Alia Bhatt beats bigwigs to be a go-to endorser for brands of all shades

Alia Bhatt has just been signed on as endorser for Vicco Vajradanti, one of the oldest toothpaste brands in the country which is keen to broaden its appeal among the young
What does a 60-plus brand do when it needs to infuse fresh energy into its promise? Or a youthful cola brand look for when it needs to ratchet up the engagement on video-sharing platforms, or how does a stodgy electrical goods maker find a millennial connection? Increasingly, over the past year and more, brands across disparate categories and target audiences, have chosen actor Alia Bhatt for the job. 

The face that every brand wants, has seen a meteoric rise up the endorsement tables. According to the recent Duff & Phelps celebrity valuation report, Bhatt is the only woman, apart from Deepika Padukone, in the top 10 in the list of top paid endorsers in the country. She has dislodged veteran actor, Amitabh Bachchan, to take the seventh spot and has beaten M S Dhoni, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and a host of her female peers, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Anushka Sharma at the endorsement races. 

Bhatt earned her Bollywood spurs with a string of hits through 2018 and 2019 and currently endorses brands worth $45.8 million. She backs everything from  high fashion to food and beverages and has also invested in a start-up, a personal styling platform called Stylecracker. What is firing up the brand allure of the 26-year-old actor? 

Her ability to hold her own in Bollywood that is still largely a male-dominated industry sticks out in her favour, according to N Chandramouli, chief executive officer of brand intelligence and data insights company, TRA. The celebrity desire quotient is made up of four components, rational, emotional, communication and aspirational he said, and Bhatt stands tall on the aspirational track. Her choice of movies, refusal to be typecast and her willingness to experiment with her roles has meant that her movies are not just box office successes, but appeal to a diverse audience set. This makes her an endearing choice for brands, said marketers. 

Known to charge around one crore rupees per brand per year, for her endorsements, Bhatt is also more affordable than many others. Her price adds to the attraction of her reach, but marketers said they were drawn to her as much for the fact that she fits the budget as for her ability to appeal across demographic, geographical and gender divides. Plus her vibrant and active social media presence helps brands gain visibility online.

Harish Bijoor, founder-CEO Harish Bijoor Consults believes that Bhatt has a clear slot to fill, now that Priyanka Chopra is out of the running (given her international commitments). Plus her advantage is that she can make her appeal work across brands that are very different from each other. She is the perfect new age brand endorser according to him. “Young, approachable and looks like the pretty girl next door. Add a dash of the modern and the versatile and that is her,” he added.

Brands say they are drawn by the buzz around her, be it in the movies she has chosen or the way she conducts her personal life. She connects with the millennial consumer. Sanjeev Pendharkar, director, Vicco, speaking to the media at the launch of a new campaign had said, “Vicco Vajradanti has been a household name since 1952. It has a large base of loyal users. The marketing task was to appeal to the younger generation, the millennial and who better than Alia (Bhatt) as a brand ambassador to do this.”

Like Vicco, brands are keen to leverage her huge social media presence. Bhatt has 43 million Instagram followers, 1.3 million YouTube subscribers and over 20 million Twitter followers. She promotes her brands on her timelines, sharing their stories with a personal touch. For Vicco for instance, she posted that she was thrilled to be a part of a jingle she has grown up on (The toothpaste brand’s jingle has unprecedented nostalgic recall and has been retained in the new ads). 

Her social media platforms can do better with some professional management, however, say experts. If that is fixed, it is likely that the actor will find her brand value soar and the endorsement list swell even more.

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