A little bird in the know of things tells me that Allu Arjun will most likely become the face of a global cola brand very soon.
And he has jacked his brand endorsement price to an unheard of Rs 7.5 crore per day, leaving the likes of Virat Kohli and Ranveer Singh trailing by quite a margin, reveals Sandeep Goyal.
Despite the tremendous star power of Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar, Laal Singh Chaddha and Raksha Bandhan did not perform well at the box office and registered disappointing collections in the first eight days (both movies debuted on a Thursday, hence the extra day in the count), which are the litmus test of a movie's success.
A big, big, disappointment for both Aamir and Akshay, and surely a massive shudder down the spine for all of Bollywood.
Akshay Kumar, especially, seems to have lost his famed Midas touch.
Raksha Bandhan's collection trailed even that of Samrat Prithviraj and Bachchhan Paandey. Both films were declared flops. Bell Bottom though was worse. A super-flop. As a keen watcher of brand Akshay Kumar, I am really worried for him.
If we had the Q Scores in India, like they do in the US, one can be quite sure that brand Akshay would have suffered a precipitous fall.
The fall for brand Aamir would have been perhaps a bit more cushioned, but fall it too would have.
The Q Score is a measurement of the familiarity and appeal of a celebrity in the United States.
The higher the Q Score, the more highly regarded the celebrity.
These popularity scores have been collected every six months by the market research company Marketing Evaluations, since the 1960s.
Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Samuel L Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds currently lead the Q Scores in the US.
Before his 'slap in the face' episode at the Academy Awards, Hollywood star Will Smith, well known for films like Independence Day, Men in Black and I Am Legend was constantly among the five or 10 best-rated actors in the US.
Smith dropped from an 'outstanding' score of 39 in January 2022 to a rating of just 24 in the last Q scores poll in the middle of this year. And he hasn't been able to climb back ever since.
In India, the closest to the Q Scores are the TIARA ratings -- a combination of Trust, Identification, Attractiveness, Respect and Appeal.
In 2020, when the TIARA study was last conducted, pre-Covid, Akshay's score was in the towering 90s.
The only ones matching up to him were Virat Kohli and Ranveer Singh, with Amitabh Bachchan a tad behind.
In the last few months, Virat has lost his Indian captaincy and had an arid run with his bat with no century in a long, long, time.
Ranveer Singh meanwhile hit an all-time nadir with Jayeshbhai Jordaar.
The moot question today is whether the dramatic decline in the fortunes of Bollywood will also adversely impact the celebrity brand endorsement scene.
Akshay reportedly has about 35 brand endorsements; Ranveer has 40-plus. Aamir is more choosy.
Virat is not part of Bollywood, but then cricket comes a close second to Hindi movies on brand endorsements.
Brand owners are already starting to get jittery.
Some are in a wait-and-watch mode. But most have started weighing alternatives.
There is a strong buzz around Allu Arjun, especially after the stupendous success of Pushpa -- The Rise.
Pushpa's unprecedented success has catapulted Allu Arjun from an only-South superstar into an interesting mainstream pan-Indian brand endorser.
A little bird in the know of things tells me that Allu Arjun will most likely become the face of a global cola brand very soon. And he has jacked his brand endorsement price to an unheard of Rs 7.5 crore (Rs 75 million) per day, leaving the likes of Virat Kohli and Ranveer Singh trailing by quite a margin.
The truth really is that Bollywood is stressed. So it will willy-nilly impact the sentiment in the brand endorsement business too.
One should not be surprised if many brands either opt out of famous faces completely for now or decide to check out lesser-known faces.
There may also be some traction in favour of OTT stars -- Pankaj Tripathi and Neena Gupta are ever more visible already. Pratik Gandhi and Jitendra Kumar cannot be far behind.
Success begets success. Failure breeds failure.
Sandeep Goyal is managing director, Rediffusion
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com