Mapping Kapil Sharma's brand value
In the midst of lukewarm reception for his new show and his abusive phone call to journalist, can Brand Kapil Sharma revive himself?
The troubles of comedy king Kapil Sharma seem far from getting over. According to latest reports his comeback show ‘Family Time with Kapil Sharma’ (after a brief-hiatus of six months) will be put on hold owing to comedian’s ill-health and abysmal ratings. [The first episode recorded 5011 Impressions (000s)]. Lack of bank of episodes is another reason doing the rounds in the entertainment industry.
If this wasn’t enough Sharma’s abusive phone call to a journalist followed by a Twitter rant on paid media last week added fuel to the fire. All this started when the comedian cancelled the shoot with actress Rani Mukerji which led to negative reports infuriating the former to make that abusive phone call.
This triggers the obvious questions: Will his brand value go for a toss? Does he need another relaunch? Will this make advertisers lose interest in him?
Sandeep Goyal owner of Mogae Media has no second thoughts about it. He suggests, “Brand Kapil Sharma is in trouble and needs serious help. The comedy + game-show format is just not delivering. The new Kapil Sharma Show requires much more substance, much more meat. Kapil Sharma has been a phenomenon. He is becoming a has-been. He is a pale (actually bloated) shadow of himself. He needs serious inputs. Serious introspection. Serious re-thinking. Serious rebranding.”
There is a decline in his brand equity which International Brand expert and CEO Brands of Desire, Saurabh Uboweja attributes to his redundant content. He explains, “At some level his content has been quite ineffective. He has been quite redundant and fairly repetitive. The main reason (for that dip) has hardly anything to do with controversy (though it plays a small role). It's mostly due to his lack of ability to reinvent him (in terms of producing content).”
Sharma is no stranger to controversies. His ugly brawl with his then co-star Sunil Grover (in ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ on SET) in 2017 was much talked about. It led to the exit of the latter and several others thus causing a drastic drop in ratings. In the midst of the speculation of it being discontinued SET did the unexpected by renewing the contract with the comedian by another year last August. But the next month both parties mutually decided to part ways short term owing to actor’s bad health. In 2018, Sony Entertainment Television announced a comeback with a new format.
For media planners show ratings play a crucial role than the brand value. A senior media planner who’s involved in planning and buying of Sharma’s show, explains, “Media planning and buying things only look at numbers. As the brand value falls the show ratings will also go down. Advertisers who are on board for the show are waiting and channel has to pull the plug if it doesn't get ratings going forward.”
Currently, Sharma charges somewhere between Rs 35 lakh - Rs 1 crore per episode. In April 2016 he was demanding anywhere between Rs 3 to Rs 4 crore from a brand for an endorsement according to media reports. It was even reported that his paycheck for ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ has been bumped up to Rs 110 crore. But this was in the past. As brand expert Uboweja pointed out he is nowhere close to his peak. “That time he had the leverage to demand a high price. Now he needs the channel to back him.”
More than the controversy the media planners point out that the current show’s format didn’t find favour. Dinesh Vyas Associate Vice President (Planning) at OMD, says, “The problem is with the format as it’s slightly different from his earlier shows. People are used to Kapil Sharma’s brand of humour. That’s the same reason why his films didn’t click. Anything else will probably take time or not succeed.”
So can the brand Kapil Sharma bounce back? Vyas is cent per cent confident about it, “There is a lot left in him. He is going through a rough patch. If he comes back with a show where everything is hunky dory, brands will be willing to line up. If he reinvents himself people will back him. Advertisers are not interested in his personal life. As long as he brings eyeballs in a pleasing environment it will work. He is not finished.”
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