Asurvey conducted by the Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB) on the performance of celebrities during the lockdown has revealed that actor Sonu Sood has emerged as India’s most popular star, followed by Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan in second and third place respectively. To quantify the expectations of brand owners, IIHB conducted a survey, reaching out to 110 advertisers to determine what they expect in terms of celebrity compensation, going forward. The survey, titled the ‘Celebrity Compensation Report’ also revealed that brands expect their star ambassadors to drop endorsement fees by at least 20% to 30%. Of the advertisers that felt that the endorsement fee should head southwards, for the top 10 celebrities like Virat Kohli, Akshay Kumar, Deepika, Ranveer, Ranbir, Alia and the like, 22% felt it should come down by 20-30%; 15% felt it should reduce by 30-40%; 12% felt it should reduce by 40-50%; just 11% felt that the downward revision should be 10-20%. About 4% of the advertisers went as far as to say that celebrity endorsement fee should come down by 50% or more.
IIHB also reached out to 550 consumers to rate the performance of celebrities during the lockdown, and after, without prescribing any fixed parameters for evaluation but to rate them on whatever they deemed important from top-of-the-mind recall. In terms of perceived performance of celebrities during the lockdown, Sonu Sood topped the list among both corporates and consumers. A large number of corporates were of the opinion that Sood would be surely on their consideration list as a potential brand ambassador, especially with products for non-metro markets. The good news for him also is that 34% of respondents gave him a perfect 10 score on his humanitarian work, and his scores are uniformly high across both genders, and all age groups.
Speaking about the survey’s findings, Sandeep Goyal, Chief Mentor, IIHB, said, “The performance or the perceived value of celebrities during the pandemic is actually a ‘naked’ assessment of celebrity standing because this is one period when the celebrities were visible sans cosmetic make-up and as hired mercenaries. Sonu Sood and Akshay Kumar have towered over their peers because of their selfless contribution to society at a time when most other celebrities kind of went into a cocoon. The public at large notices and registers everything about their beloved stars. His work in recent weeks has taken Sonu Sood to a much higher pedestal than everyone else around. He has been lauded and lionised in both media and social media. This could be the beginning for him to be seen as the endorser for many more brands in the future. Also for Taapsee Pannu, who is at the top of the rankings amongst women.”
Despite wanting major concessions and reductions, the good news for celebrities is that the faith of advertisers in brand ambassadors has not really ebbed despite the downturn; 54% of them said that even if the Indian Premier League (IPL) does not happen this year, they would still want a cricket endorser. Around 51% said that even if India does not play internationally this year, they would still want a cricketer as an endorser. When asked if the value of the Bollywood celebrity would diminish if movies start to release only on Netflix/OTT, 54% said it did not impact their selection. Overall, 55% advertisers said they would continue to hire a celebrity ambassador despite the sluggish economy.
TOP 10 CELEBS DURING LOCKDOWN
(Based on best performance rating in the survey)
1. Sonu Sood
3. Amitabh Bachchan
4. Ayushmann Khurrana
5. Taapsee Pannu
6. Virat Kohli
7. Salman Khan
8. Shah Rukh Khan
9. Vicky Kaushal
10. MS Dhoni