Celebrity Entrepreneurship – The Pakistani Way

Celebrities like actors and actresses’ venturing into entrepreneurial ventures is nothing new worldwide. Be it Hollywood celebs or superstars from our neighboring Bollywood – we have seen examples by the dozen where individuals have sought to secure their future earnings.

Forbes recently put together a list of business savvy celebrities in the West and even the Bollywood celebrities from our neighboring India have been investing in various fields like e-commerce! Frankly I am impressed by their acumen, foresight and creativity.

So why should a celeb in Pakistan be any different …? A celebrity is a “brand” in its own right, which is why they are branching out into these other domains.

And honestly speaking there is nothing wrong with the entire concept of securing one’s future while all the pomp and glory is surrounding them. We have just recently seen cases of our ghazal maestro the Late Mehdi Hasan and the 80s pop-rock singer, Alamgirwhere there was money coming in during their glory days, but in the later stages of their lives they have had to actually seek charity to survive!

But what has completely left me in confusion is why do ALL celebrities in our dear Pakistan end up becoming a fashion designer*? Be it a singer, model, cricketer or actor … they all end up selling us clothes in one way or another. For God’s sake … in some cases they are not even the best dressed or the most stylish people around us!! (Just saying)

The latest to join this bandwagon in Pakistan is Humsafar fame –Fawad Khan… who has launched a clothing line called SILK … whichKhan calls “… a humble attempt to branch away from the lawn focus and instead pioneer a new focus on premium fabric” (double duh!!)

However the reality of Pakistan is clothing is BIG business and easy money – so why not cash in on the bandwagon. Hire a few young (freshly graduated) designers; get a few mass retailers on board, produce the line and ‘Cha Ching’!! If the returns are good … move into retailing and even setup your own production house and you end up owning the entire production cycle …

Now the question is why do consumers go for these brands … and I sum it down to the following reasons:

  • Product endorsement by an individual known (to the masses!) – so an instant PR win!
  • People feel closer to the celebrity by purchasing them (there is always a possibility that the star actually had something to do with the product other than leading their name!)
  • Fans get a sense of achievement as a trendsetter
  • We just love to shop for clothes as a nation … and a celebrity brand launching is just another reason to go and buy more clothes!

So how does this all evolve? Personally I am more excited about the future when our celebs will move away from the ‘designer’ bandwagon and start investing into some newer, more exciting and promising areas …!

In the same context, investors in Pakistan should also realize the PR worthiness of have a celebrity business partner (other than the ’over’ tried-and-tested clothing business) and look at looping them in as the ‘FACE’ of more exciting ventures, and not just in their advertising campaigns.

Would love to read whether you agree or disagree with my observations so don’t forget to leave your comments!

* I know there are some exceptions like Junaid Jamshed and the MeatOne chain, but those are really too few to be considered an exception to the mass phenomenon.

First published on Samra Muslim’s blog on 9 August, 2012. Click here to view the original post.

About the author: Professionally, Samra Muslim has over 10 years of experience of working in Pakistan in the fields of marketing, communications, public relations, social media, event management and brand activation. She is constantly on the hunt for more knowledge and describes herself in the following words: optimist, moody, cynic, travel to live, movie junkie, and foodie. Samra is all over the place and has opinions about everything!