From ET Realty
KOLKATA: In a bid to stand apart from the rest and lure buyers, builders have now taken to hiring celebrities to market their project. The trend has been catching up not just in the premium segment but in the affordable category too. All A-listers in Tollywood (Bengali film industry) from Prasenjit Chatterjee, to MP and actor Dev to percussionist Bikram Ghosh, everybody are brand ambassadors to real estate majors in the state. After engaging local celebs, realtors are now looking at Bollywood to help them sell their projects.
Unimark Group has hired Kareena Kapoor as the brand ambassador of the luxury residential project Unimark Solitaire to be launched soon – a Rs 300-crore project on the EM Bypass. Apart from other luxury projects that the Rs 2.5-crore and above units offer, the project also houses Shilpa Shetty’s IOSIS Wellness.
“The brand ambassador reflects the personality of the project and also the credibility of the brand. This apart, the visibility of the project with names like these also shoots up both among local and national buyers,” said Kumar Vardhan Patodia, Director, Unimark Group. While Kapoor has already lent her name as the brand ambassador of Unimark’s project there are names like Shilpa Shetty and Priyanka Chopra doing the rounds in the list of actors who could follow suit in endorsing Bengal projects.
Others who have signed exclusive co ntracts with the Tollywood celebrities have been happy with the interest the idea has generated among buyers. Builders, however, have been clever about the choice of the celebrity when it came to being the face of the project. For instance Jain Group got Baichung Bhutia to be the brand ambassador of their debut project in Siliguri-Dream Valley. “Given his popularity in the north east, he helped us generate interest and trust among people where we were not known,” said Rishi Jain, executive director, Jain Group.
According to Jain, the brand ambassadors are more beneficial for projects in the affordable segment because the buyer would judge their decision with an aspirational value. These contracts are generally two-year exclusive contracts with 7 days of commitment a year where the star accompanies the management to all launch and launch related events of the project. Builders are shelling out anything close to Rs 50 lakhs to get celebrities on board.
According to industry sources, Kapoor’s contract, however, is a Kolkata exclusive contract where the actor is not physically present at the launch events but is associated with all other print and outdoor campaigns. These contracts are at least 20% less than hiring local celebrities. Jain also has top Tollywood A-lister Prosenjit Chatterjee on an exclusive contract to market their smart home project Dream One.
The association of a known face, according to Jain, increases the trust factor in the project. Kolkata headquartered Vedic Realty had also had on board Tollywood superstar and Trinamool MP, Dev, as the brand ambassador for their Vedic Homes project. “Everybody has all the facilities these days so celebrities just make the project different from one another,” said Rahul Baid, head of corporate transactions at Champalall & Co, a Kolkata-based real estate consulting company.