Storyboard18 I When celebs break up, does their brand value feel the tremors?

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Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, #Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, #celebrity brand value, #celebrity divorce, #Dhanush Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth divorce, #Dhanush and Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth, #Hrithik Roshan and Sussanne Khan, #Storyboard18, Mohammed Shami, accused of wife beating, Hardik Pandya, inappropriate sexist remarks, very visible skirmish, Kangana Ranaut, Hrithik Roshan, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Masaba Gupta, Malaika Arora

Actor Dhanush and his wife, movie director and playback singer Aishwaryaa R Dhanush, announced their separation on January 17. (Image posted on Instagram by Aishwaryaa R Dhanush)

The jury is still out on whether remaining friends with one’s ex is within the realm of possibility, but remaining a solid brand individually is certainly possible. Especially if you are a celebrity with a strong PR machinery in place.

After Dhanush and Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth announced their separation, brand experts said the news might be disheartening but doesn’t threaten their public image or brand value.

“Ups and downs in star lives do impact their personal brand. But I think how they are handled matters,” says Dr Sandeep Goyal, CEO, Rediffusion.

“How publicly the linen is washed is what really matters. If the celebrity keeps it quiet, then no one really bothers. But if you make a public spectacle of it, then there are bound to be implications all around,” Goyal adds.

Mohammed Shami, for instance, was accused of wife beating and the public image of the bowler was obviously impacted. Similarly, when Hardik Pandya made inappropriate sexist remarks on relationships on a celebrity talk show, his endorsements almost dried up.

Pandya was immediately taken off from his endorsement deal with Gillette. His honorary membership at Mumbai’s Khar Gymkhana was also almost instantly revoked.

On the other hand, while Hrithik Roshan’s split with wife Sussanne Khan did not impact the star negatively, his very visible skirmish with Kangana Ranaut did sully his brand for a while.

“The public memory is short. They forget,” says a popular celebrity manager.

Indeed, it is. Hrithik Roshan is now one of the few actors in Bollywood with endorsement deals across genres in spite of not having a very impressive career graph in the industry. Roshan is the face of brands like Rado, Cure.Fit, Mountain Dew, Oppo and many others.

Prominent role played by good PR

“Brand value after divorce depends on many factors like how big the cult following for the couple has been, whether they are A-list couples, which culture, society, community, market they are from and how the brand value is managed after such separation using PR,” says Chandan Bagwe, founder and director at digital marketing agency C Com Digital.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, according to Bagwe, before officially announcing their separation used their PR team to spread the news in the media slowly and systematically. Then after a while looking at their public commitments such as shows, movie releases, etc., their divorce was finally announced.

Also read: March 2021 | Angelina Jolie levels domestic violence charges against ex-husband Brad Pitt

Pitt has been the face of multiple brands like Chanel, SoftBank, TAG Heuer and others just like Jolie who endorses multiple luxe brands like Louis Vuitton and MAC Cosmetics.

“Celebrities have the ability to manage their media image using PR, and this can be used to the advantage of the brands who associate with them. In the case of Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao, a good strategy made the separation look mutual and mature,” Bagwe says.

Does separation hit women celebrities harder?

“It is impractical to view the impact of divorce from the lens of gender. I agree some glasses are tilted when it comes to perception, but most people understand it is better to part ways on a good note rather than stay in a bad marriage,” says Khushboo Sharma, founder at advertising Zero Gravity Communications.

Sharma points out Masaba Gupta and Malaika Arora as excellent examples of women who didn’t let their divorce affect themselves or impact their brand value.

Malaika Arora, who in 2017 announced her divorce with Arbaaz Khan after 19 years of marriage, saw no drop in her brand value. Arora is the face of multiple brands like Lotus Herbals, Kapiva and others. Masaba Gupta, on the other hand, was onboarded by nutrition supplements company Chicnutrix as their first-ever brand ambassador. These deals for both the celebrities took place after divorce.

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