From Amitabh Bachchan to Pankaj Tripathi How are Start-ups Affording Big Faces For Their Brand?

Celebrities endorsing a product/brand is not new but start-ups being able to afford this luxury is pathbreaking.

Branding is the most important part of the business growth strategy. Even if the initial funding of start-ups covers the marketing budget, approaching a celebrity to promote the product may not happen. A start-up may or may not choose to advertise but then, it really depends on the type of product a company is trying to sell.

Influence of Celebrities

Social Media Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have created a bigger opportunity for any product promotion. Additionally, the presence of a celebrity or an influencer would mean bigger exposure and visibility in today’s digital world.

A wish of celebrity associating with a brand is not just an obsession, it’s a need of the hour especially, for fashion and apparel brands.

Celebrities are well-connected and well-networked and the right partner will represent the brand anywhere. Due to their desirability and relatability, the product will reach places that may seem inaccessible otherwise. It will add huge credibility, spread awareness and boost the brand. For instance, Amitabh Bachchan is the brand ambassador of ‘’ (a children-focused e-commerce company). He is a doting grandfather and people are fascinated by his presence across India.

Endorsements – ‘A Psychic Game’

Celebrity presence in an advertisement for a couple of seconds plays with the psychic of a common man and he/she becomes a ‘potential client/consumer’. Unknowingly, people just look-out for the product as their favourite star/celebrity is endorsing the same.

Big associations create demand particularly when the product is relatable. Shilpa Shetty endorsing kids’ friendly/new-born baby product brand ‘MamaEarth’ is one such example.

Celebrities endorsing a product/brand is not new so what has changed now? With start-ups affording the big faces, it’s a very obvious thought, how can start-ups pay for this luxury?


A wish of celebrity associating with a brand is not just an obsession, it’s a need of the hour especially, for fashion and apparel brands.

Ways of Compensation

Pankaj Tripathi, in a video, expressed his gratitude to the Bihar government for choosing him as the brand ambassador for ‘Khadi Mall’ in Bihar in the year 2020. The actor mentioned that he is extremely happy as he relates to the cause deeply and will not charge any fee. He respects the Gandhian thought that ‘Khadi is not an outfit but a thought process’ and Khadi endorsement would strengthen the rural Indian economy.

Apart from philanthropy, here are other ways of compensation –

One-off payments (funding by investors or the capital)

Revenue/profit sharing

Long term associations by pulling them as Investors and brand ambassadors with a good return on investment

Equity and stock options to celebrities

Discounted or free merchandise may not work with big celebrities but can be clubbed with other ways for a good relationship

What’s in It for Me?

Change is the constant thing and celebrities have also accommodated and adjusted to new ways of working and new ways of compensation.

Big faces/their association with the brand, passion and commitment means a bigger prospect. However, start-ups must maintain a consistent brand, right and relatable product for impactful messaging to their target audience and attracting clients/consumers.


Roopali Kotwal
Roopali Kotwal
Roopali is a former author with Dutch Uncles, a subject matter expert with over a decade of experience. She writes on Human Resource Management and Business Operations.



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