Tuesday 11 August 2015

Ecommerce cos like Zomato, Yepme offer 200% more than offline brands to sign up Bollywood celebs

Ecommerce firms and startups flush with overseas investments and multi-million dollar valuations have been snapping up celebrity endorsers in the past four months. With good reason talent management firms say big names are charging online firms 30-200% more than they do other companies, depending on the category.

For instance, Zomato is learnt to be in talks with Amitabh Bachchan for a soon-to-be launched mega campaign, although the restaurant aggregator denied this. If a deal is struck, it will be the actor's second back-to-back endorsement deal in the online space. Last month, he was named the face of child-centric startup Firstcry.com. Calls to Bachchan's managers weren't answered.

Atul Kasbekar, fashion photographer and promoter of celebrity management firm Bling, said online firms are seeking out famous faces. "It's a fact that startups and ecommerce firms' spends are substantially higher across the board, whether it's celebrity engagement or talent acquisitions," he said.

Deals Structured Differently in Ecomm

"It's a function of valuations and the perception of them being heavily funded. Endorsement fees naturally tend to be higher," said Atul Kasbekar, promoter of celebrity management firm Bling.

Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Bachchan are learnt to be charging Rs 8-12 crore annually for ecommerce endorsements, which works out to be 20-25% higher than rates for some well-known offline brands they currently endorse.

Another person said Aamir Khan's typical brand endorsement fee is Rs 9-10 crore per year but the Snapdeal contract is pegged at Rs 14-15 crore.

Afsar Zaidi, MD of talent management firm Exceed Entertainment, said, "In the online space, deals are being structured very differently. Besides plain endorsement, some also include equity or a revenue-sharing model."Exceed created the fashion brand HRX with Hrithik Roshan for Myntra and sealed TV comedian Kapil Sharma's deal with OLX. Furnishing ecommerce startup Trunk Label has hired Bipasha Basu as a brand endorser in a deal that includes equity, Zaidi said. "This is why the ecommerce endorsement deals are attractive. These celebrities are betting on the long-term potential of the startup,"he said.

Bollywood actresses Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan are set to sign on the dotted line for two online startups, said an executive aware of this. "Both deals are being structured in a way that the involvement of the actresses will go beyond just brand ambassadors. They are likely to be more angel ambassadors with fund investments along with promoting the brand through endorsements,"the person said.

YepMe Leveraging SRK's Popularity

Online fashion brand Yepme.com, which has Shah Rukh Khan as its celebrity face, is leveraging the actor's star quotient through an online and mass media campaign for his upcoming movie 'Fan'. The Yash Raj banner film, to be released in April next year, has unveiled a #iamfan contest that involves Khan searching for his 100 biggest fans. "The #iamfan contest itself is planned to involve our end users into various engagements to build a two-way communication,"Yepme founder and CEO Vivek Gaur said on the company blog. "It's a huge opportunity for Yepme to strengthen its vision as a global brand. We are definitely looking at this association as a good platform to gain popularity and recognition."

Endorsements in the space involve a closer engagement. "With the advent of ecommerce companies, the endorsement fees of Bollywood celebrities have gone up but in proportion to the scope of work and commitment,"said Vinit Karnik, national director, entertainment, sports and live events at GroupM. "Number of days per year is passe... it now adds a social layer also to it with more interactions with regards to consumer engagement, hence the endorsement has gone beyond plain vanilla appearances to integrations, appearances, digital (number of tweets or Facebook posts or blogs), etc, and is spread across platforms."

Global card payment and technology company MasterCard is learnt to have signed Anil Kapoor for online-only campaign, expected to launch on August 15.

"Digital and online is where the youth and consumers are,"said Vinita Bangard, chief executive of talent management firm Krossover Entertainment. "Celebrities are the most influential opinion makers and it naturally makes a lot of sense for cash-rich startups and ecommerce companies to associate their brands with some of the country's best-known celebrities."

Instant messaging and voice over IP app provider Viber already has cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and actress Priyanka Chopra as the faces of its Public Chats service. Launched late last year, Public Chats enables live discussions and sharing across genres such as fashion, music and sports.

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