By Hindustan Times
He has just delivered a box-office biggie with Housefull 2. And even before Akshay Kumar’s next, Rowdy Rathore, releases, the actor seems to have hit bull’s eye in a different arena — the ad world. Apparently, Akki has inked a heavy-duty endorsement deal —worth about Rs. 50 crore — as the brand ambassador of a motorcycle brand for five years.
“Akshay has been paid a whopping amount. He is contractually bound to not speak about it until the firm makes an official announcement. But if we go into details, his yearly pay cheque would be around Rs. 9.5 crore. Honda motorcycle is confident about his mass appeal and that’s why they have struck this deal,” says an insider from Akki’s team.
Akshay’s latest exploit in the ad arena places him on top of the star endorsement list. He has brushed past Aamir Khan who, as per industry estimates, charges around Rs. 9 crore per year. Incidentally, Salman Khan is believed to have pocketed around Rs. 7 cr to endorse a energy supplement brand recently.
Akshay, on his part, remains non-committal. “Right now, I have nothing to say. It’s too early to comment,” he says. But trade experts such as Taran Adarsh are hardly surprised: “With every box-office hit, an actor raises his/her price for movies and endorsements. Since Akki is already a huge star, the premium for being associated with big-ticket films has to be higher.”
Last month, a famous cola brand that Akshay endorsed for over eight years, refused to renew his contract after his lacklustre phase in Bollywood. But his recent success made the company approach him again.
When contacted, Vibhuti Dimri from Honda said: “Nothing is confirmed as of now. We will make an official announcement as soon as deal is struck.”
Ad-guru Prahlad Kakkar, however, insists this isn’t news for him. He says, “Akshay is possibly the biggest massy star right now. If the company plans to target the middle-class, no one can be better than Akki.”
Akshay hunts for real-life rowdies
Akshay Kumar is looking for rowdies in multiple cities. In a new marketing ploy, Rowdy Rathore makers have tied up with a radio station to do a nationwide contest to hunt for the rowdies — the do-gooders who stand up for justice or do something noble for society. The chosen gang of rowdies will promote the film alongside Akki in all the cities.
The Rowdy Hunt will take place in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai and New Delhi. Akshay will personally seek the hidden rebels and rowdies through the radio station. “Listeners will be encouraged to bring out their pent up frustration and put it to a good use. Akshay is personally excited. He has already been informed in detail about it,” says an insider close to movie’s marketing team.
“It’s going to be very different. The idea is to do something completely new besides just the mundane press conferences to promote the film. Since it’s a new strategy, people will notice us everywhere. As far as Akki goes, he is in sync with all the promotions and marketing decisions,” says co-producer Shabina Khan.
Out of all callers, the radio station’s RJ will select the best five rowdies of each city on the ‘rowdy meter’. “It will be a platform for the people of the city to express their rowdy quotient from their personal experiences,” says the insider.
Charges: Rs. 7 crore
Endorses: Revital, Yatra.com, Sangini
Charges:Rs 9 crore
Endorses: TATA Sky, Titan, Samsung
Shah Rukh Khan
Charges: Rs. 6-7 crore
Endorses: Pepsodent, Tag Heuer, Hyundai, Navratna oil
Charges: Rs. 4 crore
Endorses: Dairy Milk, Reid & Taylor, Binani Cement
*All figures based on industry estimates