Of celebrities and branding

When as a marketer I want a prospective customer to pay attention to my product, there are many ways I can get his attention. Some of the ways that according to me are used by the branders (my short for “brand managers”) are :

1. use a celebrity such as Dhoni or priyanka chopra to endorse the ad.

2. use personal experience of real life customers or rather people who look like they are the real life customers and have benefitted from the use of the product. Perfect example I think would be dove.

3. use model/actors who act and behave like the prospective customer and hence try to relate to the audience.

Of course there may be more categories, and perhaps I have generalised this. But I guess almost all the advertisement would fall in one of the three categories.

Recently there was an ad that featured Madhuri Dixit. It had Madhuri dressed as a “bai” who scolds the owner for using the wrong dishwashing soap. This, from what I understand is a total waste of  a celebrity. Why use a celebrity in an acting role when the star power is such that role play would only take the attention away from the product? Would it not be better for the branders to simply use the celebrity to show the endorsement?

lets look an another recent ad. This time its Sridevi advertising a deterget supplement. Not in a act. But rather as herself.

In my opinion the Sridevi ad is a more focussed ad. Simply because it shows a celebrity endorsing a brand. When a celebritiy is made to role play in an act, there is also the added suspicion that the same is not endorsed by the celebrity, but rather has been paid to perform and that the actor is not really in effect endorsing the product.

So whats the net affect of the Madhuri Ad? Would it fare better or worse than any celebrity endorsement ad? This perhaps can only be done by an empirical study to gauge the impact of the ads. But here’s my take: an advert requires the attention of the consumer. In any commercial break, the consumer is bombarded with at the very a dozen ads every 15 minutes. In this gap what are the chances of the consumer remembering the ad? If I focus on the character that the clebrity is playing then maybe, I would not either be sure that the product is really endorsed by the celebrity – in a way if he/she has to endorse the product – just say so – why act. And secondly acting as a character would shift the focus away from the product being advertised and there will be a critique of the acting itself.

Think about it, if it was such a brilliant idea, then there has almost never been a celebrity “acting” in an advertisement, instead of simply endorsing it ?

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