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.