Branding With a Twist: The Cult of a Superstar

Superstar Rajinikant has not endorsed any product till now, hence it is interesting to see how the filmmakers of Kabali cleverly used his face to make money and promote the film. Anil Prabhakar decodes this interesting marketing case study for you.
: IJ News Service
30 September 2016 1:49 PM
Reference: 10552

The face of a maiden is supposed to be her fortune. Going by the number of brand promotions centred on Rajinikanth’s visage during the release of Kabali, this adage is applicable to him as well.

Kabali has become a marketing case study for brand promotions. Rajinikanth has not endorsed any product till now. All his film projects are very expensive. His last film Lingaa failed to set the cash registers ringing.

The film makers therefore have cleverly used Rajinikanth’s face to make money and promote the film.

In none of the advertisements Rajinikanth is shown using the product. But in the commercials of the brands associated with ‘Kabali’, there are a few scenes from the movie featuring only Rajinikanth and a voice-over about the product.

As many as nine brands from different sectors tied up with Kabali.

Airtel was the Telecom partner Airtel and released "Kabali" SIM cards, special packs and wallpapers.

PVR Cinemas Multiplex partner played the three versions (Tamil, Telugu and Hindi) of the film in maximum number of screens in their properties across India. PVR also had exclusive rights to sell "Kabali" merchandise at cinema halls and sell digital posters of Rajinikanth with the company's logo.

Cadbury Food and beverage partner Cadbury promoted their popular product '5 Star’as’ Superstar’s Five Stars' and organised promotional events in Chennai.

Amazon as Merchandise partner sold a host of merchandise, like key chains, portraits and wax statues, in the name of the superstar.

Muthoot Finance released silver coins embossed with Rajinikanth's image.

VS Hospitals also tied up with the "Kabali" makers and were the part of the promotional campaign of the movie.

Emami tied up with Kabali as beauty partner to promote the fairness cream Fair and Handsome.

AirAsia, the official airline partner for “Kabali” announced ‘Fly like a Superstar’ promotion.

Muthoot Fincorp, the flagship company of Muthoot Pappachan group, rode megastar Rajinikanth's Kabali frenzy to sell 165 kg of silver coins embossed with the image of the wildly popular Tamil film star. The NBFC, which is the associate sponsor of Kabali and the exclusive on-ground merchandise partner, launched silver coins of 5 gm, 10 gm, 20 gm and 100 gm to celebrate the mega release of the movie.

Talking to Economic Times, Thomas George Muthoot, director, Muthoot Fincorp said “Rajinikanth has never endorsed any brand and that is one of the reasons why we decided to get associated with Kabali. Moreover, he is a crowd puller and has a huge following among masses. We decided to launch silver coins as they are more affordable by the masses.”

The coins are available in the branches of Muthoot Fincorp mostly located in TN, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala. “We have also launched the coins in Delhi,” said Keyur Shah, CEO-Precious Metals Division, Muthoot Pappachan Group.

Shah said that till date the NBFC has been able to sell 165 kg of silver coins. “In the first week of the release we had sold 100 kg of silver coins. In the next two weeks we sold another 65 kg. Rajinikanth fans are still buying the coins and we think that the total sales volume will climb to 200 kg,” said Shah.

The unexpected beneficiary of Kabali is the watch brand MICHAEL KORS.

Fossil Group that markets the brand in India did not have any formal association or a product placement deal with either Rajinikanth or the film makers.

The stylist associated with the film purchased Micheal Kors watch model no: MK 8295 in cash from a retailer. The watch is visible on Rajinikanth’s wrist in some of Kabali posters.

According to market sources, there was a good enquiry for the watch resulting resulted in good sales.

The company could not promote the watch by PR or Ad campaign as there was no formal association with the film.

One of the large format retailers however promoted the watch on social media.

In India the best way to connect with the audience is by way of associating with Khana, Peena, Cricket Aur Cinema (Food, Cricket and Cinema).

According to ET dated 24thSeptemeber, Having tasted good response in the market from this Kabali-Rajinikanth association, Muthoot Pappachan group may also consider similar initiatives for other such mega films in Bollywood as well as in good regional films.

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