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IntroductionThe modern world of marketing communication has become colorful and inundated withadvertisements, and it is hard to get noticed. It is an uphill task for the designer of an advertisingcampaign to differentiate itself from others and attract viewers attention.In this jet age, peopletend to ignore all commercials and advertisements while flipping through the magazines andnewspapers or viewing TV. But even then, the glamour of a celebrity seldom goes unnoticed.Thus, celebrity endorsement in advertisement and its impact on the overall brand is of greatsignificance. In this process, the companies hire celebrities from a particular field to feature in itsadvertisement campaigns. The promotional features and images of the product are matched withthe celebrity image, which tends to persuade a consumer to fix up his choice from a plethora ofbrands. Although this sounds pretty simple, but the design of such campaigns and the subsequentsuccess in achieving the desired result calls for an in-depth understanding of the product, thebrand objective, choice of a celebrity, associating the celebrity with the brand, and a frameworkfor measuring the effectiveness.Celebrity EndorsementUsing a celebrity for endorsing a brand has become a trend in India.―A celebrity is a person who willrecognized by the people and has a good reputation in the people‘s mind and in society.‖But in the endthey are also human beings and they can fail in their field. Celebrity endorsement has been established asone of the most preferred tools of advertising. it has become a trend and perceived as a winning formulafor product marketing and brand building. It is very easy to have a celebrity for a product or brand but it isvery tough to establish a very strong association between product and the endorser: because the objectiveis to build a brand not the celebrity: if properly matched it can do wonders for the company, but it also hasa number of potential problems like failure of celebrity in his profession, controversy etc.Definition: Promoting a product or service. An endorsement is also known as a testimonial but theword is more commonly associated with celebrities. A celebrity endorsement is almost always a paidendorsement of the company or a certain product.
Celebrity branding is a type of branding, or advertising, in which a celebrity uses his or her status insociety to promote a product, service or charity. Celebrity branding can take several different forms, froma celebrity simply appearing in advertisements for a product, service or charity, to a celebrity attendingPR events, creating his or her own line of products or services, and/or using his or her name as a brand.The most popular forms of celebrity brand lines are for clothing and fragrances. Many singers, modelsand film stars now have at least one licensed product or service which bears their name.Definition of CelebritiesCelebrities are people who enjoy specific public recognition by a large number of certain groupsof people. They have some characteristic attributes like attractiveness, extraordinary lifestyle orspecial skills that are not commonly observed. Thus, it can be said that within a society,celebrities generally differ from the common people and enjoy a high degree of publicawareness. Among the classic forms of celebrities, actors (e.g., Shahrukh Khan, AmitabhBachhan, etc.), models (e.g., Malaika Arora, Bipasha Basu, etc.), sports-persons (e.g., SachinTendulkar, Sania Mirza, etc.) are significant.According to Friedman and Friedman, a "celebrity endorser is an individual who is known by thepublic (...) for his or her achievements in areas other than that of the product class endorsed".Compared to other endorser types, famous people always attach a greater degree of attention,recall and loyalty.According to Melissa St. James, a doctoral fellow and marketing instructor at The GeorgeWashington University, "Studies show that using celebrities can increase consumers awarenessof the ad, capture [their] attention and make ads more memorable."In this age of intense competition, where capturing a position in the consumers mind space isextremely tough, celebrity endorsements give an extra edge to the companies for holding theviewers attention. Celebrities can catalyze brand acceptance and provide the enormousmomentum that brands require by endorsing the intrinsic value to the brand.
Important Celebrity AttributesWhile selecting a celebrity as endorser, the company has to decide the promotional objective ofthe brand and how far the celebrity image matches with it. The selection is in fact acollaboration, from which both the company and the celebrity gains.The most important attribute for a celebrity endorser is the trustworthiness. The target audiencemust trust that a celebrity carries a particular image and it must match with the product.The second attribute in order of importance is likeability. The celebrity also must be accepted asa popular icon by a large cross section of the audience.Companies use celebrity endorser because they are considered to have stopping power, i.e., acelebrity can be a very useful tool to draw attention to advertising messages in a cluttered mediaenvironment. The overall popular image coupled with exact product-image match enhances theconsumer attention resulting in greater brand recallWhy celebrities?Why do corporate go for celebrity endorsements? Depending upon the product life cycle andcategory, the prime purpose could be to ensure that the brand gets instant attention. Alsocelebrities add a touch of glamour and a new dimension to the product, thereby using their fameto generate instant recall. The practice of employing a celebrity is due to following reasons: Quick contact Quick means of brand association guaranteeSuccessful celebrity endorsements for a brand- An IndianperspectiveThe latter part of the 80s saw the burgeoning of a new trend in India– brands started being endorsed bycelebrities. Hindi film and TV stars as well as sportspersons were roped in to endorse prominent brands.Advertisements, featuring stars like Tabassum (Prestige pressure cookers), Jalal Agha (Pan Parag), Kapil
Dev (Palmolive Shaving Cream) and Sunil Gavaskar (Dinesh Suitings) became common. Probably, thefirst ad to cash in on star power in a strategic, long-term, mission statement kind of way was Lux soap.This brand has, perhaps as a result of this, been among the top three in the country for much of itslifetime.In recent times, we had the Shah Rukh-Santro campaign with the objective of mitigating the impedimentthat an unknown Korean brand faced in the Indian market. The objective was to garner faster brandrecognition, association and emotional unity with the target group. Star power in India can be gauged bythe successful endorsement done by Sharukh for three honchos- Pepsi, Clinic All Clear and Santro.Similarly, when S Kumars used Hrithik Roshan, then the hottest advertising icon for their launchadvertising for Tamarind, they reckoned they spent 40 - 50 per cent less on media due to the sheer impactof using Hrithik. Ad recall was as high as 70 per cent, and even the normally conservative trade gotinterested.In the Indian context, it would not be presumptuous to state that celebrity endorsements can aggrandizethe overall brand. We have numerous examples exemplifying this claim. A standard example here isCoke, which, till recently, didnt use stars at all internationally. In fact, India was a first for them. Theresult was a ubiquitously appealing Aamir cheekily stating Thanda matlab Coca Cola. The recall valuefor Nakshatra advertising is only due to the sensuous Aishwarya. The Parker pen brand, which by itselfcommands equity, used Amitabh Bachchan to revitalize the brand in India. According to Pooja Jain,Director, Luxor Writing Instruments Ltd (LWIL), post Bachchan, Parkers sales have increased by about30 per cent.India is one country, which has always idolized the stars of the celluloid world.Therefore it makes tremendous sense for a brand to procure a celebrity for its endorsement. In India thereis an exponential potential for a celebrity endorsement to be perceived as genuinely relevant, therebymotivating consumers to go in for the product. This would especially prove true if the endorser and thecategory are a natural lifestyle fit like sportspersons and footwear, Kapil-Sachin and Boost or film starsand beauty products.Some Global Examples:Globally, firms have been juxtaposing their brands and themselves with celebrity endorsers. Somesuccessful ongoing global endorsements are as follows:
Celebrity endorsements have been the bedrock of Pepsis advertising. Over the years, Pepsi has used and continues to use a number of celebrities for general market and targeted advertising, including Shaquille ONeal, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, and Busta Rhymes, who did a targeted campaign for their Mountain Dew product. George Foreman for Meineke. He has also sold more than 10 million Lean Mean Fat-- Reducing Grilling Machines since signing with the manufacturing company. James Earl Jones for Verizon and CNN. Nike golf balls, since the company signed Tiger Woods in 1996, have seen a $50 million revenue growth. Nikes golf line grossed more than $250 million in annual sales. In 2000 he renegotiated a five-year contract estimated at $125 million. Other successful endorsements like Nike—Michael Jordan, Dunlop—John McEnroe, Adidas— Prince Naseem Hamed, and so on. Venus Williams, tennis player and Wimbledon champion has signed a five-year $40 million contract with sportswear manufacturer Reebok International Inc.Advantages of a celebrity endorsing a BrandBrands have been leveraging celebrity appeal for a long time. Across categories, whether in products orservices, more and more brands are banking on the mass appeal of celebrities. As soon as a new faceascends the popularity charts, advertisers queue up to have it splashed all over. Witness the spectacularrise of Sania Mirza and Irfan Pathan in endorsements in a matter of a few months. The accruement ofcelebrity endorsements can be justified by the following advantages that are bestowed on the overallbrand: Establishment Approval of a brand by a star fosters a sense of trust for that brand among the target audience- this is especially true in case of new products. We had the Shah Rukh-Santro campaign. At launch, Shah Rukh Khan endorsed Santro and this ensured that brand awareness was created in a market, which did not even know the brand. of Credibility: Ensured Attention: Celebrities ensure attention of the target group by breaking the clutter of advertisements and making the ad and the brand more noticeable. PR coverage : is another reason for using celebrities. Managers perceive celebrities as topical, which create high PR coverage. A good example of integrated celebrity campaigns is one of the World‘s leading pop groups, the Spice Girls, who have not only appeared in advertisements for
Pepsi, but also in product launching and PR events. Indeed, celebrity-company marriages are covered by most media from television to newspapers (e.g. The Spice Girls and Pepsi) Higher degree of recall: People tend to commensurate the personalities of the celebrity with the brand thereby increasing the recall value. Golf champion Tiger Woods has endorsed American Express, Rolex, and Nike. Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is used by T-Mobile and Elizabeth Arden. 007 Pierce Brosnan promotes Omega, BMW, and Noreico. Associative Benefit: A celebrity‘s preference for a brand gives out a persuasive message - because the celebrity is benefiting from the brand, the consumer will also benefit. Mitigating a tarnished image: Cadbury India wanted to restore the consumers confidence in its chocolate brands following the high-pitch worms controversy; so the company appointed Amitabh Bachchan for the job. Last year, when the even more controversial pesticide issue shook up Coca-Cola and PepsiCo and resulted in much negative press, both soft drink majors put out high-profile damage control ad films featuring their best and most expensive celebrities. While Aamir Khan led the Coke fightback as an ingenious and fastidious Bengali who finally gets convinced of the products `purity, PepsiCo brought Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar together once again in a television commercial which drew references to the `safety of the product indirectly. Psychographic Connect: Celebrities are loved and adored by their fans and advertisers use stars to capitalise on these feelings to sway the fans towards their brand. Demographic Connect: Different stars appeal differently to various demographic segments (age, gender, class, geography etc.). Mass Appeal: Some stars have a universal appeal and therefore prove to be a good bet to generate interest among the masses. Rejuvenating a stagnant brand: With the objective of infusing fresh life into the stagnant chyawanprash category and staving off competition from various brands, Dabur India roped in Bachchan for an estimated Rs 8 crore. Celebrity endorsement can sometimes compensate for lack of innovative ideas.Disadvantages of a celebrity endorsing a brand: 1. The reputation of the celebrity may derogate after he/she has endorsed the product: Pepsi Colas suffered with three tarnished celebrities - Mike Tyson, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Since the behaviour of the celebrities reflects on the brand, celebrity endorsers may at times become liabilities to the brands they endorse.
2. The vampire effect: This terminology pertains to the issue of a celebrity overshadowing the brand. If there is no congruency between the celebrity and the brand, then the audience will remember the celebrity and not the brand. Examples are the campaigns of Dawn French—Cable Association and Leonard Rossiter—Cinzano. Both of these campaigns were aborted due to celebrities getting in the way of effective communication. Another example could be the Castrol commercial featuring Rahul Dravid.3. Inconsistency in the professional popularity of the celebrity: The celebrity may lose his or her popularity due to some lapse in professional performances. For example, when Tendulkar went through a prolonged lean patch recently, the inevitable question that cropped up in corporate circles - is he actually worth it? The 2003 Cricket World Cup also threw up the Shane Warne incident, which caught Pepsi off guard. With the Australian cricketer testing positive for consuming banned substances and his subsequent withdrawal from the eventbang in the middle of the event, PepsiCo - the presenting sponsor of the World Cup 2003 - found itself on an uneasy wicket4. Multi brand endorsements by the same celebrity would lead to overexposure: The novelty of a celebrity endorsement gets diluted if he does too many advertisements. This may be termed as commoditisation of celebrities, who are willing to endorse anything for big bucks. Example, MRF was among the early sponsors of Tendulkar with its logo emblazoned on his bat. But now Tendulkar endorses a myriad brands and the novelty of the Tendulkar-MRF campaign has scaled down.5. Celebrities endorsing one brand and using another (competitor): Sainsbury‘s encountered a problem with Catherina Zeta Jones, whom the company used for its recipe advertisements, when she was caught shopping in Tesco. A similar case happened with Britney Spears who endorsed one cola brand and was repeatedly caught drinking another brand of cola on tape.6. Mismatch between the celebrity and the image of the brand: Celebrities manifest a certain persona for the audience. It is of paramount importance that there is an egalitarian congruency between the persona of the celebrity and the image of the brand. Each celebrity portrays a broad range of meanings, involving a specific personality and lifestyle. Madonna, for example, is perceived as a tough, intense and modern women associated with the lower middle class. The personality of Pierce Brosnan is best characterized as the perfect gentlemen, whereas Jennifer Aniston has the image of the ‗good girl from next door‘.
Essentials of celebrity endorsementsEven though to an observer it may seem that Nike‘s success is totally based on Tiger Wood‘s associationwith the brand, nothing can be far from the truth. As a brand, Nike has established a very strong brandidentity and a brand personality over the years. What Nike did was to use celebrity endorsement as one ofthe main channels of communicating its brand to a highly focused set of customers. So, Nike‘sassociation with Tiger Woods was one of the parts of an entire branding process that Nike has beenpracticing consistently. Contrary to this, most of the brands in Asia that have used celebrity endorsementshave used it as the main brand building tool. Before any brand signs on a celebrity, they should considerthree main aspects. Attractiveness of the celebrity: This principle states that an attractive endorser will have a positive impact on the endorsement. The endorser should be attractive to the target audience in certain aspects like physical appearance, intellectual capabilities, athletic competence, and lifestyle. It has been proved that an endorser that appears attractive as defined above has a grater chance of enhancing the memory of the brand that he/she endorses. Credibility of the celebrity: This principle states that for any brand-celebrity collaboration to be successful, the personal credibility of the celebrity is crucial. Credibility is defined here as the celebrities‘ perceived expertise and trustworthiness. As celebrity endorsements act as an external cue that enable consumers to sift through the tremendous brand clutter in the market, the credibility factor of the celebrity greatly influences the acceptance with consumers. Meaning transfer between the celebrity and the brand: This principle states that the success of the brand-celebrity collaboration heavily depends on the compatibility between the brand and the celebrity in terms of identity, personality, positioning in the market vis-à-vis competitors, and lifestyle. When a brand signs on a celebrity, these are some of the compatibility factors that have to exist for the brand to leverage the maximum from that collaboration.Even though these three major principles must be adhered to by companies, practically it might bedifficult to find celebrities that satisfy all these three conditions. Depending on the nature of the brand andthe kind of product being used, companies can selectively emphasize one factor over the other.