Saturday, June 18, 2011

The brand, that is 'Rajinikanth'...!!!

They often say that there is only one iconic brand in Tamil Nadu... the brand that is 'Rajnikanth'!

This is a brand which was born in the early 70s, saw a steady growth for nearly a decade, then it was re positioned into 'something', (with no idea at that time, about what it's value's gonna be in the future), then in the mid 90s it reached a saturation point (or at least what people thought was the saturation point), now after 35 years, it still remains a brand with more loyalty than any other brand. A brand which doesn't require any publicity or marketing or promotion. a brand which carries itself. the brand that is called Rajnikanth!

Every single actor in the country wants to be a Rajinikanth. They still wonder how he pulls this magic on screen. Even he doesn't know how he pulls this 'magic'... What made him into what he is now? (if you think he's not all that great, please wait for a while - separate discussion coming up!).

Once I attended a sales training workshop. the trainer gave us a weird scenario, a very different example to explain a situation. Two companies - lets say company X an company Y, have 2 similar products, lets say mobile phones. Both the products are absolutely identical in every aspect/feature/specification/design etc. (assuming there are no patent issues :)). Lets also assume both the companies have equal reputation/brand image/market share blah blah blah. Now company X chooses a well know yesteryear bollywood actor who's the biggest and one of the most celebrated stars in the country, and company Y chooses Rajinikanth to endorse it's product... which product will sell? which product will become a hit? which product will have a better appeal?
The trainer said, without any doubt, the product endorsed by Rajinikanth, company Y's product is gonna sell more (much more) than that of company X...!!!

The simple reason being, the actor endorsing company X's product, has endorsed a couple of dozens of brands at least! right from airlines to sanitary napkins!!! these days, almost all actors are like this. we've heard about stories of popular cricketers earning as much as 80 crores per annum from endorsements alone!!! Have you ever seen Rajinikanth in any advertisement? anything at all? Why doesn't he? And what if he decides to endorse any brand or product? I think it's the 'Gandhari effect' (what she did to Duriyodhana). someone who hasn't been into endorsing ever, if he decides to endorse a product, it is bound to become a success!

The current trend in the entertainment industry is that, before the release of their movies, actors do all kinds stunts to promote themselves and their upcoming movies. Right from attending reality shows on TV, giving interviews on all kinds of media, some even start controversies wantedly... Rajinikanth never did any of that, even if the production company decides to do stuff like that, it wouldn't make any difference. they might as well restrain from spending unnecessarily. Still his movies get released with a big bang and mint money like crazy. A fmcg company spends almost 50-60% of it's total expenditure on promotion/marketing/advertising. Just imagine if Coke or P&G decides not to advertise at all. will they continue to be number one? Highly unlikely... they know very well that in no time, Pepsi or Unilever will overtake them! and yes - in this highly competitive market, all products are more or less equal in quality and pricing (applies to actors/films too).

Where else in the world, does a movie premieres at 4AM in the morning! His fame spreads far beyond India. with fan clubs in Russia, Canada, Japan, Germany, South Africa and so many other places. Sometimes these things make even a hardcore fan wonder.

One of my German friends, an exchange student, eagerly waited for 2 months for the release of 'Shivaji'. And he said he was completely satisfied with the movie and it's worth all the hype.

When it comes to Rajinikanth, even an imitation will sell.! That's the power of Rajini brand. Even a small mention about the actor on screen, makes the audience go gaga, irrespective of what they are what they're watching (at least this is the case in Tamil Nadu). Like in the case of a Vijay's movie where there's a one line mention of Rajinikanth in one of the songs, which received more cheering than any other instance of the movie. Likewise in the case of an upcoming Ajith's movie, where one of the songs end with the laugh track of Rajini (his unique laugh). Since the super star himself wont endorse, people find unique ways to capitalize on the Rajini phenomenon! Even the ad world believes anything with the superstar's tag will work out!

On screen and off screen, attitude plays a main role in celebrity's success. No matter how big you are, you got to mind your attitude. Sometimes maintaining a low profile, off screen, like Rajini or Jackie Chan, only makes your fame grow.

The only brand Rajinikanth has ever endorsed...

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Rajini Jokes:

This is a growing market. recently became really popular, definitely not in Tamil Nadu, but the the rest of the country (mainly north and west). Like I said earlier, anything with the superstar's tag works out. People do capitalize on the Rajini phenomenon. But from my experience, at least 70-80% of 'Rajini Jokes' fans, are wannabes. They just laugh at these jokes because their friends are doing so. Or probably they're in a circle where people think it is cool to make fun of someone like Rajini (we always pick on people who are humble, nice, who wants to stay as far as possible from any issues/controversies). A 90% of Rajinikanth jokes are based on some kind of a supernatural stunt or act, which Rajinikanth apparently can do or perform. Sure he has done some weird stunts in his old movies, times when computer graphics had not really picked up. But who hasn't? telugu, kannada, Hindi, even in Hollywood there are actors who have done stuff like this. Too bad they don't care about what kind of logical person you are, who looks out for a RTB (reason to believe) everything that you see and too bad they care about many different kind of audience like children, uneducated, people who earn less than 100rs per day, who are not big fans of art films and films with full logic and no weird stunts!

I don't know about the other actors but Rajinikant does have a huge checklist while making any movie. this is to ensure he caters the need of all of his audience (there has to be something for everyone) here everyone = toooooo many.

But the Rajini jokes thing has gone too far now. no other actor can replace him in this. yet another feat he has achieved. Although these jokes mock him as a person, it doesn't have even the tiniest impact on the brand that is Rajini...

Closing note: It will take another 50 years for someone to reach the place where Sachin Tendulkar is right now. Likewise it's going to take at least 35-40 years for anyone to reach where Rajikanth is right now. (I thought it is only appropriate to compare Rajikanth to a person like Sachin and not any other actor. It is not apples to oranges, it is like comparing Durian to Frankenberry. Both are equally rare and special!)

There is no declining for this brand!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

My Bucket list!

not too long, before i'm gonna kick the bucket.... here's the list of things which i intend to do before the 'D' day! or maybe the 'A' day (admission into the hospital day) or 'T' day (turning into a vegetable day)!
  • I want to see my own wikipedia page on my own computer (of course, created and maintained by someone else and it should be all active and visited by millions everyday - hope u understand where i'm getting at)
  • At least for once, i want to run on the beach, wearing just shorts, with a super hot chiseled body. I should look like David hasselhoff. (If I do that now, trust me, there wont be anybody in the 5 km radius of that beach)
  • I want to rent a room in the top most floor of Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai, sit in the balcony (facing the sea) and taste the most expensive caviar along with the most expensive wine.
  • I want to drive a speed boat (with tank full of fuel), all by myself, and I should take it deep inside the sea (at least 50 kms inside), without supervision.
  • Something similar to the above wish - I want to ride a horse (not any ordinary lame horse - an Italian stallion) :)... really fast and furious, with me wearing all kinds of Armour wear (troy style). (I hope there are some carnivals in some parts of the world which has such arrangements)
  • I want 'Mutton biriyani' from Dawat, adyar, 'Raan' from copper chimney, 'Tava kalamaari' and 'red snapper fry (shankara) from moon rakers, mahabalipuram, 'chicken wings medium spicy' from eatalica, R A puram, 'death by chocolate' from Tangarine, alwarpet ------ all at once, in the same place, at one go I should have them all! (normally there's at least a week gap between having any 2 of the mentioned)
  • I want to meet johny depp, in person. it will be Captain jack sparrow meeting his biggest fan!
  • I want to win big in the stock market, at least once. and the best part is, my friends, broker and everyone should strongly suggest me to not do a certain thing, but I would go ahead do it anyways and that will probably pay me off really well. nothing will make you feel more happier I say!
  • I want to sit in the cockpit along with the captain of an Airplane! (probably with a couple of stewardess too)
  • I want to see my name in someone else's presentation, made in front of atleast a 100 people. And it should be a proud moment for me. :)
  • I want to go to Texas and take that 72oz steak challenge (refer previous post)
  • Soon after my retirement, on the 1st Monday, I want to get up really early in the morning, and knowing that I don't have to go to work, I should fall flat on the bed with full satisfaction/laziness and no guilt!
  • I want to see snow (yes, I live in Chennai)
  • Name one of my kids Achilles.
Now the 'cliche' items from the list:

  • I want to set foot in all the continents.
  • I want to eat Durian fruit.
  • I want to address a gathering with more than 1000 people.
  • I want to slap an Aussie (seriously)
  • I want to do sky diving.
  • I want to visit Taj Mahal
  • I want to honeymoon in Jamaica
  • I want to see '1000 hits per month' in my blog stats
  • I want to see '1500 hits per month' in my blog stats 
  • I want to see '3000 hits per month' in my blog stats
  • I want 'Indiblog' rank 85
  • I want to drink have 15 drinks and still be conscious
  • Drive a BMW M6 (just drive!)
  • I want to slap a really hot girl and have no regrets about it.
  • Appear on TV
  • I want to go on a minimum 5 day cruise (no land - just water). 
  • I want to swim for atleast 100 m without a life jacket.
  • I want to sit and do a 'Lord of the Rings' Marathon (with no breaks - not even for 10 mins)
  • I want to go Scuba diving
  • I want to go snorkeling
  • I want to buy a really expensive and awesome personal camera
  • I want to visit Amsterdam
  • I want to pat a Lion (and come back home alive)
  • I want to own a house with a indoor swimming pool
  • I want to get my ear pierced (the non gay ear)
  • I want to eat King Crab

I will continuously update this. As and when I complete current items and come across new ones.