Bigger Brand : Amitabh or Rajini ?

Who is the bigger brand ? Amitabh Bachchan or Rajinikanth?
I watched an interesting discussion on CNN-IBN titled, 'Bachchan versus Rajini', where panelists expressed their views on who the bigger star is. The race, if there is one, seems to be too close to call. Cho Ramaswamy made an interesting remark about how both these stars are actually running two different races and therefore, how can one predict who the winner is, when they are not at all in the same race.

Sample the comparisons, at 58, Rajinikanth is the unchallenged badshah of Tamil cinema, and at 64, Amitabh Bachchan is still considered the shahenshah of Hindi films. Both Rajinikanth and Amitabh began their careers in the 70s with bit roles and by late 70s and early 80s they were the reigning demi-gods of the Tamil and Hindi film industry respectively. Over the years they have co-starred in hits like Andha Kanoon, Geraftaar and Hum and individually they have a fanatic fan following.

What about Brand endorsements?

Sanyukta A.Kulkarni & Sahir U. Gaulkar, write in their paper titled, 'Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Overall Brand', 'Superstar Amitabh Bachchan endorses multiple brands like Pepsi, Mirinda, ICICI, BPL, Parker pens, Nerolac, Dabur, Reid & Taylor, Maruti Versa, Hajmola, Tide, Cadbury and a few social messages. It has worked in some cases, while in some cases it has not. D. K. Jain, Chairman and President, Luxor Writing Instruments Pvt. Ltd, the marketer of the Parker brand said, "Using Amitabh Bachchan as our brand ambassador has helped in strengthening our brand image and recall within the target audience". Tarun Joshi, Communications Custodian, Reid & Taylor said, "Amitabh Bachchan is an icon with universal appeal and has helped us to reach out to the real 'Bharat.' In fact, agents and retailers have told us that already customers have started asking about the 'Amitabh wali suiting.'" Incase of Nerolac Paints, which was endorsed by Amitabh Bachchan, around 80% of the respondents when asked to associate Bachchan with any paint, did so with Asian Paints, which is the biggest competitor of Nerolac20.'

What about Rajinikanth? A report from DNA India states (Aug 30, 2005) : Rajinikanth, the Tamil superstar who has made a grand comeback with his Chandramukhi, is making his presence felt in the most unexpected of places -- on the wrapper of a Japanese snacks.
Tohato, a Japanese packaged food company, has found it apt to put a still from the Rajinikanth-starrer Muthu on the wrapper of its recently launched garam masala chips.

The company, it is learnt, did a survey on the probable ‘hot’ picture to adorn its masala snacks wrapper and decided on the south Indian star. Hot snacks flavoured by habanero (the Mexican chili considered the hottest variety) and Indian masala have become a rage in Japan.

What about brands in India? Rajinikanth does not endorse any. That is interesting to note as this limits the exposure of 'brand Rajinikanth' making him among the most elusive of movie stars to the general public. This makes him a more 'enigmatic' brand as compared to Amitabh Bachchan whose exposure levels today, have peaked.

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amaresh gouda said…
hi Mr Ray,
Its personal question to you.
Whom do You think is the biggest brand of India?
After reading your comments about Big B for the UP Govt.(SP ruled, i feel You will support Rajani.
What i personally feel is AB is the best actor that ever seen.He is accepted by every Indian ..
Even Rajani have fan flow all over India (mostly south India)also in Japan.
But When we compare its rajani who scores high from me because for making regional cinemas globally accepted.
Ray Titus said…

For the moment, the exposure levels of both Amitabh and Rajani have to be seen from a demand-supply perspective.

With Zero endorsements in India, no slew of movie releases unlike Amitabh, there is a scarcity of brand Rajanikanth. That makes his 'demand' amongst the public even greater. I don't know, who the bigger star is, the more enigmatic, 'wanted' star at the moment is definitely Rajanikanth.
Calvin Bourne said…
The main thing which should be taken in consideration is global acceptance and attraction....i personally feel Rajnikanth has a better response from the international crowd..whereas Amithabh have fans mostly in north India And partly in south India...So if You ask me the ratio of comparison-Rajni/Amithabh:80/20
Unknown said…
I think amitabh is definetly bigger as he has reached international status while rajini is only mostly liked by south indians. Even in Malaysian The non indians such as the malays and chinese love Amitabh and hindi movies whereas tamil films are only watched by the south indians here. Amitabh has also won the star of the millenium award beating the the great hollywood actors, and he is recognised internationally, whereas rajini only among the south indians with the exception of some japanese. Amitabh was also the first indian who statue was placed at Madame Tousaudes. I think a star should be recognized by their acceptance of people outsite their race, as when people of a different race accept you and recognize you, that shows your popularity. Amitabh has also received several doctorate from international universities.

In fact in Malaysia the non indians consider rajini a comedian with his rediculous antics.
Sundar said…
hi wildrose,
I dont accepet ur comments by saying that Rajni is seen as comedian by malay and chinesh. Sivaji was in UK top-10 and Japan people are crazy on Rajni..No actor has big fan following as Rajni has around the globe. Even in south India Teleug, kerala people accepted him as a style king..In malasia Sivaji was one of the biggest commercial film in the recent years!! You gotto wake up!
Unknown said…
sundar, I think it is you who needs to wake up. In Malaysian sivaji, rajini etc are only accepted by the south indians. Whereas Amitabh by all races. The fact that hindi movies and hindi stars are accepted internationally speaks for itself. Im not being emotional, and Im not an indian, Im a malaysian so I believe my views are more fair and not judged based on prejudice than an indian who will blindly support the actor of his own state. Such as the tamils claiming rajini is the greatest in the world. If so why didnt he win the star of the millenium award which was won by amitabh. Dont forget, that was done by internet voting where people from all around the globe voted. Fact that Amitabh even beat the great hollywood stars again speaks for itself.

It seems to me, your idea of 'people around the globe' means the south indians around the globe. Whereas Im talking about every race. Also when I said that many malaysian consider rajini an comedian is true as they make fun of his antics, such as his throwing the ciggarette in the air etc. This is a fact as I have seen it happen in Malaysia.
Unknown said…
Rajinikanth vs Amitabh. ha ha what a race. Here is a small story, if i was liked by 80% of the people and remaining just just just just , note the word just, 20% is not liking me then any one can say am bad? In a class, a boy and girl stands for an election for the post of class representative. out of 40 students, 20 students have voted for a boy and 5 students have voted for a girl, can that girl give a reason that other students have not voted if they have voted definitely i would have won. this is what some of them saying for amitabh. rajinikanth is the only god of indian cinema. not only am saying this, the survey says, and even amitabh know that rajinikanth is better than him, but he wont open his mouth , but super star rajinikanth will take himself down and will not bother about his image also to say the oppositor is the shahensha. For your attention, if a small actor goes in his race also, he will proudly say that small actor is the great man. so dont think amitabh is the shahensha since rajinikanth itself told like that. if you go also he will say you are shahensha and he is a kid. ha ha. that much kind hearted man.

so stop discussing about them and go that rajinikanth, the man of style , the man of god, the man of indian cinema. bye bye.
Unknown said…
Hi Mr. Ray ,

I work in the area of branding and since we are at this topic of discussion , it actually got me thinking that does less mean more in the world of brands ?
As you say Rajnikanth has an enigma attached to the brand due to his elusiveness , would it be right to say that there is something called overbranding?
Beacuse if that is the case , I feel Mr. Bachchan would be a perfect example of it yet the brand stands as strong as ever irrespective of over exposure to it..
rajadevesh said…
i am from AP, but i personally say tat AB has 4 national awards but rajini has no national awards for him, but i dunno one thing, if AB film comes in south India, only dogs will urinate on his poster, but if rajini film comes out for the release u al know wat will happen, sorry no time to blog, itz time 4 me 2 go get rajini's nxt film ticket......

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