Monday, January 16, 2006

Hire the star..Rent a bath tub..

Michael Jackson is walking out from the operating room after his wife gave birth to their son.

Michael says "Hey Doc how long till we can have sex?"

The Doctor says "At least wait till he is walking Michael!!"


My apologies if it did offend any one any way, but today let me talk about celebrities and their influences in advertising- good and bad. No doubt ,this has been the most discussed topic in advertising, and yet it leaves more room for discussion. Remember ,the three celebrity M's of pepsi and the harm they did- Mike Tyson, Madonna and of course Micheal Jackson. Remember Britney spears..Inside home... remember Ajay Jadeja and Mohd Azharudin...

The negative impact transferred to the brand by an erring celebrity ,who endorses the brand would be immense and yet celebrities galore.


The answer is so very obvious.

Endorsements are the easiest route to breaking clutter in brand communication , and among the four main type of endorsers(Celebrity,Common man,CEO,Expert) celebrity is the easiest.Hire a star, prepare a story around him or her, however unrealistic it may look and sound like, and impose it on "caught unawares "audience.

I have no alternatives for celebrity endorsements, i should admit.From my conviction that i hold as an active member of the target audience group as you call it, if not as an advertising professional, i know there is a, there should be a, better way of using celebrities.

For example-Amitabh Batchan endorses/d Nerolac, Reid and Taylor,ICICI,Versa ,Dabur and what not..Now if i have to associate the star with one brand(that is what the advertiser wants the TG to do....right?) which one would i do? Sachin appears for manythings regardless of his knee and neck injuries, whether he finds time to play or not, that is .With which brand should i link him and remember the brand ,so that next time i need one in that category i will buy the Sachin's brand?

Clearly, this dumping of brands over the celebrity shoulders is not fair- to the celebrity, to the audience and certainly not to the advertiser(the client).. but having seen advertising from within, I cannot pass all the brickbats to the agencies. Of course lack of fresh ideas make dumb agencies, and even smart agencies in dumb situations choose the celebrity route.The justifications are many- they differentiate(remember Kapil dev and 'palmolive da jawab nahin') ,they break clutter(Amir did it with the Thanda mathlab) ,they make even commodities look smart(Sreedevi's dance inside the Cema Bulbs made the bulb famous),they stand for the brand's personality(AB and dabur in its new form of the 'traditional yet modern old man'). But all these logic not withstanding, the clients also become reasons for bad usage of celebrities in advertising.For instance when competition heats up, when "A" soap ropes in "X " star, the agency handling "B" soap account will be subjected to immense pressure to retaliate with 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth' policy. Worst , some clients(the men at the clients side) in their towering vanity love to rub shoulders with the stars and glitteratti, and simply that becomes a logic why a star would endorse a product.

As a good friend remarked, the case is very obvious in the 'Bank Of Baroda 'ads.. so much of ado about nothing.. what is Rahul Dravid doing there? Does he make any difference? Does he connect? History has proven that celebrity appearing and ga ga uing about the brand may not make any impact at all ..Tamarind and the brauhaha may be remembered at this instance, and Brands like colorplus which stood the test of times, braving competetors and resisting the Khans of the world should be given a 'bravo'.

Think SRK in the bath tub . Poor thing, to be decent and to say the least

And in any case i have some common sense left in me. I would not buy a refrigerator simply because Tabu tells me that there is some magic ..whatever in it, nor would i buy a car because i wont be gullibile enough to swallow a claim that Sachin makes when he says he drives a Palio.

I would change from Airtel to Hutch ,at the earliest possible chance simply because the way they connect with me is amazing.

I would, but , make every attempt to dissuade my adrent Lux fan ,from buying the "in between" brand and look funny...

How much would have O&M paid the dog and the boy?

And one last time ....How much would have JWT paid SRK and the geriatric battalion that surrounded him around the bath tub?


blah_blah_blogger said...

I think that only a miniscule percentage of the actual choice of celebs actually happens from the agency side...more often than not, it's the client who decides who will endorse his product...and predictably, such campaigns come a cropper...barring exceptions like the Irrfan Khan campaign for Hutch...seems like O&M has put some thought behind the move...

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