Impact of Celebrity Endorsement on Overall Brand

CoolAvenues Newswire | July 06,2014 10:19 pm IST

Executive Summary:-
Advertisers and marketers have long relied on celebrities for promotions. This paper looks at the following issues: Is it smart to use celebrity endorsements for branding? Are they worth it? At the end of the day, do any stakeholders in a company (employees, contractors, customers, shareholders, communities the company supports with jobs) benefit from a celebrity endorsement?

Does anyone buy a product because a Bollywood or TV actor/actress stands up and reads a script in somewhat convincing manner? Are their distinctions in how consumers perceive these types of endorsements and respond to them?

What happens when a celebrity endorser gets involved in a public scandal, or worse, dies? Will the product lose consumer support or perish?

The most important thing to remember is that putting a celebrity in an ad is not an idea in itself.

Unfortunately, this is how most celebrities are being used in Indian advertising, where they just become a prop. Ideally, there should be an idea that makes the celebrity relevant to the product and the consumer. A celebrity's presence in the ad should be contextual.

Celebrity endorsement cannot guarantee fool-proof success. The celebrity endorsement strategy must be integrated with target market characteristics, and the other elements of the marketing mix such as product design, branding, packaging, and pricing. The message execution that will be mouthed by the celebrity must likewise be made clear and single-minded. You can do this cleverly by aligning the spirit of the brand to the product, or by using a celebrity because it ensures that people will notice you, and hopefully remember what the brand is saying. Smart associations are ones where the former happens.

Celebrity Endorsements
Celebrities are people who enjoy public recognition of a large group of people. Celebrities may convey a broad range of meanings, involving demographic categories (e.g., age, gender and status), personality and lifestyle types. For instance, people adore Sachin Tendulkar because he represents a middle-class Maharashtrian boy who made it big with sheer hard work. Likewise, Amitabh Bachhan for most is an icon of style, trust and dependability.

A central goal of advertising is the persuasion of customers, i.e., the active attempt to change or modify consumer's attitude towards brands. In this respect, the credibility of an advertisement plays an important role in convincing the target audience of the attractiveness of the company's brand. Pursuing a celebrity endorsement strategy enables advertisers to project a credible image in terms of expertise, persuasiveness, trustworthiness, and objectiveness. Marketers have been leveraging celebrity appeal for a long time. Across categories, whether in products or services, more and more brands are banking on the mass appeal of celebrities. As soon as a new face ascends the popularity charts, advertisers queue up to have it splashed all over. The success of such celebrity endorsements even encouraged political parties to 'hire' celebs for rallies for gathering crowds in the last general elections.

So What's the Big Deal?
Star endorsement deals are big in every way. They are big on expenses and can have huge implications on the brand's fortunes. Celebrities have an enormous potential to shape the destinies of the brands they endorse, albeit sometimes negatively. Therefore, marketers who use celebrities must do so prudently, thinking through the concept of such endorsements carefully before adapting it into the message strategy.

Advertising experts concur that you must consider a celebrity endorsement if, and only if, the message strategy warrants it, not as a cover for a poor idea or bad product quality. And last but not the least, one should seriously consider the risks of associating with a well-known personality, and hedge against a future scandal by not relying on just one celebrity and instead linking the brand's association with a broad theme represented by several celebrities. And if you can't afford many celebrities, then get your thinking caps on, and come up with a better, safer idea. That will ensure that you're in control of the brand's destiny - not the stars!

Facts Over the Years
Approximately 60-70% of all television commercials feature famous people.
Aishwarya Rai had once endorsed 'Fuji-Film' camera rolls. The company made an agreement with her to endorse their camera rolls. But, Aishwarya's magic did not work there and they had to terminate the contract.
Amitabh Bachhan (AB) was seen endorsing Maruti's Versa Car. The AB factor worked wonders as far as generating curiosity was concerned but the actual product couldn't meet the expectations of people, and hence, the endorsement strategy didn't work. He has been used very effectively by Parker Pens, ICICI Bank and Cadbury's to name a few.
Bata's sales doubled soon after they adopted Rani Mukherjee as their brand ambassador.
Magic Johnson lost his endorsement deals when he announced in 1991 that he's HIV-positive. It wasn't until July 2003 that he landed his first endorsement deal since the announcement.
Ticket sales at Wimbledon are known to have shot up significantly for all matches featuring the latest 'sex-symbol' on the circuit - Anna Kournikova. An average player who is yet to win even a single tennis tournament, Anna is known to have earned far more from endorsements than her tennis career could ever have given her.

The Argument for Celebrity Endorsements
The need for brands to use luminaries in advertising is most felt when the concerned brand has very close substitutes available; when there is a need to create a unique and clear differentiation for the brand, and when the brand has to make an impact at its introductory stage.

Marketing people use celebrity endorsements for very good reasons. Research has indicated that target prospects are more likely to choose goods and services endorsed by celebrities than those without such endorsements. Celebrities facilitate instant awareness and immediate attention. In this era of sound bites, channel surfing, visual orientation and quick newspaper scanning, there is great demand for people's time and focus.


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