MUMBAI: Stars from Bollywood and cricket are moving beyond product endorsements to strike licensing deals and lend their names to brands.
Hrithik Roshan is the latest celebrity to go down this route in an arrangement with ecommerce portal Myntra which has obtained exclusive manufacturing rights for the actor's Hrx brand of clothing.
"We work on the design and product development, but all the designs are finally approved by Hrithik," Ganesh Subramanian, COO of Myntra, explained to the Business Standard. "A percentage of sales will be given to him as royalty," he added.
Fellow actor and philanthropist Salman Khan recently did something similar when he lent the name of his charity Being Human to a line of casualwear produced by Mandhana Industries.
"Initially the brand got a huge push due to Salman Khan endorsing it," said Mitesh Shah, vice-president, corporate affairs. And now the company was working on the product line and distribution network to increase sales.
Brand analysts said this trend for celebrities to produce their own brand of consumer products was a nascent phenomenon but was gathering pace.
"When a celebrity lends her name and identity to a brand, it helps to give the product the initial push, but later it depends on whether the product is able to deliver, to make the consumer come back for more," said Prashant Agarwal, joint managing director at Wazir Advisors.
He outlined how it was necessary for the licensee to "invest in tweaking the product as the image of the celebrity changes over time or take up marketing initiatives to remind the consumer of the brand".
While it appears that licensees are currently driving this development as they understand how a celebrity name helps shift product, licensors, or the celebrities, are taking a greater interest as they see how much money can be made at the same time as opening a new channel to connect with their fans.
An Admap article looked at the changing nature of the relationship between stars and fans in India, noting the "death of distance" and how this had affected the approach to endorsements.
Recently retired cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who already endorses more than 15 brands is expected to move into licensing. He already has some co-branded products, such as Sach toothpaste with the Future Group, and ST cricket bats with adidas.
One particular category that has seen a lot of licensing activity is perfumes, where many Bollywood actresses have their own lines.
Data sourced from Business Standard, MSL Group; additional content by Warc staff