Consumer Discretionary

Use Of Celebrities

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<p style="text-align: justify;">As a marketer, I am always appreciative of Celebrities because they are individuals who have successfully reinvented themselves as Brands.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">A Brand ladder can represent them much like conventional brands, so they have attributes and functional and emotional identifiers. And hence everything that we hold true of a brand holds true for Celebrities.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Celebrities as Functional Identifiers of Brands</span>&nbsp;</h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">For example, Shah Rukh has a certain swagger and a favorite pose and associates with a romantic hero as his attributes, which ladder up to functional benefits of enjoying an emotional family drama with all the narratives that we as Indians love. He even ladders to a clear emotional identifier of an ideal embodiment of Indian middle-class values.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">While Akshay Kumar, with his presence of Khatro kay Khiladi and his bold act with Levis, represents a cool action hero. His functional identifiers ladder up to a comical action figure. And his emotional signature is often that of simplistic patriotism.</span></p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Role of Celebrities in Brand Marketing</span>&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">And hence if it's easy to decode Celebrities as Brands, it's no wonder that Brands find them very useful in seeding the right values or personalities associated with their Brands. I guess the key uses of Celebrities with Brands can be bucketed into the following broad areas:&nbsp;</span></p><ul><li style="list-style-type: none;"><ul><li style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Be Noticed! </span></li><li style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Improve Communication Efficiency </span></li><li style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Strengthen Brand Values </span></li><li style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Solve a Problem!</span></li></ul></li></ul><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><br /><strong>Be Noticed!&nbsp;</strong></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">I guess this is the simplest reason for Brands to leverage Celebrities. The advantage of such an approach is that while you may have to pay a large sum to a Brand, you can make a splash and arrive on the scene.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The advantages that brand get nut such an approach is a high talk value and buzz amongst consumers. This can be followed by curiosity, and many consumers may even investigate the brand's services. A few top examples of the same are:&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Cred</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">I guess many of us are still scratching our heads about the fuss! How can services like Cred gain so much attention from investors and marketers?&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">I am not too sure about the consumer. However, whether it was Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dikshit series, or the recent Rahul David, Cred ensured that it was noticed! In a country where few people trust and use credit cards, let alone proactively bank and use points.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Pan Bahar</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Its achievement was due to Pierce Brosnan, though I don't think Pierce Brosnan was pleased about it. This example also demonstrates PR's power to provide a multiplicative effect to any Celebrity linked spends.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Levi</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Of course, Levis achieved the same impact in style when they tied up with Akshay Kumar in 2008 as a part of their 'Live Unbuttoned' campaign. They paid a king's ransom to Akshay.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">However, this was a time when Levis rarely did any marketing at a country level and only global campaigns. The youth of the country noticed them, especially after the act of Twinkle unbuttoning Akshay's jeans. &nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Improve Communication Efficiency</span></strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">I guess this is one of the most common reasons for leveraging a Celebrity. When a Brand has very limited money, they fear their communication will get lost in the media clutter, or they worry that they won't be able to outshout their key competition.</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">In this case, the use of a Celebrity would ensure creative cut through. This is the communication ability to be noticed or recalled by the Brands target group.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The key question that a Brand manager needs to evaluate here is whether the Celebrity cost justifies the equivalent reduction in media expenditure it would lead to.&nbsp;<br /></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Brands that use Celebrities for this purpose are:&nbsp;</span></p><p>Harpic&nbsp;<br />Now, insecticides are not the glamorous category and would have limited spending for their outlay. Even in such a category, Harpic is perhaps a stronger brand than others, and roping in Akshay Kumar would help their case. He would cost them reasonable media weight at a daily cost of a couple of Crores but make it up in the cut-through he would bring.&nbsp;</p><p>Balaji Wafers<br />Not the most aspirational brand in the category, but when you have a solid promise in terms of much higher grammage of the product, perhaps you only need to ensure that the limited spending that you deploy on media works hard. Guess that's where the logic of using Ayushman Khurana comes in.&nbsp;</p><p>Lux Cozy<br />Scent wali vest hain sub se best! Now that's a product and advertising that is crafted to ensure boredom. Varun Dhawan does a good job or brings some traction in the likely least attractive category to most of us. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Strengthen Brand Values</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">This is perhaps one of the only reasons why I would personally advocate using a Celebrity. This is one of the few reasons that it is not tactical but genuinely strategic. Celebrities represent values, and if you have a Brand that truly belongs to the same archetype as a celebrity, the mix ends up benefiting both the brand and the Celebrity.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The top examples of a Brand that has struck gold through their associations are:</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Lux<br />The brand has crafted its Brand proposition on the power of celebrities as 'Filmi sitaro ki pasad,' and hence it was no surprise when the brand tied up with Deepika Padukone, the most successful Bollywood actress of our time.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Thumbs Up<br />The Salman Khan, Thumbs up combination for me is still my personal favorite of the power of finding the sweet spot between the correlation between a Brand and a Celebrity's personality.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Mountain Dew<br />It is an iconic but niche brand with a distinctive personality. Its partnership with Hrithik Roshan makes for a compelling fit. It's no wonder the brand has rarely struggled to find the right endorser.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Too Yumm<br />And finally, I feel Too Yumm did a great job roping in Virat Kohli for an ideal fit for their healthy snacking proposition.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Solve a Problem!&nbsp;</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">However, sometimes tying up with a Celebrity is not just a choice but even a requirement. It comes in handy when a Brand faces a public relations backlash, and there is an urgent need to provide reassurance and re-establish trust with their consumers.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Cadbury</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The biggest example of such a campaign for me is Amitabh Bachchan 2003-04, where Cadbury faced a massive credibility challenge due to the worm infestation issue.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">After seeing a huge loss of face with its consumers and business collapsing, the brand made all the right moves by tying up with Amitabh to launch its "Purity Sealed" pack. Amitabh brought back massive credibility for the brand and helped them tie over what was perhaps the largest challenge the brand had ever faced in the country.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Vicco Vajradanti&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">It is perhaps that brand we are all aware of but have never used. It was the staple ad we would see in the cinema halls in the 80s &amp; 90s; hence, it can be no doubt that the brand was seen as jaded and so the last generation. They have attempted a rejuvenation through their tie-up with Alia Bhatt.&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Ground Rules for Being Assets for Brands</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Guess as we have gone through several examples, there are a few ground rules that Celebrities must follow to be strong assets for Brands:</span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Consistency</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Consistency is key to being of real value to Brands. Whether you are an A-lister from Bollywood or an Instagram influencer, the key asset that Brands look for is consistency. So, you represent a set of values that the brand can leverage.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Differentiation</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Choose your niche carefully. There are a thousand influencers that appear to mirror replicas of each other, and hence for a Brand to indeed find value in a Celebrity, the clear niche they own is critical in building a meaningful connection.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Exclusivity</p><p style="text-align: justify;">This goes against what a Celebrity would want. A celebrity would wish to get as many endorsements as possible, not just as a source of earnings but as a way of extending fame. However, what Brands genuinely seek is a celebrity that is not already over-exposed so that the connection gets attributed to the brand.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Hence, tying up with an Endorser is always a crucial decision to be made carefully and with diligence. Undoubtedly, the proper collaboration can provide tremendous gains for the Brands and the Celebrity, but not using the Celebrity well can cause wastage of money that could have been better deployed elsewhere.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/saurabhbajaj/">Saurabh Bajaj</a></em></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Saurabh Bajaj&nbsp;</span></h3><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. How do celebrities impact brands?</span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Celebrities can increase the awareness, trust and visibility of the brand among the target customers.</span></p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What are the advantages of using celebrities in advertising?</span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">They help to differentiate the brands from the competitors. They can influence the number of purchases increasing the credibility of the brand and having loyal customers.</span></p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. How do celebrities influence consumers?</span></h2><p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">It has been noticed that celebrity endorsements do imapact customer behaviour as they attract more attention from the customers.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Saurabh Bajaj