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MATES forays into celebrity brand management, to manage Akshay Kumar's advertising career

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MATES forays into celebrity brand management, to manage Akshay Kumar's advertising career

Madison Communication's film promotions and entertainment unit – MATES – has launched its newest division, which will deal with celebrity brand management. This 20-day old unit has already signed on Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar and will exclusively manage his advertising career and monitor his commercial appearances. Though Kumar has been quite well in his film career, his advertisement career hasn't quite taken off with only a Thums Up ad coming his way.

Said Darshana Bhalla, CEO, MATES, "We are very excited about this new division and it is a natural extension for us. Since our parent agency, Madison, is an ad agency, we understand very well how celebrities affect and can affect a brand. Brands anticipate a certain delivery from the ambassador and our job is to translate it into reality for our clients. Celebrity management as a business is evolving and it does require a professional approach, and we are very confident to make it big here too."

"With the growing competition and diminishing differentiation amongst brands on the one hand and increasing clutter in media on the other hand, brands can benefit immensely by exploiting the persona and attributes of a filmstar. A professional service can identify the right brands that can benefit from association with Akshay Kumar," observed Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World.

Brand endorsement is a strategic decision for any marketer as the face for the brand to some degree decides the fate of the brand. "We have sketched a two-year plan for Akshay. The tremendous success of his films is a clear indication of Akshay's soaring popularity amongst Indian filmgoers and his films have topped the Box Office collections this year in India and abroad. Being the topmost sought after actor now for all kind of roles, he has become a brand in his own space, 'Brand Akshay Kumar'," said Bhalla.

Kumar, too, plans to use this rise very effectively for commercial projects such as advertising and endorsements of brands, etc. MATES will advise and manage all his commercial options in this space and has reportedly signed him for Rs 10 crore.

The year has been on target as far as MATES is concerned, and, according to Bhalla, 2006 would be a year of first consolidation and then of moving further.

MATES has been in operation for a year now and has already been responsible for associating mega brands like Airtel, Cadbury, Kellogg's, Aviva, Tanishq, Castrol, etc, with films like 'Paheli', 'Main Hoon Na', 'Viruddh', 'Waqt' and so on.


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