Akshay Kumar is ruling start up endorsements with ventures like Fau-G, GOQii, PagarBook, CarDekho | Bollywood - Hindustan Times
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Akshay Kumar is ruling start up endorsements with ventures like Fau-G, GOQii, PagarBook, CarDekho

Hindustan Times | ByMonika Rawal Kukreja
Nov 01, 2020 03:26 PM IST

Be it working with debut directors and new female co-stars, or supporting multiple startup ventures, actor Akshay Kumar doesn’t ‘fear committing to newcomers’.

Trust Akshay Kumar to set new trends and always lead by example. And no, it’s not about his choice of films that sets him apart, but also his associations off screen. For those who have seen Kumar’s career trajectory closely would know that he’s perhaps the only actor to have worked with maximum number of debut directors and new female actors.

Actor Akshay Kumar is associated with various startups ventures such as FAU-G, PagarBook, CarDekho, GOii among others.(Photo: Suresh Natranjan)
Actor Akshay Kumar is associated with various startups ventures such as FAU-G, PagarBook, CarDekho, GOii among others.(Photo: Suresh Natranjan)

Asked if it’s a risky proposition or an urge to try something new, and the actor says, “Every decision you make in the film industry is risky, be it with the biggest of banners or with the biggest of stars, no one is guaranteed success. That’s why I have no fear committing to newcomers. I’ve always believed it’s the strugglers that work the hardest, they’ve the most to prove, the biggest passion and a sense of fight that big names may not necessarily carry like they did once upon a time. One must always remember we were all an unwanted newcomer once; if people didn’t give the likes of me a chance, I’d still be a martial arts coach. It’s the least I can do to help start as many people’s careers as I can, for we all deserve a chance to fight for our dreams.”

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Switch to his brand commitments and again, you’ll notice that, without any inhibitions, Kumar has supported, and endorsed various startups and helped them in better positioning. So what’s the message he wishes to convey through such collaborations?

The actor tells us, “The business of endorsements has changed a lot as has the business of films. While there are routine paid partnerships, the start up craze has now spurred on new opportunities — for the brand as well as the celebrity — worldwide. There might be some fee upfront, but there’s a larger value to be made when the business grows, and you get to hold the hands of someone who’s just starting on their way up.”

 

Kumar insists that a celebrity gets associated with any brand only if they believe in the promoters and the product. “For me, GOQii is something that has a larger fitness goal for the entire nation. Pagar Book is two young boys trying to put accounts for a small business firm on their phone. CarDekho has opened up the car sales market multifold. FAU-G is trying to create a world class gaming experience on your phone or tablet. Yes, given the success rates of startups, you’re taking the risk of no value getting created for the brand at all after all, but that’s the challenge. In the end, you’ve at least partnered or helped someone on their way, who dreamed of doing something big,” explains the actor.

Unlike many other actors who’re extremely picky and choosy when it comes to working with newcomers or even endorse a new venture, Kumar has taken the plunge without thinking much, and it has shown results, too. One wonders if he has been this way from the beginning of his career or would he call it a natural progression that he likes to enter unchartered territories to discover himself more. The actor starts by saying he’s “no stranger to versatility”.

He elaborates, “I don’t choose projects out of the norm. In fact, it’s one of my best traits and something that has proved its worth many times. You need conviction and a certain amount of confidence that, if and when you believe in something or someone, no status nor fear should stop you from doing something you believe in. Whether it could possibly cost more than it’s worth, without risk, we don’t grow, without fear we don’t achieve. I need to feel there’s a mission to accomplish, if it’s too easy, it doesn’t fulfil me. I’ve always believed that I’ve been given the amount I have for the sole purpose to help others in need. So, with that, I do all I can to guide or encourage anyone that comes into my life with anything I think will make a difference in this world.”

 

We also spoke to some of these startups to know what makes Akshay Kumar the popular and unanimous choice for their brands.

Vishal Gondal Founder & CEO GOQii & Co-Founder nCore Games makers of FAU-G says, “Akshay sir, especially for a start up, is not just a brand ambassador; he literally works with you as your partner and is equally interested in making your product successful. There are some celebs who just read out lines from an ad script, but in his case — because GoQii is about health and fitness and he himself is a fitness freak — he wanted to add a lot of value to it. So, right from the scripts to the ad film we were making, he was there for us. Also, it was his idea to donate the fitness bands to the police, as he felt they are at the front during lockdown. So, he literally lives the brand and gives his ideas, which are as good as any other co-founder in the company.”

Talking of FAU-G, Gondal reveals that it was Kumar who came up with the name for the gaming app. “We were working on this gaming idea with the whole Indian army theme, and we initially wanted to call it Bharat Ke Veer but, Akshay sir said even though it’s a good name, it doesn’t sound like a game. And that’s how FAU-G came about and it’s so contextual, as it means soldier. It not only gave the impact but also — just like people associate PUBG as a game — so the minute this came, they’d figure out what it is. So, Akshay sir understands the consumer really well. Also, one can’t miss his attention for detailing. For both our brands, he has delivered far beyond just any brand supporter or endorser. He always encourages us to do new things and come up with fresh ideas. He is the best start up mentor and advisor anybody could get.”

 

Calling Kumar a very “relatable celebrity and a self-made man”, Rupesh Kumar Mishra, Co-founder, PagarBook says, they didn’t have to think much getting him on board. “We’re a very Bharat kind of a brand and we’re talking to small business owners who have come up their hard way. So, Akshay was an organic fitment for our brand in that sense. He also doesn’t have any kind of Godfather in Bollywood and he has reached this stature all by himself. So when Akshay endorses, it looks pretty simple and people think he’s someone like me,” says Mishra.

Adding to it, Sivaprasad, Sr. VP, Marketing & Sales, PagarBook, draws a comparison with Kumars filmography that made him suited for their brand. “He has stood up for a lot of causes apart from just the commercial viability of the movies. And he has positioned himself in a certain way. Similarly our product, and the kind of problems we solve for small business owners, Akshay kind of resonated with the cause that we’re trying to create. So, it’s a mix of his personality as an individual and as a brand, we’re there for people, the niche Indian audience who’d need a product like this. Akshay always gives us suggestions and understands the nerves of the target audience and the product.”

Ad guru and producer, Pritish nandy concurs, “Akshay Kumar is the most successful business person currently in the movies. So, he brings to the table money, reach and power to influence, what more can a startup want?”

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