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Celebrities turn relationships into money making brands

Arts Lounge

Love and finances have a complicated relationship. Yet we see more and more celebrity couples, both internationally and closer home, getting into business deals together.

This trend is so rampant that a Hollywood publicist revealed he has helped couples stage a relationship to generate hype around the celebrity in question should they have a movie to promote.

All this is driven by our appetite for power couples like ‘Jay-Z and Beyonce’.

For those already in the limelight such as actors, musicians, comedians and Instagrammers, finding a spouse who is just as influential is the secret ingredient to combining their negotiating power. 

Bahati and Diana 

Bahati and Diana Marua are one such couple. With their collective 5.2 million followers on Instagram, business is in full swing.

Diana has opened up about her past as a party girl before her marriage to the gospel singer. She met the father of their two children in a chance encounter as a video vixen for the singer’s hit song ‘Mapenzi’. She played the lead character alongside Bahati.

That is when we were introduced to her as his ‘prayer partner’ back in 2017. Since then the pair have not only gotten married and started a family, but also inked numerous deals.

While Marua is a model in her own right, Bahati is more influential. She goes by the name Diana Bahati as her affiliation with the gospel singer is what has shot her lifestyle YouTube channel to her almost 700,000 followers, close to her husband’s 983,000 subscribers.

They have done a reality show together dubbed ‘Being Bahati’ that aired on a national TV station. 

The pair, however, cash their biggest checks from brand deals and ambassadorship. Diana has had a deal with Centrofoods Industries, their joint deal with Vivo Smartphone in Kenya, brand influencers for Diamond Platnumz betting company Wasafibet, and ambassadors for Raha Premium Maize Meal, among many others. 

As celebrity couples’ rate card grows they continue to appear together in adverts, covers, and campaigns. They also share intimate snaps on Instagram. 

“Couples reach different age groups. When a brand looks at that, they can recognise the value of a couple,” says Makena Kimaita, an Advocate of the High Court and a celebrity brand manager.

There is an old saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”, that explains the wild success of celebrity couples. 

Njugush and Celestine

Comedian Timothy Kimani, alias Njugush, and his wife Celestine Ndinda are also in the brand marketing business.

The two met while they were students at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication where Celestine was taking a course on Studio Technical Operation.

Njugush rose as a comedian from comic clips like Njugush Ni Fala and Dr Ring Ding. He’s appeared on shows like Hapa Kule News and The Real House Helps of Kawangware. While Njugush was already known as a comedian, bringing in Celestine and consequently, their son Tugi has cemented their place on the comedy scene.

From their funny skits on Instagram, this couple went on to create a show called Through Thick and Thin that was well received. They have gone on since to create more content and the show is now in its third season with tickets going for Sh1,500.

They produce a lot of their content jointly like the Dereva series and Cele’s Reflections. When it comes to the lucrative endorsement deals, the funny couple has not been left behind. From deals with Pwali Oil Company, Domino’s Pizza, Bountiful Safaris, and Kenchic. They also do separate deals like Celestine’s BournVita and Naivas deals and Njugush with Safaricom PLC and Crown Paints.

Terrence Creative and Milly

Forming relationships in the public eye boosts a celebrity’s commercial worth and can extend their shelf life.

Talks of infidelity or any sort of negative press may hurt their image but not their pockets. For most, all publicity is good publicity.

It is common to see a celebrity couple going through a scandal bounce back with multiple endorsement deals. The thought behind it is that the audience will continue to see the brand as they follow the drama as it unfolds.

Terrence Creative and Milly Chebet are a good example of how getting through a scandal charms a fan base.

The couple was rocked by a cheating scandal when rumours of Terrence, born Lawrence Macharia, cheating surfaced.  

Milly Chebet, Terence’s wife admitted to having known about the affair before it went public. It is this candid admission and how they intend to get through it that allows audiences to stay involved.

“Working as a couple is a genius idea. If being together gets more money then why not. But of course it has its downfalls. If the couple breaks up the business is bound to fail,” says Kimaita. -Winnie Makena

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