A celebrity treads a thin line between No1 to Zero. One such recent case is Deepika Padukone, falling from the most favorite celebrity status to brands shying away from her during the aftermath of JNU campus visit controversy.
According to a recent celebrity brand ranking report, Deepika had slipped to the No 3 position from being the No. 1 celebrity in the year 2018 – 2019 in terms of endorsements. With as many as 23 brands betting around INR 103 crores in the year, She has been the face for many leading brands like Axis Bank, Tanishq, L’Oreal and she became the face for Vistara Airlines when it was launched. Though the drop in ranking is not pertaining to the current period. It is evident from an array of media reports that Brands instructed their agencies to go slow or completely stop advertisements featuring her for a couple of weeks until the issue settles down.
This move of hers was questioned by the netizens and the brands were tagged, many of her brands are up for renewal, some are even having second thoughts. In fact, ZOOM studio’s Planet Bollywood has quoted ad industry Veteran Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, saying that brands normally play safe – vary of any controversy and told by mid-size brands to stall ads featuring Deepika for two weeks.
Moreover, Deepika’s first production venture ‘Chapak’ movie failed to create a buzz and tanked at the box office. Did Visiting JNU agitation as part of her promotional tour in Delhi, be termed a badly executed PR stunt that backfired against the celebrity, was it a classic case of one wrong move or association with an existing social issue that can create far-reaching repercussions, Did it affected her brand value really while the move of hers is facing the heat and threat of losing out on endorsements?, though it may be momentary or a knee jerk reaction by brands..!
Medianews4u spoke to a brand consultant, a PR guru and an Advertising Professional. They feel that reaction from brands is momentary and she will bounce back soon; as Deepika is a well-known and popular actress.
Karthik Sreenivasan – Communications consultant. “On Deepika, I really do not think there’s any lasting impact on her brand value. She’s in that unique space where she can bankroll new films on her own (Chappak was her first home production) and has enough clout to do even more, along with Ranveer. She also has a real body of work in the non-film, purpose-centric space with her Live Love Laugh Foundation, for which she was even invited to Davos recently.
If brands want to lie low in terms of using her as a brand voice, it is really for a short time untill many other outrages roll by taking the public memory ahead of her earlier so-called transgression (which it wasn’t). Aamir faced a similar storm (in a teacup) with his ‘intolerance’ quip and came out winning with Dangal soon after. Similarly, it’s just a matter of time before Deepika’s next film turns things into marketing.
If anything, this incident has shown that the actors (and the stars) could and do take a stand, even if it is against the powers. More than brands avoiding Deepika, I believe this should embolden more stars to come out with their voices speaking truth to power. To a small extent that happened in the same incident that Deepika was supporting; she supported it offline, and many more stars spoke up for the same (anarchy unleashed in JNU) online.”
Naresh Gupta – Co-Founder and Head Intern at Bang in the Middle “When brands sign a celebrity, they are signing up with a person who has a life, has personal opinions, and all of it today is on social media. The reaction of the brands to Deepika’s actions is bordering farcical. Brands cannot be built on ‘please-all’ mindset, brands run on making their following stronger among the core users of the brand. Sure, there were a few people unhappy with her action, sure a few went to online platforms to troll her, but how is that relevant for the brand that has her as the ambassador. I would like to see brands making a clear choice, either stand by their ambassadors or drop them completely.”
Himanshu Manglik – Founder and President – WALNUTCAP Consulting “Social media chatter today is like the housewives gossip and cannot be wished away. Few can please them of all. Yet, people with values and conviction stay true to themselves and rise above the chatter, sometimes by confronting, sometimes by ignoring, but mostly by staying aligned to their convictions.
Similarly, building brand value is a process of storytelling where brands are transformed into emotional and likeable characters in our stories. Brands cannot be a one size fits all of them. They have got to choose and stay true to their audience. They have to take careful stands and espouse values. How they handle with the ‘social chatter crisis ‘ will determine whether they leverage it or end up with a ‘mid-life crisis’.”
MediaNews4U feels that a celebrity like Deepika taking a stand on a public issue is a welcome thing. But they need to be well informed on multi-dimensions of the issue and come with a firm standpoint instead of displaying a momentary reaction. One such incident may not impact her brand value in the long-term but a repeat of such cases will surely make a dent in her value.
The prevailing downtrend in the market scenario is prompting brands to cut down their budgets. Celebrities involving themselves in such controversy, tend to lose brand endorsement deals. There is no wonder if Deepika’s endorsement value slips further not only because of the JNU campus issue, while it has more to do with the prevailing market sentiments too.