What is your general view on brand endorsements by celebrities?
I think it's a fantastic way to reach out and connect with your audience. Your brand gets immediate recall. Using celebrities makes the brand more real, especially when they say something like, "I use L'Oreal"
Why did you choose Aishwarya Rai?
Aishwarya does an excellent job of adding her style to the brand. She was a total brand fit and a culture fit. Aishwarya is glamourous and will continue to be, we didn't just because she is beautiful. People remember her as a strong person.
Were there any other choices before you chose Ash?
I'd prefer not to talk about that but I think Diana Hayden was shortlisted.
How effective has Ash been for L'Oreal?
She's very complex and this just strengthens what L'Oreal stands for. She's been very successful for us. And unlike one of L'Oreal's other brands like Garnier which is very much a "girl next door" product, L'Oreal required more star value.
What would you say is the Indian L'Oreal woman?
Well, she is a woman of substance, she is determined and a decision maker. She is also a demanding woman who will work hard to reach the top.
I personally don't like brand endorsements. It's a shortcut, it's the easy way out. People use them when there is a lack of a better idea. Agencies use celebrities hoping it will work, many a times it doesn't. Some people do it just to follow the current trend.
Then why did you choose Esha Deol?
Actually Garnier does not believe in celebrities at all. Garnier is about approachable beauty. Garnier is about the girl next door. Esha is not a very famous celebrity that way.But Esha was chosen for her excellent personality and for the fact that people remember her face. She is a very fit lady who is into sports and dancing. She has a famous lineage. Garnier recognized the fact that she was happy being herself.
How does Esha Deol fit into Garnier?
She's perfect because she seems so real that the brand actually becomes the hero, without the celebrity overshadowing the brand. She was used more like a model than a celebrity.
Vice President of Publicis, Creative Agency for Garnier
Garnier is not stuck with one single ambassador. There are many people connected with Garnier so we can leave any ambassador or they can leave us without Garnier being affected. In that way Garnier never falls in a trap.
Is there any global requirements that Garnier needs to be fulfilled in their brand ambassador?
Globally, Garnier does not use ambassadors. Except in rare cases. Eg. Sarah jessica Parker was used for Nutritionist. Even the anti-ageing creams, do not use known faces. There is no set rule like that but yes, for Matte we were looking for a girl who has good skin, a good attitude and can act well. Esha met this very well.
To whom is the Matte Effect cream targeted at?
It's targeted to the girls between 18-25. It's specifically not a youth oriented product. The product is directly matched against Fair and Lovely which leaves a sticky feeling.
What conditions would you require in a brand before endorsing it? On what basis would you endorse a brand?
Before signing an endorsement contract, I make sure that the brand under question shares an identical or atleast favourable image to complement mine. It wouldn’t make any sense if I start endorsing hair dying products tomorrow.A lot of hard work and dedication goes into building credibility and the last thing one could ask for is undoing all that by associating themselves with a disliked brand.I also make sure that the brand I’m endorsing doesn’t contradict or compete with any of my previous campaigns or associations...
Do you consider promoting your brand in other social or personal affairs, apart from the campaign?
When I endorse a brand, I tend to use it in my off-screen life too. Doing so only adds to our credibility and value in the industry.Basically, it doesn’t make sense endorsing a brand you yourself can’t or won’t use in public.
Would you consider doing the same personally?
It depends; we have a lot of options to choose from. Nevertheless, I do use the products that I endorse and I endorse them only if they are worth it and I would use them myself... See, I like hide & Seek very much and I eat it too.
The best people to answer this question are the marketing guys at Hide & Seek... The currently running campaign is one of my favourites... I think it’s doing great. Hide & Seek told me that their sales have surpassed their expectations and targets in past 1 year.
Does your endorsement contract impose any stringent usage guidelines on you?
Sometimes; for example, Sony Ericcsion requires me to carry a SE handset around. Magic Moments imposed no such restrictions.Though, I still prefer having Magic Moments against any other competitor brand when I’m in a social gathering.Contracts say a lot of things; however, it never comes down to referring to it ever again once it is signed.
What are your general views on brand endorsements? Do you thing they really necessary?
See, any successful brand is 50 % product features coupled with 50 % brand ambassador. In today’s cut-throat market competition, when a celebrity stakes his or her credibility with the brand and shares opinion with the public, only then can a product achieves a top of mind recall and recognition and desirability... I personally feel that a brand with a high celebrity appeal would do substantially better than the one without it...
Your opinion on the qualities required by a celebrity brand endorser.
First and foremost, the brand image and the celebrity image should complement each other. If you expect a TV Soap actress to endorse a multinational brand and elevate it to the next echelon, you’re mistaken. The more successful celebrity a brand engages, higher are the chances that it will capture the market.In short, the brand ambassador must be a dynamic, highly successful, credible and respected personality in the industry and in the market alike.
What product category would you never endorse?
I am very very particular about the brands I endorse. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of efforts and hard work goes into making of a celebrity and last thing any celebrity would want is losing his or her credibility and trustworthiness by endorsing a sub-standard product. I will never endorse any brand that may put any community or individual in the harm’s way. This apart, I also take care that the brand I’m endorsing suits and compliments my image. It would be ridiculous Hrithik Roshan endorsing hair dye products. In the end, no wrong vibes should be passed on to my fans and I make sure it doesn’t happen.