Sonya V Kapoor and Amrita Mendonza, who started M5 Entertainment as a talent management company and a place providing a complete set of brand solutions, plan to enter the content space on OTT and other platforms. The company has worked with celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kiara Advani, Disha Patani among others.
Asked what pushed them towards content, Mendonza said, “This is the era of content. You cannot survive if you won't do it. Our backgrounds and our connection with talent just came together wonderfully to move in this direction. Both of us love watching films and so this was a natural move for us keeping in mind our experience working in this industry. We had a lot of talent working with us, who have been pushing us to get good content too. It was definitely the most natural next move. ”
Kapoor said their journey in the content space has been interesting and they are meeting people and aligning with them on various stories. As there is a lot of talent in the industry, they need to sift through and work with people with whom the audiences can connect and vibe.
Speaking about their approach for the company in the new environment, Kapoor and Mendonza said they are focusing on growing talent-brand collaboration by leaps and bounds, consolidating their film vertical and influencer vertical. “We want to create a space where transparency exists, and instead of a maze, this area becomes accessible for all brands whilst catering and tailoring to every brief as a challenge to bring something new in the field.”
Giving an insight into their functioning and how noticeable deals are signed, Kapoor said there is no set formula or standard brief to attach the right celebrity with the brand and their message and ethos. Understanding this basic match is the key to every brand endorsement deal and it is what elevates the results from it being just a transaction to a successful result-oriented deal, she said.
She explained that based on the brief, the deliverables and negotiations are done, and after reaching the desired price points, the contracts are drawn and signed. Parallel discussions on the creatives and production start by shortlisting the concept, the director and the photographer. Usually, this entire process can take 1-3 months.
“This again is not a flat benchmark, personally; M5 managed to get Kareena Kapoor on board with Wow in 15 days flat. It’s all about what an agency can take out of a brief and how fast the brand and talent responds to what is being ideated,” Kapoor said.
The duo spoke about dynamics such as transparency and standardisation of prices in the talent and influencer world. According to Mendonza, standardisation of prices for influencer and talent agencies is difficult as deals are very dynamic in nature. “Each deal has different deliverables and hence standard prices will never work. The biggest reason why standard prices will not work is the ever-changing brand equity of an artist. The artist should have the liberty to change their price points as and when they want. And honestly, brands understand this aspect as for them also it’s all about ROI.”
With the kind of digital acceleration taking place in the country, the scale and quality of digital are as good as TV, says Mendonza. “Digital campaigns have scaled a lot in the past few years and can be termed anything from small to extremely big budget. The lines are blurring in terms of prices and quality between the two mediums simply because of the dynamic nature of the business. To give a little perspective, we recently did an endorsement deal with Pooja Hegde and Ptron. Even though it could be termed as primarily a digital campaign, the scale of the production and the final product was no different than a TV campaign. The two are now converging at a very rapid pace.”
To ensure a successful campaign, they look at the product, the TG and marketing objectives and try to come up with something interesting, Kapoor said. For example, instead of doing just a one-off Instagram post or a full-fledged endorsement deal for Drools (a pet brand), they executed a two-year social media deal. The celebrity/actor uploads one post every month in this duration with their pets. As this is done in their own homes with their pets, the campaign comes across as very effective.