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...

------------------------------------ x ------------------------------------

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!


ponniinselvan said...

I just wanna begin with a punch dialog of Rajni "en vali thani vali" (my way is unique).. this single line summarizes what rajni is....
Rajni is a magic. his onscreen presence can b equated to the presence of Sachin Tendulkar in the middle. There is a huge cheering in the stadium wen Sachin stands still but wen he is gone, the reverberations of Sachin too is gone.. But not Rajni..
Rajni rules on and off the screen.
wen did u last witness a special prayers/poojas done for an individual from any domain be it politics, science etc etc. wen one fell sick. Thats the kind of emotional connect the brand has created... Unlike west, we don't have brand communities, but RAJNI has an active and silent community that enjoys his success..
Rajni is special..
The brand wins because it is an EXPERIENCE felt and enjoyed immensely by every audience irrespective of demographics...

Rajni could be the only product, perhaps, accepted in every segment of the society...

anyone who says blah blah about rajni, go to youtube and watch Baatcha fight scene... Ultimate...

PRAVEEN said...

well the Brand Rajini well explained......and this brand will also survive even though the character is gone. Well for all the northees...and westerners they accept likes of SALMAN, SRK and his stupid moves which are called as cant explain to them.... hte brand RAJINI

ManO said...

Very true... its huge celebrity brand... just like any Big celebrity in the world. But what has he done personally to the society? He is a huge sucess no doubt and I like his style, stunt and his acting.... but what has he done to the society?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure this is true.

You said that even a small mention or role of rajini in a movie takes it several notches high...then, why did Kuselan flop without much of a trace?

Rajanikanth has his positives but today much of his brand is manufactured and reveals better advertising skills than his charisma.