- Brands are playing it safe for Deepika Padukone after she visited the highly controversial JNU which is claimed to be highly risky.
Leading brands are playing it safely on Deepika Padukone, the highest-paid actress in the country, after being in solidarity with students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) assaulted by masked people on campus with sledgehammers, iron rods and rocks.
While some advertisers have said that they are decreasing the exposure of ads featuring her in the short term, celebrities managers say that potential sponsorship deals are likely to see provisions factoring in the risks associated with celebrities taking political positions that might cause revengeful administrations.
“Typically, companies like to play safe and are wary of any controversy,” said Shashi Sinha, IPG Mediabrands ‘ chief executive, who represents Coca-Cola and Amazon among others.
Padukone visited Delhi’s JNU campus on January 7, three days ahead of her film Chhapaak’s release, about a survivor of an acid attack.
Photos and videos showing her standing behind injured JNU Students ‘ Union president Aishe Ghosh went viral, sparking widespread support messages exalting her courage and backlash from ministers, right-wing trolls and others.
In two days, Chhapaak’s net box office collection stood at Rs 11.67 crore amid boycott calls. Its collection on Friday was Rs 4.77 crore, coming up on Saturday to Rs 6.90 crore. Early estimates put the figure on Sunday close to the crore of Rs 9. The film’s total production cost is less than Rs 40 crore. “A mid-size brand has asked us to delay advertisements that star Deepika for about two weeks. Hopefully, by then the dispute would have cooled, “a media buying agency executive said.
According to a celebrity brand endorsement survey by TAM Media Research, she was on television for almost 11 hours per day in 2019. She is taught to charge Rs 10 Crore for a film and Rs 8 crore for endorsements.
“I think brands aren’t going back from the latest Deepika debacle. She believed in and stood by, everything. Although brands prefer an apolitical stance, celebrities with a point of view should be free to express it, “said Vinita Bangard, CEO of Krossover Entertainment, who has worked on brand deals with Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra.” I don’t think there will be a brand backlash for celebrities who have spoken their views, “said Atul Kasbekar, CEO of Bling Entertainment.
Sandeep Goyal, chief mentor, Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB), said the episode will be forgotten in a couple of weeks’ time.
A top celebrity management company head said: “We’re asking our celebrity clients the pros and cons of speaking out on political issues. While it’s completely their personal choice, either way, they can snowball into sensitive issues.” “So they don’t really need to think about their current endorsement brands, “he said. “Nonetheless, if the JNU visit is the first step in a run-up to’ retirement’ from leading roles in a few years or earlier and she wants to build a person who can open the door to politics and public life, then JNU is an interesting twist for Brand Deepika.