How brand marketing campaigns are riding on the Rajinikanth #Kabali fever

Brands do not want to miss out on Rajinikanth's bankability, here's a look at how they leveraged the Kabali magic in their marketing campaigns

Tamil cinema’s most bankable superstar Rajinikanth commands an enormous fan following in the country and across the globe. Fondly known as Thalaivar, he has spawned innumerable Rajini jokes inspired by his larger-than-life screen persona. Kabali, his much-awaited film this year, in which he plays a Malaysian don, has created many records at the box-office, one of which was made at the time of the trailer release on YouTube. It became the Most Liked and Most Viewed Indian movie teaser by garnering 1 million views and 100K likes in 2 hours.

Understandably, for brands, associating with Kabali was a golden opportunity to cash in on the superstar’s magnetic star power. The entire branding for the movie has been pegged at Rs. 40 crore, states the Hindu. Although the actor himself has not endorsed any brand, quite a few brands teamed with Kabali to harness its buzz generation potential.

For many brands, visuals, gifs and videos became the order of the day in their content strategy plan while the hashtag #Kabali and #KabaliDay trended on social media. Here is a curated list of the best Kabali visuals and gifs in which brands have leveraged his popularity while blending in their own brand persona.

The brands that partnered with the movie rolled out massive marketing campaigns, with a mix of social media promotions too. Here’s taking a look at how brands leveraged the #Kabali magic in their marketing campaigns.

AirAsia India

AirAsia India, the official airline partner for Kabali launched a special aircraft for the promotions prior to the movie release. It re-branded one of its aircraft with the livery featuring a Kabali theme. This is probably the first time in the history of Indian cinema that an airline dedicated an aircraft to a movie!

A special flight was arranged from Bangalore to Chennai to carry fans to watch the first day first show of the movie, with the campaign titled ‘Fly Like a Superstar’. The Malaysian low-budget carrier did something spectacular for Rajini fans – it invited fans to post their Kabali style video on Facebook and Twitter. The top 10 winners got to watch the first show of Kabali while 3 other winners stood a chance to fly to the locations where the movie was shot in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

Air Asia has shared a video capturing the making of the Kabali livery:

Cadbury 5 Star

The bar chocolate from Cadbury can never go wrong with its eccentric brand mascots – Ramesh and Suresh, when it comes to promotions. The food and beverage partner of Kabali rolled out its Cadbury 5 Star Kabali commercial #SuperOda5Star (Superstar’s 5 Star) with the duo featuring alongside scenes from the movie, making for a hilarious watch.

It reined in the Kabali promotional opportunity with an offline activity at a mall in Chennai. Fans were invited to sign their best wishes for Rajinikanth on a giant greeting card, for a chance to win movie tickets. Quirky visual content with Ramesh-Suresh are bringing the Kabali excitement on social media.

Emami Fair and Handsome

Emami’s men’s fairness cream brand Fair and Handsome, is possibly a controversial brand association for Kabali. But South is one of the biggest market for the fairness cream that did its best to bank on Kabali fever. Fair and Handsome, created for the Men of Fire, asked its fans to celebrate Kabali like a man. The most manly ideas got invites to the Kabali success party. The social media pages of the brand are a treat to watch.

Amazon India

Amazon India, the merchandise partner built a dedicated store for Kabali. The Kabali Store features movie merchandise like Kabali figurines, posters, mobile cases and audio CDs.


The restaurant search app ran a little wit-testing contest for true Rajini fans, and of course, it involved food. On #KabaliDay, Zomato asked its food-loving fans: “Which dish is the Rajinikanth of food and why?” The wittiest tweets were rewarded with 500 Zomato credits.


The smartphone company also tested for true Rajini fans. A Facebook contest asked fans, “If Kabali were a smartphone, what features would it possess?” 5 creative entries stood the chance to win Bookmyshow vouchers.

GrabOn India

The deals and coupons site also chose to let some creative juices flow in its follower base. GrabOn India launched the #KabaliOnGrabOn UGC contest which asked fans to tweet funny, witty or creative Rajinikanth images, GIFs or dubsmashes for a chance to win movie merchandise.

Here are posters with Rajinikanth taking over Hollywood:

And this is how the thalaivar takes over Bollywood.

This is possibly also the first time that a movie release has seen marketing equivalent to special occasions like festivals and celebration days. #Kabali, #KabaliDay hashtags have painted the social media town red, and brands that capitalized on Rajini magic know it all too well.