The Chinese are not happy with Shah Rukh Khan replacing the Big B on KBC show! Remember computerji in the popular Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) quiz show on Star? That was Lenovo, a Chinese company's computer, and its logo was displayed prominently on the computerji in each episode.
However for the next season of the popular game show with Shah Rukh Khan, the Chinese PC major may not provide advertising support to KBC as its new anchor Shah Rukh Khan is a brand ambassador for rival PC maker Compaq.
“Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) taking over from Amitabh Bachchan for the next season of KBC, the company is now evaluating its position on continuing its brand association with KBC,” says Deepak Advani, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Lenovo Group.
Earlier ET had reported that Star has been successful in locking ten sponsors for the upcoming season of KBC. Interestingly, SRK endorses Airtel, Hyundai and Videocon which feature among the sponsor list.
Says Samir Nair, CEO, Star India, “Bringing on Shah Rukh on board for KBC has brought a lot of interest in KBC from the brand he endorses. And considering it's a fresh new season for KBC, there is a strong possibility that Compaq may come on board in place of Lenovo.” Star is also in talks with other players as well in addition to Compaq and Lenovo for brand placement on computers in the show, he told ET.
Says Rahul Agarwal, general manager-marketing, Lenovo (South Asia), “We tend to avoid conflict of brand ambassadors when it comes to in-content promotion.” The previous deal with the makers of KBC-2 was for 74 episodes spread over a span of 6 months, however, due to Mr Bachchan's illness the series could not be taken past 52 episodes and the deal was settled with Lenovo not paying for the balance episodes in the season. “It was a multi-crore deal, which entailed logo placement and advertising during the series,” Mr Agarwal said.
An estimated 1.5 million households in India watched every episode of the KBC-2,” he added, “thus helping us create huge brand awareness.” As for the upcoming season for the quiz show is concerned, we are starting anew and thinking over a strategy of better brand promotion.”
Product placement and sponsorship of KBC-2 proved to be a hugely successful vehicle to create basic brand awareness in the country,” Mr Agarwal told ET. Lenovo currently has celebrity siblings and actors Saif and Soha Ali Khan to endorse its brand while SRK is committed to Compaq Presario.
Compaq refused to divulge the exact size of their deal with SRK, but it is believed that the actor charges anything between Rs 5-7 crore for a brand endorsement, which is close to Big B's charges.
The brand Compaq Presario was bought by HP in 2001. Says Shuchi Sarkar, head - marketing, Personal Systems Group-HP, “Earlier we have already had promotional deals with SRK starrers KANK and Don.
And KBC also seems be a valid choice since SRK's entry in the scene and we are considering being a part of the actor's newest avatar too.” Compaq did in-movie promotion for Don and had the rights to use images and clips of KANK for its promotional purposes.
O&M which is Lenovo's advertising agency feels that if the company is very keen on the brand placement, they would have to look over the fact its SRK in the sea in front of the brand name. Says Amit Akali, Creative Director, O&M, “It is now upto Compaq to allow any other brand to go along with its brand ambassador. Were it Saif in place of SRK then as their agency we would take every precaution that such a coup would not happen.”