Mumbai: Celebrity management agents and advertising executives believe the marriage of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan, two of Bollywood’s best-known stars, could make them much sought after brand endorsers, as a couple.
Aishwarya Rai, who is the brand ambassador for Lux, L’Oreal and Nakshatra diamond jewellery, charges Rs3-3.5 crore for every endorsement; Abhishek Bachchan, who endorses Motorola, Omega and American Express, Rs 4-4.5 crore. Vinita Bangard, vice-president in charge of celebrity management at Percept D’Mark, a Mumbai-based firm that manages actress Priyanka Chopra and cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, said the minimum price for the couple to endorse a brand “could be Rs7 crore, maybe higher”. Rai’s manager Hari Singh and Bachchan’s manager Sunil Doshi refused to put a price tag on the couple, with the latter insisting that it was “too early for the duo to receive endorsement offers as a couple”.
Most advertising professionals expect the offers to come thick and fast. “Both are strong personalities and advertisers may see an advantage there,” said Piyush Pandey, the chairman of O&M India. The couple announced their engagement on 14 January 2007. Celebrity couples are a popular choice of advertisers. Actors Ajay Devgan and Kajol Mukherjee, who endorse Tata Indicom’s True Paid Service and Whirlpool appliances, charge Rs 2-2.5 crore an endorsement, and John Abraham and Bipasha Basu who appear together in the Clinic All Clear — hairfall defence advertisement, Rs2.5crore. Even television stars Archana Puran Singh and Parmeet Sethi, last seen compering a dance competition on a channel, charge around Rs 10-15 lakh for each endorsement. “A happily married celebrity couple endorsing products is likely to make a stronger connect with Indian consumers, as it reaffirms their belief in family values which are very important to them,” said Prasoon Joshi, regional creative director, South Asia & South East Asia, of McCann-Erickson.
Bachchan’s manager claimed that offers for endorsements had increased ever since the release of Guru in which the actor has the lead role. “Offers come from (companies) in various categories such as consumer products, automobiles, healthcare, even lifestyle,” said Doshi, the chief executive of Alliance Media and Entertainment. Rai, who is Bachchan’s wife in the movie, could also be receiving more offers for endorsements, although Alyque Padamsee, the former chief executive of Lintas (now Lowe), said that would not last after the marriage. “All Bollywood actresses drop out of the picture soon after marriage,” he said. Bachchan’s stock, he said, would rise after marriage. “After all, he is the man who got Aishwarya Rai, the most beautiful woman in the world.”