BLOG: How PR Teams and Marketing Experts are Directing Stars

BLOG: How PR Teams and Marketing Experts are Directing Stars

Stars in Bollywood almost completely rely on PR persons for their interaction with media and fans
BLOG: How PR Teams and Marketing Experts are Directing Stars
Hema Malini and Esha Deol

The incident with Hema Malini and her daughter Esha Deol at the Lakme  Fashion Week earlier this week when Esha walked out of a media interaction when a PR person rudely intervened to  remind journalists  to restrict their questions to  the event on-hand, spotlighted  the growing influence of marketing agencies and PR teams on stars’ images.

Of late stars  in  Bollywood rely almost completely  on PR persons for their interaction with media persons . Many leading stars are scared of  overruling their PR person’s diktats to the extent that they do not  open their mouth without their  permission. “The PR-marketing teams are  almost the  new equivalent of  the ‘Ask Mummy’ syndrome that heroines were known to propagate. In the past many  heroines wouldn’t open their mouths without their mother’s permission. Now  the same  is happening with the new generation  of stars who pay a huge amount of money to these PR  companies to build and  protect their image. No harm in that, unless you allow these image makers to take  over your lives. This is sadly happening with many stars,” says Shatrughan Sinha.

Trade analyst Amod Mehra  agrees.  “Today the stars are mere puppets in the hands of their marketing teams. The marketing team  decides how to project and  protect a star. 8 out of 10 times their  perception of what is right  for a star  is wrong.”

Producer Rahul Mittra feels the PR exercises  for stars  do not appear credible or convincing. “Most of the PR today is about the  hammering of the actor’s visibility and his alignment with some ‘social drives’, most of which are not organic. One actor friend who does real work is Randeep Hooda. Whilst all others were busy tweeting about the havoc caused by the recent Kerala floods, Randeep was busy preparing meals for those suffering along with Khalsa Aid, a non-profit organisation. In this race of being ‘with the times ‘ and ‘social media marketing’, actors are losing their focus on right scripts and their performances. In today’s world, it’s good to evolve and reach out to the evolving audience (15-35 age group) but no point overdoing it. In the end it’s the story and the actor’s performance that’s going to get the adulation, not the number of followers on their twitter /Instagram account.”

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri feel feels the kind of PR aid that a star employs reflects on his or her personality.  “Though there’s  nothing wrong in  it if they manage someone’s affairs in a professional manner. But the key word here is professional manner. Some  PR agencies are brilliant but most of them are just  an unprofessional bunch. In my experience professional stars have professional managers. Whereas rest of them are as good or bad as their masters.”

Writer-director Akshat Varma feels stars are being  held hostage by their image makers. “Although I'm not aware of how PR and marketing teams are being deployed  I have heard from younger actors about how they feel the pressure to be in the news, even if a lot of this 'news' is actually advertorial. I was once told 'Jo dikhta hai voh bikta hai' by an executive asking me to sign up for some media-package for a newspaper. I had to laugh.”