JWT From Reel to Real Life:

A Brand ChakrasTM Study on Bollywood Celebrities


Reel to Real The Indian film star is no longer only a hero of the silver screen; he is a beacon of inspiration to his fans. Their on-screen portrayals are being given lesser importance and their off-screen lives and personality have gained prominence, says the recent JWT India Study: From Reel to Real Life.

The study reveals that Indian film stars are no longer considered to be larger than life in terms of his or her persona and lifestyle; they are now real individuals who have risen to extraordinary heights. This shift in how celebrities are viewed is largely attributed to the availability of more real time, wide spread knowledge of what the stars do off screen - be it television shows, blogs, news controversies, or activism. While celebrities were once virtual prisoners of the characters that they played on-screen, they are now seen as individuals whose personal traits earn them as much admiration as their display of talent on-screen. His real attitudes and his larger life story is where the opportunities for brands lie.

The study reveals: 1) A model of how consumers relate to celebrities, and therefore how celebrity brands can be shaped; 2) The key payoffs that consumers derived from the three celebrities studied (Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Akshay Kumar); and 3) Kinds of fan relationships.

The framework used in the research revealed that Shahrukh Khan operates mainly in Power and Transcendence (leadership and vision) Themes, while Hrithik Roshan was observed to be operating in the Love and Creative Expression life themes. Akshay Kumar, on the other hand, was seen to be rooted in Survival and Pleasure Themes.

The study also threw up three different types of fan relationships. The Entertainment Seeker: the fan that derives nothing but entertainment from the film star - for him the celebrity is an object of entertainment. The Fantasy Seeker: The film star serves as fodder for his fantasies; he seeks the same looks and the material success. The Inspiration Seeker: for him, the film star is a role model for what is possible in life, endorses a set of values and exemplifies the way he should or wants to lead his life. Different fans would be deriving different benefits from different celebrities.

The qualitative study undertaken by JWT India was executed through Focus Group Discussions and Depth Interviews in Delhi and Mumbai amongst fans of the three biggest names in Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan.


* Brand ChakrasTM is a proprietary tool of JWT India and the first eastern framework in consumer behaviour and brand study.

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