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Role of Celebrity Endorsements in Advertising

 

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STAR WARS: The Battle of the Brands

 

The moment we switch on our television channels we see the stars/celebrities not in movies or serials but in advertisement of particular brands to promote them. As it has been observed that the presence of a celebrity helps in selling there products and firms invest huge amounts for hiring the right celebrity. Firms invest lots of money in associating their brands with qualities such as attractiveness, likeability and trustworthiness.

The important issue is to match the values or characteristics of the celebrity with values of the brand. Consumers use these products or purchase them because they have been endorsed by a celebrity or well-known personality. On the other hand too much popularity of the celebrity sometimes over shadows the brand. If the celebrity is involved in more advertisement it tends to create confusion amongst the consumers and hence it may create a negative effect in the perception of advertisement and the brand.

Celebrities are involved in advertising since the late 19th century one of the first sports endorsements in India was of cricketer turned model Farokh for Brycleen. Then there was a spurt of advertisements with celebrities like Tabassum (prestige cooker), Jalal Agha (Pan Parag), et al. From television to film personalities using cricketers to endorse products was a natural progression. Celebrity endorsements give a brand a touch of glamour and the hope that the famous face will provide the added appeal and attract the crowds. It also depends upon the type of product being advertised like if it is a functional brand than product itself is a hero e.g. Mobiles and in case of image brands like soaps, soft drinks it is difficult to distinguish between the brands at an emotional level.

   

One of the companies having maximum number of celebrities endorsing their brands is Pepsi Soft Drinks Company. Pepsi has a vast number of celebrities from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan. There have been cases where sales figures change dramatically after celebrity endorsements for e.g. According to Rahul Malhotra associate Director Marketing P&G India, “Certainly it has helped us promote our brand ‘Head and Shoulders’.

Last year, we were ranked no. 2 and this year we are market leaders in the segment with over 45 percent market share.” Advertisements of the soap imply that the stars owe their stunning looks to the brand.

At times celebrity endorsements ensures the attention of a target group and make the brand more noticeable. Even consumers think that if a celebrity is using or getting benefits from that particular brand so they will also get the same. But all this varies from person to person according to age, sex, socio-economic status and other classifications. Certain socio-economic class may not be attracted by personalities or celebrities who are not so famous or well known or who do not have universal appeal.

Like every coin have two sides same way the celebrities can even have negative impact on consumers. If the celebrity represents the values that conflicts with values of brand the advertising would create conflict in the minds of target audience. Even when there is anything negative regarding the celebrity in the news, then the brand is bound to be affected.

Multiple product endorsement also has a negative impact on customers

for eg. Amitabh Bachchan endorses multiple brands like Pepsi, ICICI, Nerolac, etc. It has not worked some cases while in some it has not D. K. Jain chairman and president, Luxour writing instruments pvt ltd. The marketer of the parker brand said, “Using Amitabh Bachchan as our brand ambassador had helped in strengthening our brand image and recall with target audience. In case of Nerolac Paints around 80 percent of the respondents when asked to associate Bachchan with any paint, did so with Asian Paints, which is biggest competitors of Nerolac.

The debate about celebrity endorsement will go on as long as the companies’ pay them heavy bills and consumers continue to be attracted by the star! The party is likely to go on!!!

Contributing Author:  Viki Shah Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism viki_j_shah@yahoo.com

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