Maddy hires IMG to manage his commercial affairs

This could be the beginning of a trend amongst Tamil movie stars — to optimise their brand equity. Says Tamil movie actor R Madhavan: "The brand equity of Indian cine stars extends overseas. My own image has been exploited overseas without my earning a single paise. That's when I decided to seek professional help to tap brand equity."

With Tamil ethnic groups spread across the US, UK, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysi and France, Indian movie personalities have a strong following overseas.

Maddy, as he is called by his largely feminine fans, has hired IMG, a sports, leisure and lifestyle management and marketing company to manage his off the cine screen commercial and non commercial dealings. With this, he becomes the first movie star in the country to hire a professional agency to manage his non-cine revenue generating activities.

He adds: "Actors like me are usually not aware about a company's ad budge and sharp corporate executives could short change us." Madhanvan has acted as brand ambassador for Bajaj Auto's Safari, Pepsi and Airtel (cellular service providers). For him the agreement comes at an ideal moment as he is handling dual language movies in Tamil and Hindi. So far, he has starred in 11 South Indian and two Hindi movies.

According to the agreement, IMG will scout for off-screen commercial opportunities and other engagements to enhance Madhavan's brand equity. "It is a long-term contract and we will be paid a commission on the revenues we generate," says Ravi Krishnan, managing director, IMG / TWI South Asia and senior international vice president, IMG.

According to him, IMG will do the necessary research, scout for commercial opportunities like commercials and merchandising on behalf of Mahadavan. For IMG, this is the first deal with a cine star. The company manages the accounts of tennis players Vijay Amritraj and his son Prakash and cricketer Murali Karthik.