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Who’s more bankable: Bollywood or the Boys in Blue?

This topic can be an open and shut case in favour of Bollywood in the aftermath of India’s World Cup debacle. But it’s prudent to view the subject after considering all facts.

The Indian Cricket team played 43 International matches in 2006; in other words there were 43 occasions for Rahul Dravid to emerge a hero. But the recall value for cricket, even a big Indian win, is immensely low — ever heard of highlights getting 5 plus TVRs? On the other hand, a big actor is judged on 3-5 Fridays in a year but a big hit can have a 100+ day run.

Film stars can choose their supporting casts, directors, scripts, etc. I cannot, for instance, recollect the last time Aamir Khan starred in a Sawan Kumar Tak film. The Boys in Blue, however, cannot choose the bowlers they’ll face, the number of matches they’ll play or for that matter the umpires who’ll pronounce the verdicts.

How often does a celebrity face “Judgment Day”? We may dole out huge sums for watching movies, either going to cinema halls or renting CDs/DVDs, but a bad film will, at the most, have us cursing for a day or two. What’s more, escape routes abound for film stars, who can attribute flops to a weak storyline, poor direction, etc. Contrast this with extreme reactions like burning of effigies, and defacing homes and property of players following a defeat even though we get our match telecasts for nearly nothing at all. Indeed, getting thrashed in a cricket match is not easily forgiven.

So, the inherent nature of the two ‘investment options’ makes one a debt instrument and the other equity. Bollywood will always be more bankable and is a safer investment option. This is easily ratified by the comparable endorsement fees that ride on Bollywood and cricket — Rs 240 crore on Bollywood vs Rs 70 crore on the cricket team. In fact, Bollywood’s BIG 3 — Big B, SRK and Aamir — probably total up to Rs 70 crore.

If the bankability of Bollywood is such a no-brainer, why does Rs 70 crore still ride on cricketers? That’s perhaps because every little boy in India aspires ‘to grow up to be like’ Sachin, Saurav or Rahul. Or could it be that in a diverse country like India cricket emerges as the only factor uniting a billion people in prayer, exhilaration and even deep sorrow?

The boys in blue are the only ‘real heroes’ that the country has and, naturally, the relationship that the people of the country share with them is more than intense. Hence, while Bollywood and its stars will help the brand get instant noticeability, visibility and the appearance of BIGNESS and emotional connect, the legends of Indian cricket will always command their space in the terra firma of brand endorsements for the credible, self-made and real values that only they can provide.

Our experience with Sunfeast, a brand that has the support of both Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar, has been that while SRK has been instrumental in building salience, presence and positive imagery for the brand, Sachin has come in as a credible endorser to help us launch a new variant Fit Kit, which is on the specific platform of active health.
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