Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Celebrity Endorements Overkill

One of the most noticeable trends in Indian advertising has been the plethora of celebrity endorsements. Diverse product categories, from toiletries to telecom, hi-fi's to hotels, ready-mades to razor blades, insurance to diamonds, everyone seems to be roping in a "Brand Ambassador" to sell their products. If one takes a look at the brand ambassadors who have been contracted so far, they are either from the bollywood (our answer to Hoolwood) or cricket. This is because movies and cricket are what move this nation. While there may be different reasons for the companies to chose these brand ambassadors, the main reason is to make the brand stand out and to facilitate instant awareness. Using a celebrity is also supposed to lend instant credibility as well as aspirational values to the brand — a hope to get people to follow the Pied Piper. So, when, for example, our most celebrated cricket icon, Sachin Tendulkar endorses everything from tyres and cars to Pepsi, Visa, Adidas, Boost, stock trading portals and music systems. The question is - Can he really be all of these? Or the overkill of celebrity endorsements will finally prove to be counterproductive for the various brands using them? I believe that the Indian advertisers should use brand endorsements judiciously and only when the endorser and the category are a natural lifestyle fit, for example, sportspersons endorsing footwear or energy drinks. It will not only help us, among the audience, in relating to the advertisements since they will be all the more believable but also go a long way in establishing the brand's credibility. Any comments, people? :)