that as many as 82 percent of the Indian youth find a celebrity untrustworthy, and believed that they are tainted by drugs. The respondents said they would not buy brands endorsed by such celebrities.


The survey on drug abuse by Indian celebrities was conducted among 487 respondents across India.


Echoing the view of Goyal, brand experts N Chandramouli, CEO of TRA Research, a consumer analytics and brand insights company, and Harish Bijoor, founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, believe that, going forward, brands will be ‘extremely cautious’ before signing any brand ambassador.


“Brands will do their due diligence for endorsers with yet another yardstick now -- the drug abuse yardstick,” said Bijoor, who is a brand guru.



Padukone may get away


He pointed out that certain stars will be innocent until proved guilty. "So, Deepika will not be as badly affected. The newcomers will be guilty till proved innocent. And brands will keep their distance."


Certain Bollywood brand ambassadors are also not likely to get affected at all. “There are some brands who are very confident with brand ambassadors like Amitabh Bachchan. So, brands will continue to sign up with Bachchan and his ads will go up. The amount of brand trust a brand ambassador has built over time will matter a lot,” Chandramouli, told Moneycontrol.

Going ahead, brands may rethink their association with Bollywood celebrities but may not drop deals for now. The overall Bollywood celebrity endorsement space will take a hit this year, say experts.
First Published on Oct 9, 2020 01:41 pm
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