It's Neo's bday today! And he shares it with Big B. Like most of us, Amitabh Bachchan has been an integral part of our growing up years! Post 2000, AB ver2.0 has had some acting patches even better than his 'angry young man days'.
Just read a longish interview of AB with Khalid Mohammed. Must admit the questions lagged AB's answers... I would have preffered Vir Sanghvis' interrogation!
AB lives in the media glare 24X7. Everything that is to be known about him is known. At 64, the sexier, spicier stories about him are long over( but for bit roles like Sexy Sam in KANK). Therefore, am listing only the few new thoughts that raced my mind as I glossed through the sundry AB images in the dailies.(I shudder to switch on the TV, where I am sure they would be doing a minute by minute update on AB's Bday). Poor man. Leave him alone. Let's not smother him with our TRP obsessed affections:-)
Here are stray thoughts on brand AB, before I am sucked into making arrangements for Lil Neo...
1. New Nomenclature. Amitabh Bachchan - the actor, the icon, the era is far richer than the current appellaton that media has foisted on him - 'Big B'. AB is not just 'Big'. He is 'Great'. He is a medium in himself. He is a cross-over between youth and old age, between high-brow and low-brow. A unique cross-over between Bollywood, TV and Advertising.
Every usage of the appellation 'Big B' in fact actually littles AB and his achievements in a way.
2. The medium is the message. If I were AB's brand manager, I would have recommended forming an ABTV 2 years back. (With high profile friends of AB, I am sure funding would not have been an issue.)
Imagine no more keeping track of the number of brand endorsements.LOL
The mechanics would be simple - brand managers and agencies need to answer a short quiz on the brand fit between 'Brand X' and 'Brand AB' at 'Jalsa'. (Of course, one could always pay more to match the brand horoscope!)
3. Exclusivity vs Exposure. Brand AB will soar higher with a little selectivity, not indiscriminate exposure. Of course AB has justified over-exposure in the past with his 200 odd crores of pending debt. But,increasingly the argument sounds tenuous. Mr. Bachchan, at 64, you can afford to be a lil slow. Focus more on the quality of 'Black' rather than the grey zones of 'Boom'. Exclusivity had helped you in your younger days. It will do 'bigger' wonders now! Even Abhishek is raking in big moolah!
4. Big Causes.Counting good health, good luck and a steady stream of projects, it is nevertheless unlikely he would have an active working life of more than 5-10 years(I pray for more though...). I know he is an actor. But the greatest Indian brand can be better used than selling beverages, baniyan or bandh gala suits alone!
I think the country would do well with more pulse polio campaigns. Use of brand AB for more social advertising. Using AB strategically in the rise of the Indian 'Soft Power' status and some 'India Shining' concepts. And it is here that I feel, brand AB can still be 'BIGGER', age notwithstanding.
Because no matter how many quanti tools we might invent for celebrity management, it is highly unlikely that India would have another Mr. Bachchan.
5. 360 AB.Even as you laugh off my ABTV concept, think of the possibilities of AB Radio, AB Times, AB Communication/ Acting School, AB as an avid blogger on the media landscape, AB as corporate trainer, Walk-with-AB programmes, AB on motivational tapes and DVDs, AB as the official evangelist for Bollywood...
AB is the rare case of a celebrity that is 'infinitely elastic'. They don't have an AB equivalent even in Hollywood...Happy Birthday Mr. Bachchan!
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