Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Celebrity Endorsements – panacea for all barricades?

 Advertisers are constantly in hunt of a striking point to hit consumers. In this quest, celebrity endorsement is not a novel idea. I can still remember TVC of Naz Pan Masala as the oldest Pakistani brand which was endorsed by Arifa Siddiqui (no doubt with a powerful recallable jingle too). Notably, last few years have seen a glut of celebrity endorsements in advertisements. But I don’t understand why it is so? Have you ever thought to switch to Jazz just because it is endorsed by Atif Aslam? Don’t you think that Akshay Kumar’s recommendation for Supreme Tea is just because he is being paid? Can you deem that Hadiqa Kiyani is ‘actually’ using Pel Refrigerator at home?

Apparently, endorsement by a celebrity seems as an absorbing way to leverage your brand from competitors. But viewing keenly the advertising scenario of 2013, fresh ads do not relying more on famed faces to promote their product. Even if they do, some loopholes can be picked in their steps. Lux has been the most prominent out of all beauty soaps. It has positioned as “soap that filmstars use” and thus continuously approbated by top female celebrities. We can now clearly feel the fraction of ad focusing on Katrina Kaif rather than Lux itself. Introducing Shahrukh Khan and associating his personality with Lux was also somewhat questionable (at-least for me).

Felicitous choice of celebrity appropriate with a product and matching its characteristics too are some prerequisites to adopt this strategy. Do not give a chance to others to carp you. For instance, it is not justifying at all when Reema endorsed a Cooking Oil, Meezan Cooking Oil (endorsed by Amir Liaquat in Ramazan) showed dancing family just after Ramadan, Pakistani Mr. Bean using HBL services, Chef Shai telling us how to make ready-to-cook Knorr soups etc. On the other hand, a sound fit between the product and the celebrity can hook customers e.g. Kurkure and Nadia Khan, Qmobile (She) and Imaan Ali, Pepsi and famous cricketers etc.

Brand managers must be vigilant while using multiple celebrities in a TVC, hiring a face that can overshadow the brand, risks associated with negative publicity of celebrities etc. In addition, cost to acquire a celebrity is considerably high and thus ultimately increases the per unit price of your brand. Spurring some successful ad campaigns, I would appreciate some brands promoting values (Pampers UNICEF campaign, P&G Taleem), bringing into play animated characters (Dura Cell, Ding Dong Bubble, Safeguard), telling stories (Olper’s, Chocolate Chip Cookies), innovating humorous ideas (Halls, Ufone) etc.

If we study human psychology especially in face of marketing, we will come to know that consumers are more skewed to relate those ads with their lives that represent people similar to them. Unknown faces with well-delivered attributes of the brand may become more helpful in keeping the brand under a consideration set at purchasing point. After all, the main intention for a company is to sell the product rather than just keeping a space in audience minds through celebrity endorsements.

“Any brand can get a celebrity. That is easy. But getting a celebrity consistent with the right brand, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way... that is not easy.”

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