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Southern stars see brand value soar as films gain national appeal

With south Indian films gaining broad national appeal, top stars in the Telugu and Tamil industries are being chased for endorsements with their fee equalling popular Bollywood stars.

Allu Arjun, having endorsed Coca-Cola, KFC and Zomato; Ram Charan for Frooti; Vijay Deverakonda for Thums Up; Samantha Ruth Prabhu for Kurkure; and Rashmika Mandanna for Kingfisher, are now faces of national and not just regional advertising campaigns. They are popular with small-town, mass-market audiences across the country, commanding higher fees.

Like their Hindi counterparts, southern stars can take home between ₹7.5-10 crore for a deal, though they are known to be selective about signing deals as they seek to retain their larger-than-life image.

This is more than double the ₹2.5-4 crore top southern stars were known to strike around a decade ago.

“There has been remarkable growth in the exposure and revenue generated by south Indian movies, and many pan-India brands are taking an interest in the popularity of southern stars. Companies increasingly leverage south Indian celebrities for pan-India advertisements instead of region-specific campaigns. With south Indian movies getting better traction, we expect to see more southern stars endorsing major brands,” said Mitesh Kothari, co-founder and chief creative officer at digital agency White Rivers Media.

Kothari named Allu Arjun’s iconic dialogues in Pushpa: The Rise- Part One and Ram Charan and Jr. NTR’s dance moves in the Nacho Nacho song of RRR as examples of south Indian movie clips that have been trending on social media.

“The increasing fandom of southern stars is undoubtedly giving them more social media collaborations, even with some hefty asks. Brands are willing to supplement their budgets to get more exposure and make hay while the sun shines,” Kothari added.

“For a very, very long time now, brands have been working with celebrities from the south Indian film industry. However, especially in the last couple of years—given that the south film industry has been putting out some very large films and with huge penetration now of OTT that allows a lot of people from across the country to access content easily—there is greater awareness now for the rest of India to south Indian films as well as film stars from the region,“ said Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director and chief marketing officer, Parle Agro. Live Mint

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