How Is Brand SRK Still Intact Despite A String Of Flops At The Box Office

DELHI : He hasn’t had a release since 2018. His last release, like most of the ones before, was a box-office dud. His contemporaries have one release a year so as to not fade away from public memory. But Shah Rukh Khan can make crowds go ballistic without delivering a single film in three years. If brand endorsements are anything to go by, this testifies that India’s audiences do not love a star basis the box-office collections. Love is not rational.

‘You are as good as your Friday release’ does not apply to Shah Rukh Khan. The pandemic forced big names like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, and Alia Bhatt to move their releases to OTT platforms from the silver screen. Even here, Khan has been the outlier. In a recent commercial for Hotstar, in his signature self-deprecating humour, he talks about missing out on the trend of being on the small screen to remain big.

“His brand value, even if it was slipping, would come back, as he’s a part of Pathan from the Yash Raj stable and another untitled movie where he is working with Atlee. These are huge names. Zero was a flop, Raes did well in certain pockets, and Jab Harry Met Sejal was a disaster. But a brand is strong when you tie-up with a strong director and an equally strong production house,” said trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

He has had a spate of flops in the last decade. Between 2010 and 2020, he had about 12 releases. Of them, Chennai Express was the only blockbuster, way back in 2013. Raes and Dilwale were moderate hits, while Fan, Jab Harry Met Sejal and Zero were flops.

But the story of his brand endorsements that began in 1988 with Liberty Shoe, is very different. He endorses products across segments, from Pepsi, Hyundai Santro, Nokia, Lux, Dish TV, BYJUS, and Big Basket. Duff & Phelps’s Celebrity Brand Valuation Report 2020 says that Khan’s current brand value stands at $51.1 million. According to the Forbes Rich List 2021, his personal net worth is about $690 million.

Brand Shah Rukh Khan has been built on two things – Bollywood and the endorsement market. While brands benefit from celebrity endorsements, they also contribute to building the brand image of the endorser. “Every Santro, or every brand that he has built, has reverse built him. Therefore, the value of the brand Shah Rukh Khan does not go down even if he does not release hit films. The reach of a BYJUS ad is possibly three times more than the reach of a hit Bollywood film,” says Harish Bijoor, brand strategy specialist.

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