Saturday, June 23, 2012

Using Celebrities Sensibly

I am not much of a supporter of using celebrities in advertisements but at times celebrities may be necessary when the ad agency runs out of creative ideas. There are two (celebrity) ad campaigns which have foxed me totally; one is a TV commercial for Ujala Supreme and the other is of Nano Clean – a range of liquid cleaners. Ujala uses Sachin Tendulkar and Nano Clean uses Amitabh Bachchan. Ujala is a well known liquid blue brand which has been in the market for many years, as far as I know the sales of this product has grown over the years. I therefore wonder why they needed celebrity endorsement now, and why Sachin Tendulkar?
In what way does he contribute to the brand? My personal feeling tells me that Sachin was a wrong choice for a product category like this; his endorsement will have no significant value. With or without Sachin the effect of the ad campaign is unlikely to be any different. It was possible that the sale graph for Ujala was not moving upwards any more, perhaps the graph took a downward turn but Sachin Tendulkar is no quick fix solution. He is today highly overused for various product categories and brands, for a liquid blue brand he simply does not fit. The manufacturers of Ujala could have thought of better use of their advertising money.   

Now coming to Nano Clean, a totally new brand in the market, the press ads use pictures of Amitabh Bachchan smartly dressed in a suit. To my mind the ads look rather odd, my first reaction was – what is Amitabh Bachchan doing here? The answer: nothing really, he is just posing for a photograph. In this case also I find there is a total mismatch between the product category and Amitabh Bachchan. Maybe he might have attracted some attention but we are so used to seeing him in so many ads any way, Nano Clean is just one more product which uses Amitabh Bachchan as a model. In both Ujala and Nano Clean the association with the respective celebrities has gone wrong, it appears that the celebrities were used because no one could think of a better idea to push the brands.  

This reminds me of two ad campaigns featuring Amitabh Bachchan and both have been successful; one is for Gujarat Tourism and the other was for Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolates. Both ad campaigns needed someone who is a very popular figure and whose word people would believe in. In 2003 Cadbury suffered a setback because worms were found in their Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolates, although the problem was localized Cadbury’s reputation did take a beating and the company needed someone to steer it out of the mess. It was decided to use Amitabh Bachchan for his mass appeal. Both campaigns were successful firstly because Amitabh Bachchan was an apt selection to achieve the communication objective; secondly, he was given a proper role to play – it was not the case of using a celebrity just for the sake of using one. In case of Ujala Sachin Tendulkar was a total mismatch and in Nano Clean press ads Amitabh Bachchan is just a prop with no role to play.

To know more about the worm incident click on the links below:   
Watch the Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolates TV commercial featuring Amitabh Bachchan below:

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