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Do celebrities really help a brand?

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The straight answer would be –  yes they will. Otherwise companies will not spend that much amount on the stars day in and day out. Bollywood and cricket the 2 biggest things in India occupy most of the ad slots. The rest is filled by the models and some theme based ads.

FMCG firm Henkel has signed up Sonali Bendre as it brand advertisement. Sonali will soon be seen in Henkel ads. Good ZooZoo for gorgeous Sonali. To me yet another celebrity endorsement.

“We are happy to sign up Bendre as the new face for Brand Pril. We believe she epitomises the values of Pril and we are confident of the success of this relationship,” Henkel India Limited Managing Director Jayant Singh said. (Business Line)

This made me think, why would a brand spend so much money on celebrities. If we take 10 ads in a 3 hour span of a movie or an IPL match, only 1 will stand out. If we take out the Vodafone ZooZoo’s, even that will be difficult. Most of them are celebrity (bollywood or cricket) ads. Most of the celebrity ads suck. The one which did not suck is the Irfan Khan’s Vodafone and Hutch ads.

Some ads have a very catchy punchlines but the visual representation falls short. Good example is the sprite ad of seedhi baat no bakwas. It is not done in a straight forward manner – the one with Shah Rukh. It is actually working against Sprite as the Knight Riders team is not frightening the opposition but becoming the butt of jokes. Sprite should stop airing that ad.

Watching TV becomes boring these days because of the Citi moment’s of success and DLF maximum’s. It is becoming abundantly clear that we cannot get away from advertisements. So, why not make our Coca Cola moments more Zinga Lala without any bakhwas.

This is where the Vodafone ZooZoo ads come as a breather. Vodafone’s new ads are done by Oligvly & Mather (O&M) India team. The ads were shot with a budget of 3 crores in South Africa. The characters in the ads are real people (slim-built women) and not animated. If the ads were animated it would cost a bomb and would have been ready for IPL 2010.

These ads has set a new standard in Indian ad industry and are challenging the paradigm of “Sex and Shah Rukh sell in India”. Because they used to, not anymore. Compare the 3 Crore budget with what Saifeena charge?

What would you like to watch? A celebrity filled advertisement or an advertisement which tries to tell a story?
The best Indian ads I have seen so of late which do not include any celebrities :

  1. ZooZoos of Vodafone. My vocabulary is a little weak so I will just say this. They are incredible.
  2. Airtel ad with the kid and mother where the kid is grounded and makes phone call to his father with a toy phone.
  3. Crabtree— A switch is a switch. Though this ad includes on of the relatively well known face it still is based on a story.
  4. Havells – Wires that don’t catch fire.
  5. Fevicol ad with a toddler and a mother where the toddler is made to sit on a big fevicol bottle to restrain.

Should India Inc move away from celebrities? Do the brands really need celebrities?

PS : Brand Saifeena (Sail Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor) is copied from the famous Hollywood couples of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – Brangelina and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez of Bennifer. Even a copied brand costs 6 crores.

  1. Anil Mali says

    A good storied advertisement can easily attract costumers to watch their advertisements. So, why should an advertising agencies spending lot of money on selecting celebrities with huge cost? If they concentrate on the creative story building advertisements then it will be more beneficial and more effective for them.

  2. Sajeev Gopal says

    Hey Guys

    Celebrities work or not can be debated forever…and ever !!

    Shebeeb : what you said about the village people getting influenced is very right,and guess wat we have around 70% of India there.
    I spoke to some of the village people in a village about the zoozoo during the IPL and sad part is that they dont associate with it,their reaction was “they show something and then laugh !! and vodafone logo comes ” rather lets say the involvement was very low.

    and celebrity Ads are here to stay..I dont know why ? but just look at the trend…earlier we had the cola war with celebs…and now its the telecomn war with Vodafone being exception…BSNL(public companies also take celebrity).Airtel,Aircel,Idea and Latest to join Reliance GSM

    cheers

  3. shebeeb says

    Why need celebrities. Celebrities are waste. I think no wise professional or businessman will buy product by seeing the face of a celebrity. A best example is BSNL’s deepika padukone ad. Why dont they use some ZooZoos instead of wasting crores in celebrity.

    But i Agree one thing that the undeveloped or village people will greatly influenced by celebrities.

  4. Arun Prabhudesai says

    Aha.. Sriram, you have really made a very good point here. You know, most of my favorite ads have no celebrities at all – A few to name from yesteryears – Fevicol – Tutega Nahi Ads, Airtel Ads, no the recent but previous one – one man can change a nation (or something like that) and few others.
    I think it is all about creativity – and Ad agency plays an extremely important role.

  5. InTrends_ (InTrends) says

    Reading: ?Do celebrities really help a brand?? http://bit.ly/13Hbdm #india # brand #business

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