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Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandanna shine as South Indian actors rise in brand value, challenge Bollywood dominance

Brand value of non-Bollywood celebrities has doubled in the last 5 years, according to Kroll’s Celebrity Brand Valuation Report 2022.

March 21, 2023 / 06:05 PM IST
Allu Arjun won the ‘CNN-News18 Indian of the Year 2022’ award in the entertainment category. (Image: @alluarjun/Twitter)

Allu Arjun won the ‘CNN-News18 Indian of the Year 2022’ award in the entertainment category. (Image: @alluarjun/Twitter)

South Indian actors Allu Arjun and Rashmika Mandanna have made it to the list of the top 25 most valuable celebrities in India, increasing the contribution of South Indian celebrities to the overall brand value of top stars, according to Kroll’s Celebrity Brand Valuation Report 2022.

Allu Arjun ranked 20th with a brand value of $31.4 million, while Rashmika Mandanna ranked 25th with a brand value of $25.3 million.

Aviral Jain, Managing Director of Valuation Advisory Services at Kroll, stated that although Allu Arjun has ten brands in 2022, he is yet to catch up with the fees charged by top Bollywood celebrities.

"Rashmika Mandanna, on the other hand, has a larger portfolio with 20 brands, but her endorsement fees are comparable to that of an emerging Bollywood celebrity," Jain said.

Jain pointed out that the brand value of non-Bollywood celebrities has doubled over the last five years, and the share of Bollywood stars in the overall brand value fell to 67.6 percent in 2022, from 81.7 percent in 2016. Meanwhile, the share of sports stars rose to 28.9 percent, up from 18.3 percent in 2016.

Tollywood stars accounted for the remaining 3.5 percent of the 2022 brand value, whereas this share was absent in 2016.

During Covid-19-impacted years, Bollywood content decreased significantly, and half of the content was driven by non-Hindi content on streaming platforms.

In 2022, six of the top ten movies were from South India, earning $500 million compared to Bollywood's four films that earned $160 million, a 3x return in terms of box office collections for South Indian films versus Bollywood. Advertisers are following these trends, resulting in an increase in the share of South Indian celebrities in the overall brand value.

Jain expects the share of South Indian celebrities in the overall brand value to rise further in the coming years. "A-list brands are considering multiple celebrity associations with traditional celebrities and regional superstars, and brands that primarily target the South Indian market are working with South Indian stars."

As a result, more South Indian celebrities are expected to take the pan-India stage, aided by their continued success in the film industry.

Allu Arjun endorses brands like KFC on a standalone basis while he endorses redBus, Coca Cola and Zomato with other celebrities. Similarly, Rashmika Mandanna endorses Wakefit individually and boAt, Citibank, McDonald’s with other stars. National brands such as Coca Cola, Licious, Mamaearth, PhonePe, redBus, and Zomato have recruited South Indian stars as additional endorsers due to the dwindling box office appeal of Bollywood counterparts.

The report noted that the growing social media following of South Indian superstars would help increase their brand value. Jain stated that South Indian celebrities have been slightly reticent about their social media standing, with 40-50 million followers, while most Bollywood stars have over 150 million social media followers.

For digital campaigns, traditional Bollywood celebrities or cricket stars may be the first choice for brands.

However, Southern stars are increasingly landing new endorsement deals due to their consistent hits and relatively fast-growing social media following.

The top five South Indian celebrities with the most significant social media following are Tamannaah Bhatia, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandanna, and Mahesh Babu, with social media followings of 53.5 million, 52.5 million, 48.1 million, 47.1 million, and 37.3 million, respectively, across Twitter, Instagram,

Maryam Farooqui
first published: Mar 21, 2023 05:20 pm