Gone are the days where products were advertised with fresh faces from theatre schools or found on the busy streets. Brand endorsing refers to getting on board a celebrity who forms the face of the brand. Giving a product a 'face' is more than just a marketing strategy to increase sales or gain market share, it is a judgment that can make or break the future of the brand. A massive amount of energy and money is now invested into the already famous faces which could give a new life to a company’s image or take it to yet another higher scale of popularity.
The cult of endorsing
With the fast pacing media and advertisements, it’s more often that we acquaint ourselves with commercials as compared to a movie or a cricket match. Across the world, celebrities have been lined in for a variety of brands- small and large, new and old. India too has spread her arms open for celebrity endorsements and happens to witness immense competition. From any product or service category, be it a pair of designer shoes or trendy sunglasses; everyone seems to be jumping into the bandwagon of roping in brand ambassadors. Apparently, all the brand ambassadors are either from the film industry or sports field. Even the newest celebrity has the capacity to pull crowds and leave an impact on the target audience.
Raison d'être for signing stars
Celebrities big or small, amateurs or veterans are being signed each passing phase, for instance the female actor from the film Ghajini, Asin is fairly recent but connects with the masses instantly and has already been signed up by the Future Group for Big Bazaar. We have Kareena Kapoor endorsing Provogue, Aamir Khan endorsing Samsung mobile phones, Amitabh Bachchan endorsing practically everything under the sun, from Reid & Taylor to Nerolac Paints. However the main question of thought is as to why has it become so necessary for companies to rope in celebrities and what all does a company consider while signing a brand ambassador? According to Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, “There are three points of considerations to set, first being whether a celebrity’s endorsement is relevant for the product, second, does the celebrity have an impending career graph and how well is he/ she established and lastly once a celebrity is taken on by the company he should not be replaced soon.” It is only natural that the companies are following a trend in the arena of marketing strategies. “Appropriately using a celebrity can be a powerful tool that magnifies the effects of a campaign. A celebrity is generally used to impart credibility and aspirational values to a brand, but the celebrity needs to match the product. A good brand campaign idea and an intrinsic link between the celebrity and the message are a must-have for a successful campaign.” is what Amit Burman, Vice Chairman, Dabur India Ltd believes in.
Deal or no deal
Theoretically endorsement means endorsing some trait that matches a company’s product. Choosing a celebrity, hence, is of greatest value and is usually done based on many different parameters – public demand, appearance, fame and reputation. “Anybody can endorse anything till the time he/ she is credible enough since credibility and celebrity are like a cake and its icing,” believes Kapoor. The ambassadors tend to capture brand acceptance and provide massive energy the product requires. However, there are chances of a celebrity being mismatched with a particular product which could not only spoil his/ her image but also fails to appeal to the masses.
No surprises why retailers vie with one another to cash in on the megastar status. Even at 67, Amitabh Bachchan makes more from his endorsements as compared to other stars. Today, the stars enjoy a house hold identity and are the biggest advertising mascots and probably the most highly paid models for commercials.