Tuesday, January 18, 2011


 When Amitabh in his baritone says, ‘Navratan tel, thanda thanda tel, do I believe him? Big B, honestly, hand on your heart, do you apply ‘Navratan’ tel? Likewise I doubt that the  secret of Bip's raven locks is ‘Pantene’- it has more to do with her Bengali genes. Truly, who believes that Katrina applies ‘Veet’ for the satin smooth skin? Sounds ridiculous.

Undoubtedly, celebrity advertising can create a recall value. I first came to know about the Samsung tablet, thanks to Karan's rapid fire round in Kofee with Karan . Similarly, beefcake in bubble bath with babes has a  sensual recall factor. Does it convert into sales for Lux soaps? I am not sure.

“It’s easy to sell to men, says a veteran advertising consultant. Use this product and you will score over hot women models. Or use this product and you will save time and money to spend on hot women models. For women, it’s even easier; use this product and you will be the hot model."

Yes, its oversimplification. But what’s true is that there are five basic obstacles for every sale - no need, no money, no hurry, no desire and no trust. Celebrities bring in the trust factor. Or so the advertisers think.

Ranbir is the current 'Youngistan ka Wow'. Do girls buy colas because of him? Will people drink a particular cola because Dhoni endorses it? Is Akshay's  death defying, ‘Taste the thunder’  effective when it comes to selling? 

But the fact that one zhatka from Munni did more than any amount of advertising could do for the balm, clearly proves that celebrity advertising works at some level. As Munni pouts suggestively, why do men end up buying Zhandu balm for their aches? When Munni’s bottle green lehnga, as green as the balm swirls with her hands moving in circles, the colloquially stupid ‘Zhandu’ becomes a buzz word.

Some brands gel well with the star personality and the tag line. When Sachin endorses Ujjala Bright for a spotless performance, it rings a bell. Or when Juhi chirpily urges me to buy ‘Kurkure’ and ‘Catch’ chat masala, I do realize that there is a chatpata connection. Also there is some synergy when Abby struggles to get some idea. Get idea?

At some level, it is easy to hook up by challenging a woman's self-esteem. I have to buy L’Oreal because I am worth it. 

 Or, it’s just not a phone, it’s who you are! Yes, I have the power! The pride awakening works at a sub-conscious level. But I will not buy a product simply because it is ‘India ki shaan’, ‘Desh ki dadhkan’, ‘Desh ka namak’ and the works. Often word of mouth praise sells products more than celebrity advertising.

Finally I come back to the sale obstacles. No Need?  Desire can be created by smart advertising. 

No hurry? Advertisements can sweet-talk  – Hurry last 2 days of sale. Prices soon to be revised soon, works sometimes.

No trust? For cynicism prevailing in a nation semi-blind with sleaze, it is not easy to sell trust. This is where Amitabh's almost unblemished reputation comes in handy.

No money? Loans from HDFC?

No desire? I give up.

Just jockeying.
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  1. If Amir Khan, in person, offered me a cola, would I deny it even though the visual of the toilet cleaner whirls inside my head,
    well, lets kill the germs that might have accidentally hooked on to me.
    ONLY IF, he offers it in person.

    No offenses and none taken either.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  2. Celebrity ads never impresses me. But I love watching hte ads of aamir khan. Cola, samsung and even the tourists one. Only due to the acting

  3. Nowadays, I guess a celebrity don't help in selling a product. That's the reason why BigB has been replaced by two minors in Cadbury.

  4. LOL. There actually are ppl who go buy like every month, no correction every week bz some damn sale is going on! How foolish.

  5. Yes, I too was thinking if the ads done by celebrity for briefs and vests, do they really wear briefs? Yawn. They just increase their stakes with every ad they do.

  6. I totally agree with u on this one. I feel celebrities endorsing a brand just adds a zing to it thats about it!

  7. @Blasphemous Aesthete...Maybe in his next promotion strategy for Dhobi Ghat Aamir will land with colas at your door step...:)

    @Harish...They do have a recall value and visual appeal.

    @Rachit...Celebrity advertising requires moolah too..

  8. @Cinderella....Glad you enjoyed it.

    @Prateek..Yeh andar ki baat hai!

    @Ria... Its easy money for celebrities. Appreciate your time Ria.

  9. I know its mad but somehow celebrity advertisements work for me... :)

  10. The fact that you have 'recalled' some of the advertisements form the plethora that are put out, itself means that the advertisers deed is done. As long as the 'Brand' stays in the subconcious mind, the job is done. If I have to buy an oil from the market...the first thing that comes to my mind is 'Thanda Thanda Cool Cool' and if I see it on the shopkeepers shelf I pick it up without much thought. Advertising does turn into 'Sales'...Celebrity endorsements maybe even more...:-)

  11. Kudos to you for the way the 'Blog' has been written. Really enjoy reading your write ups.

  12. Whoa Alka loving this new wicked streak in you.
    And of course who are these guys kidding - do we actually believe Katrina uses Lux and Shilpa Oil of Olay.

    Get real guys.

    For me the best ad ever was the Happydent one. Celebrities don't sell products, ideas do.

  13. Very well written, and please do not apologize, almost everybody out there not connected to the media world thinks the same (incld me although i am connected to it in some ways heheh)

    I think the advertising world is so inundated with celebrities, it almost doesn't have any effect whatsoever. Especially when you have an aged amitabh bachan selling some foot cream. Like, seriously!?

    My recent fav celebrity-less ad, the new one from McDonalds with the two kids. Simple, humorous, uncomplicated and leaves a mark.

  14. I guess its a trend now , i dont think it impresses me much if a celebrity endorses a product , it might have a few years ago, but now its become stupid with celbrities endorsing so many products they hardly know what they are endorsing...

    but the ads that they make they are good i must say that standard of ADS have really gone up and some are quiet good better then the movies or programs they come before ...

    some ads tell a story too.. :)


  15. it's just the recall value of the product i guess alka...
    the ad lingers long enough in the mind and the makers hope...so would the product...
    i mean i laugh n shake my head in disdain when i see the Axe deo ad and how thousands of women are throwing themselves on one guy becoz he used a particular deo...omg!

    ads really are losing the sense of delight as they used to bring on earlier...cheap amusement is more the name of the game:/

    but i do like my coke/pepsi after a heavy meal...it kinda flushes everything down...oops...does that remind me of something now;-)
    great fun post again...love reading u:-)

  16. @Atulsush...I forced it down your throat didnt I? Appreciate your time and comments. Thanks.

    @Tanishka...They r fun to watch...:)

  17. @Purba...Happydent..lol. Bingo!

    @Wildflower...Yup, the kids are adorable. Many readers take offense to the pun...which is intended.

    @Bikramjit...You said it!

  18. @Suruchi...Seriously the Axe effect......scorcher babes will not leave even if a bear used it.

  19. Totally agree with you. I am glad my parents made me see sense very early and I started evaluating ads critically. But sadly a lot of people actually believe the ads.

  20. You actually did the post-mortem of every possible stupid endorsing equally stupid products! Great.
    As for the impact they have, well i would say my 9 year old brother knows better than what they 'claim' in that idiot box. And ranbir... Sigh.. I ditch him everytime by buying coke instead of 'youngistan ka wow'... Hmm.. It is a kinda cleaner only, everytime i have it, i think won't have it ever again. But then, once a month i lose my memory cells..

  21. loved your take on what politicians should endorse!

  22. Some celebrities actually put you off the product if you don't fancy them. So it actually works to the contrary. For instance, I would never ever buy things endorsed by Aishwarya. Don't ask me why. :)And oh, I gave away the bottles of Zandu balm to the maid :D

  23. @Silverline.:)
    @Deepika...Same here. Memory cells do stop working after a heavy meal when I need a sip of 'Youngistan ka wow' for burping my heart out...lol

    @Magiceye...I do try to stay away from pollies but they provide so much humour that its difficult to leave them alone.

    @Zephyr...I can absolutely identify with your Ashphobia...The phobia is worth it. lol!

  24. Zephyr - perhaps it's because Ash resembles an alien who has studied human customs and is trying, but failing, to fit in?

    Alka, thanks for commenting on my Palladium Mall piece! I enjoyed this post, and love picking holes in advertising myself. I'll be bookmarking your blog!

  25. yes marketing works and many times people buy the products which they do not need .
    good post

  26. @Barns...Welcome here. It was a plesure to visit your blog. Bang on...on Aish.

  27. @Barns...

    Sorry, it was a pleasure is what I wanted to say.


    @Rajeev...Thank you.

  28. Hi Alka,
    i believe advertisement is necessary to grab eyeballs and showcase your product. However disproportionate and unethical advertising is "normally"counterproductive. I detest advertisements where kids are shown more intelligent than their parents, paddelling products of banks, insurance, mutual fund. I think even most of the adults are not able to distinguish between so many offerings. Kids are the most vulnerable section to advertising and advertisers take full advantage of it.
    But people in India and elsewhere do get influenced by all the celebrities. It is due to the fact that they would like to have that lifestyle even in fantasy.
    The best way I have found to avoid any subliminal messsage is that I add "Now give me money" at the end of every advertisment. I ain't giving you any money baby ;)

  29. @Ashwini..You have delved deeper in the topic...I was just having some fun. Yes, celebrity advertising has a great recall value...and its glossy viewing. About kids, I agree. Kids look good when they behave their age.
    Give me money sounds so true...lol.

  30. Hi Alka,

    That was indeed a serious analysis. Next time I will have more fun instead :)))

  31. Advertisements reflect social and economic state of affairs. There was a time ( I was a kid back then though I can talk about it ) when Humara Bajaj, Titan, Nirma ,Dairy Milk ( remember the Kuch khas hai commercials ? )commercials ruled the screen. They had emotional value attached to then with the good bahu doing all the cleaning and smiling with the Nirma pack. Or the Sita maiiya smiling at the shop with her paarkhi nazar. Also, there were not much options back then (only doordarshan infact) and we had fewer TVs and too much time :D

    I personally can not recall a single commercial, with a celebrity, which I would want to watch if given a choice on TV today. All the Akshay Kumars, Ritik Raushans and Shahrukh Khans seem no good as far as promoting a brand is concerned. Even AB senior hardly impresses in any of his ads. Still,for some funny reason, they keep on coming :( .

    However, today we are amazed by creativity rather than the star quotient. The Mentos and Idea ads appear good because of the concept and not because of the people who play their part in there. However, the bad thing about liking for creativity is that there is nothing 'evergreen' when you start appreciating that genre. The moment you come across something more creative, you forget the one you loved a month back.

    We have come of age, the way I see it, from appreciating stuff that ring us at some emotional level to those which are truly creative. To me, that is evolution :)

  32. Nice post. Ramdev Baba talking about shaving creams! :D All these advertisements are mainly to lure us into impulse buying because we'd buy anyway the things we need. Marketing and advertising were never before so important for a company.

  33. @sritatsat..You have said it. Agree. Sometimes the idea becomes bigger than the product...We remember the ad but forget the product...Public has a fickle memory and one needs to innovate with the times..Remember how husbands came from the office after being denied the promotion cause the shirt was not white enough? Now husband and wife both dry clothes together. Husbands are new boyfriends...Times change and so does advertising.

  34. @ajay...True. Thanks for taking time to read the post. Appreciate it.

  35. Heh... If you keep writing like this you will be hounded by advertising companies for your expert advice :-)

  36. Super read this was. I am subscribing to your blog now!!

  37. LOl..I actually come out 'light hearted after reading your posts.Facts with humor.I couldnt' control when u wrote ramdev ji compared colas to toilet cleaners!hehe

  38. @Giribala...I am flattered.

    @stnomad...Welcome to Freebird. Appreciate your time.

    @Raji....Thats an ultimate compliment. Brings a smile on my face. Thank you dear.

  39. yes. I wouldn't flatter for celebrity ads!
    I would go for word of mouth, or merely for the satisfaction of buying the product! It's quite impulsive!
    Well said Alka - even we can believe on zoozoos and Hutch pug!

  40. Celebrity ads such as that of Amitabh and Shahrukh who endorses just about anything is not to sell products but to create awareness, to keep the product in public's memory...and then there are certain celebrity ads that matches the celebrity's personality..
    Akki's 'Taste of thunder' or 'Levis' or Deepika's 'levis'..different goals for hiring different celebs..

  41. I find it a put off , to be honest , when some celeb swears by a brand on tv! So hard to believe that this brand is the "secret of my success" .... Lol

    Been a while since u stopped by my blog, do visit sometime :P