Are brand ambassadors worth it?

Brand ambassadors from a customer's perspective don't influence buying decisions.
Are brand ambassadors worth it

Brands spend a bomb to get a brand ambassador on board. The move is usually initiated to connect with the target audience and move higher on the profit ladder. But do customers actually feel a connect with them? Or is it just a fad?

When a brand hires a brand ambassador they need to go through a long cumbersome process. If the brand doesn’t get the anticipated response, then the whole exercise becomes a sham. However, this is somewhat how reality actually is. In a survey, we carried out amongst young customers; we found that 70 per cent of the people don’t identify with any brand ambassador and that none of them would make a purchase only on the basis of a liking for a celebrity. Isn’t driving sales and attracting the consumer’s eye the purpose of hiring a brand ambassador in the first place?

Efficacy for brand ambassadors

While 70 per cent people prefer brand ambassadors to be actors and actresses, a mere 15 per cent preference was given to sports personalities.  Women are the centre of attraction when we talk of brand ambassadors with them grabbing 75 of preferential share and a 25 per cent for male celebs.

However, identification for purchases was about 95 per cent with the brand rather than the brand ambassador. It often happens that one has a bad experience with a brand and may deter them from shopping at that store again. Can brand ambassadors work towards influencing and bringing them back to the store? The answer is seldom a yes. Sixty-five per cent people would not make a repeat purchase after a bad experience with a brand even if they adore the brand ambassador. Even if brands carry out exercises that would give them a chance to meet and greet with stars, it will not inversely bring in any sales. It will only engage a customer, but not drive purchases.  

Brand connect

There have to be some loose ends when we talk of on ground reality of how well brand ambassadors connect with a brand. Retailers send out the message of their brand and the products’ essence through advertisements which feature their brand ambassadors. While some get a greater response through the print medium, others go the audio-visual way. Eighty-four per cent people agreed they get brand awareness through brand ambassadors. So, hiring of a brand ambassador does solve some purpose for a customer.

Havells has just hired Rajesh Khanna as a brand ambassador and with the TVC being aired, people are not excited about the ad. Rajesh Khanna looks pale, the youth will not connect with it and background in the ad are also dim and dull. The concept and ideation are being lost somewhere. In such a case, it may not elicit the correct response.

Just hiring a celeb doesn’t end the game, to play the right move with them is what works. Canon have recently hired Anoushka Sharma as a brand ambassador to create a connect with the youth which drive 80 per cent of their camera business. Post hiring they have created an engaging, youthful and peppy TVC which is being much appreciated.

Ambassadors vs non-celebs

Information about the products is one side of the story, understanding a brand’s quintessence is yet another. Is the message that a retailer is portraying in an advertisement through their brand ambassadors coming across as it should? Is it so that only a brand ambassador can put across the message as it’s meant to be? No is what I would have to say. Advertisements featuring the common man or non actors are making rounds amongst consumers today. Taking a comparison of Slice and Mazaa, both mango drinks with one featuring superstar, Katrina Kaif and the other featuring not known faces have extensive difference in response from customers. While Katrina’s ad is rated as vague and depicting the wrong message, Mazaa’s ad positioning it as a ‘Har mausam aam’ drink comes across in a fantastic and humorous way.


10 best ads featuring the ‘Common man’






Surf Excel


Ceat Tyres



(On the basis of a consumer survey)


The question to ponder over is, if a brand can elicit an equivalent or a better recognition without featuring celebs, will they be willing to shell out big bucks or will they go against it? Will brand ambassadors become passé and commercials which are more relevant featuring the common man, be the way forward?

5 best Ads featuring Brand Ambassadors

Nescafe- Deepika Padhukone, Karan Johar & Vir Das

Tanishq- Amitabh & Jaya Bachan

Tata Docomo- Ranbir Kapoor

Reliance- Anushka Sharma & Rannvijay Singh

Pepsi- Ranbir Kapoor

5 worst ads featuring Brand Ambassadors

Navratna Talc- Shahrukh Khan

Dollar Innerwear- Akshay Kumar

Fair & Handsome- Shahrukh Khan

Samsung Refrigerators- Priyanka Chopra

Mirinda- Asin


Consumer Insights

  • 70% don’t identify with Brand Ambassadors
  • None of them would make a purchase because of a Brand Ambassador
  • 84% agree they get brand awareness through Brand Ambassadors
  • 75% identify with female celebs and 25% with male celebs as Brand Ambassadors
  • Over 95% identify more with the brand than the celeb
  • 70 % people prefer Brand Ambassadors to be actors, 15% for sports personalities
  • 65% would not make a repeat purchase after a bad experience with a brand even if they like the brand ambassador

(On the basis of a consumer survey)



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