One ‘brand’ that I have to come to admire of late is Akshay Kumar. I am familiar with his early ’90s avatar of Khiladi, Mohra and Main Khiladi Tu Anaadi. He carved a niche for himself as an action-comedy star but never reached the stratospheric levels of other heroes like SRK. He was a star of the masses who attempted at innovation. His public persona driven was driven by his penchant for martial arts, his days as a cook in Bangkok and his off-screen alliances. Come Hera Pheri in 2000, his positioning and his fortunes have changed.
He has consistently delivered hits since then and furthered the perception of a star who innovates. Whether donning a turban in Singh is Kinng or continuing to bet on comedy films he has gone against the tide. Given that his competition includes younger ‘brands’, his ability to appeal to people of all ages & classes is a huge achievement. He has also carefully nurtured the daring daredevil image of his with stories of him doing his own stunts or anchoring the Khatron ke Khiladi show. The macho man is now truly ‘at home’.
The result: he was seen as a has been by the advertising industry. But with Thumps Up, Xbox and now Levis under his belt he is seen as a sure-fire bet to give brand imagery a boost. At 40+, if he is seen as someone who can be a spokesperson for quintessentially youth brands, it speaks volumes of his rejuvenation as a brand. He has managed to keep alive his appeal for changing audiences. What say?