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Does it Make Things Easy?
“A celebrity is a name which, once made by news, now makes news by itself”.
- Deepak Choudhury with inputs from Vibha Iyer
inspite of being endorsed by who represents a brand or
If we’re rapidly turning the pages
Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek company over an extended period
of a glossy magazine or channel
Bachchan? of time, often in print and
surfing, an advertisement
Do celebrity endorsements just television advertisements, and in
featuring Amitabh Bachchan,
improve the ‘shelf life’ of the personal appearances, is usually
Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh
advertisement, or do they called a company spokesperson.
Khan or Aishwarya Rai is sure to
influence the purchase decision Eventually, the celebrity’s
slow us down. Then again, we directly? Or, in other words, is the appearance becomes closely
might find the exasperating ad- star, as a salesman, effective? associated with the brand or
lines or jingles buzzing in our A celebrity may be seen as a company. For example, Shah Rukh
head all through the day. Celebrity testament, an endorsement, or as Khan is the spokesperson for Tag
endorsements ensure that the a company spokesperson. Heuer watches.
product lingers in the memory However, these days, almost all
Testimonials: If the celebrity
long after the advertisement has brands are resorting to celebrity-
has personally used the product or
been seen and phrases like endorsed campaigns, often with
service and is in a position to attest
‘Sharukh Mayur Khan’, and ‘Dil the result that one celebrity, owing
to its quality, he or she may give a
Maange More’ are often discussed to his star status in the industry,
testimonial citing its benefits.
in informal circles. Such is the endorses numerous brands at the
Aishwarya Rai testifies to having
power of celebrities that they are same time. To cite instances,
used L’Oreal Hair colour and
increasingly finding their way Amitabh Bachchan endorses more
vouches for its benefits. Or in the
into the politics of the country. than a dozen products from Parker
case of the ads released by
pens, ICICI homeloans, Cadbury
Cadbury’s following the worm
Chocolates, Dabur to Navratna Oil.
infestation incident, Amitabh
elebrities, Sharukh Khan features in ads for
Bachchan was asked to visit the
particularly movie Santro, Bagpiper, Airtel, Pepsi and
factory premises, inspect the
stars, TV many others. Isn’t looking at the
conditions of production and then
personalities, and number of ads in which a single
testify in favour of the chocolates.
sports heroes, celebrity features deceptive? Can
Endorsement: Celebrities are
provide a popular type of reference we actually associate the brand
often asked to lend their names to
group appeal to their loyal with him? Doesn’t it lead to
products or services of which they
followers among the general overexposure of the celebrity?
may or may not be experts. For
public. They represent an Also, does it dilute the impact of
example, Naseeruddin Shah
idealisation of life that most people the celebrity and lead to confusion
endorses Sunola Oil and the ad
would love to live, especially in about the brands amongst the
features him extolling the health
India where people are crazy about consumers? For example, although
benefits of using sunflower oil.
movies and cricket. Celebrities Amitabh Bachchan is the brand
Although he may not be a
provide an attraction by breaking ambassador for Nerolac Paints, a
nutritionist, the fact remains that
through the clutter and thus recent survey revealed that people
being a public figure, he lends
provide an appeal among the actually associated him with Asian
credibility to the brand.
masses. If these were the reasons Paints. In this case, celebrity
Spokesperson: A celebrity
then why did Maruti Versa fail endorsement proved to be
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counterproductive for Nerolac. Ajay Jadeja had to be pulled out of first and then the celebrity?
Should there then be a cap on the all ads after the match-fixing Another point to consider is
number of advertisements done by scandal. Mike Tyson was dropped whether the celebrity is responsible
celebrities, or should the celebrity by Diet Pepsi after the heavyweight enough to actually examine the
pledge his loyalty to the brand for champ’s much publicised marital product thoroughly before lending
life? problems. Salman Khan’s ads were his name to it. Many a time, the
Mega brands don’t always stopped after he was caught in the monetary factor is the only
depend on celebrities to hard sell deer hunting case. consideration, and a dubious
for them. Coke has a policy of not With celebrity endorsements and product endorsed by a celebrity
getting its products endorsed testmonials having become so may end up doing harm. A case in
through celebrities throughout the lucrative that a special branch of the point would be the erstwhile high
world. But in India they joined the publicity sub-industry has evolved profile ads for Home Trade,
bandwagon. Is it imperative for the to manage them, what is the risk- featuring Sachin Tendulkar, Hrithik
company to use celebrities? to- return ratio that an ideal Roshan and Shahrukh Khan. They
Consider companies like Hero marketer should be ready to take? were reportedly paid astronomical
Honda that have recently switched Many believe that it is the amounts for their endorsement. A
to the concept of celebrity instrument of foolish marketers. lot of people were misled by the
advertising. Is the switch justified They stand by the fact that the stars initial publicity the company
considering the sale it already mislead consumers instead of received, thanks to the star studded
generates in the auto industry? guiding them and, they themselves campaigns. When the company
Advertisers spend enormous might switch leaving the crashed, one was left wondering if
sums of money to have celebrities consumers perplexed.E.g Aamir the celebrities promoting the
promote their products, with the Khan and Aiswarya Rai earlier product were motivated merely by
expectation that the reading or endorsed Pepsi but are now seen the moolah and never questioned
viewing audience will react in Coke ads.These products are the product’s credibility.
positively to the celebrity’s direct competitors in the Indian Often celebrity endorsements for
association with their product. market. Does this then have a certain products such as alcohol
However, recently there have also negative impact on the consumers? and cigarettes lead impressionable
been instances, where brands have Amitabh Bachchan, the most minds to see it as an approval.
had to pay a heavy price for the dignified personality of Indian Bagpiper ads featuring Sharukh
fallibility of their ambassadors. cinema is seen endorsing products Khan, Akshay Kumar, Dharmendra
Hansie Cronje, Azharuddin, and like Navratna Oil, and Sachin and Baba Zarda with Govinda and
Tendulkar endorses Today’s Pens. Amjad Khan are some of the
Is there a mismatch between the examples. Not all personalities,
personlity and the product? Sachin however, are lured by the big bucks.
Tendulkar endorsing Boost is Badminton champ P. Gopinath
acceptable, but his endorsing refused to endorse colas as he felt
Today’s pen is confusing. Similarly, that they were harmful to kids and
Navratna Oil is not seen as a high he wouldn’t consume it himself.
end product, and hence does not This only sets the tone for some
match the stature of Amitabh principled thinking by both
Bachchan. Is it true that the Indian corporate houses as well as their
advertiser first selects the celebrity brand ambassadors.
and then decides on the product,
The author is a Marketing
thus creating a blunder? Does this
reveal an increasing bankruptcy in Manager in a leading
the creative circles of the pharmaceutical company in
advertising world? Should there be
more focus on deciding the product