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Last Updated : Dec 11, 2019 11:51 AM IST | Source:

Pepsi signs Salman Khan just before Dabangg 3; will Chulbul Pandey work for the cola major?

According to brand strategist Harish Bijoor, “The bet is more on Dabangg 3 than on Salman Khan. If Dabangg 3 is a hit, this decision is a hit as well.”

It looks like Salman Khan has a new addition to his brand portfolio as the actor has been roped in by Pepsi, according to The Economic Times.

The two-year deal is estimated at Rs 15 crore, as per the report.

But, is this the right move by Pepsi?


According to brand strategist Harish Bijoor, “The bet is more on Dabangg 3 than on Salman Khan. If Dabangg 3 is a hit, this decision is a hit as well.”

Dabangg 3, which will see the debut of actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar's daughter Saiee Manjrekar opposite Khan, is going to hit the theatres on December 20, and it is the third instalment of the Dabangg franchise. The first two films in the series - Dabangg and Dabangg 2 performed well at the domestic box office, with collections to the tune of Rs 193 crore and Rs 202 crore respectively.

Concurring with Bijoor is Vinay Kanchan, the brand storyteller and innovation catalyst and author of Sportivity. He said that it could be a tactical promotion with Dabangg 3. “The Chulbul Pandey character fits somewhere with Pepsi’s persona,” he added.

“Pepsi could be doing this for tactical reasons. Maybe they want to open the lower segment of the market. Market for colas is declining in metros as youth in metros prefer healthier options. But, probably in tier II and III towns, there is an appeal of colas, which might score and there Salman will definitely help,” said Kanchan.

He added for the last few campaigns Pepsi did not have celebrities so maybe the company wants to over-compensate by taking on Salman Khan.

However, he thinks that, from the branding perspective, there does not seem to be synergy.

“Pepsi was iconic for one reason it always defined itself in context of coke. While Coke was the world leader in colas, Pepsi took an irreverent take by saying we are the choice of the new generation and they had campaigns like Dil Mange more, Youngistan. Plus, Pepsi has been endorsed by celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Virat Kohli,” he said.

He added that it is not the first time Pepsi is using an older star. They did get Amitabh Bachchan on board, but they used him as an add-on celebrity. He was never the face of Pepsi. This is why taking on Salman Khan looks like going against their (Pepsi’s) strategy kind of a move. But, given Salman’s popularity, it may help them break the clutter,” he added.

Bijoor also said that Salman being invited by Pepsi is an endorsement of the fact that 53 is the new 23. He added, “Salman brings his distinctive attitude to the table, and attitude is everything, not physical age.”

But, age was a factor when Khan was replaced by Ranveer Singh to endorse Thums Up. Until three years ago, Khan was endorsing the rival cola brand, but the contract was not renewed as the brand decided to sign Singh who symbolized youth.

Losing Thums Up left Khan with not many big brands. Currently, he has around eight brands including BharatPe, Somany Ceramics, CP Plus, Image Eyewear, Dixcy Scott, Astral Pipes, Bahamas range of slippers by Relaxo and Emami’s edible oil range.

With Pepsi’s addition, Khan’s endorsement game is getting stronger. He has probably entered the space later than most of his peers.

Nonetheless, Kanchan believes that, while the popularity of the other two Khans - Shah Rukh and Aamir - is apparently declining in the last 10 years, Salman’s popularity is going up. So, maybe this is the time he can bank on, he added.

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First Published on Dec 11, 2019 11:50 am
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