In the battle for mindshare and market share, some companies in India have gone out of their way (way, way out sometimes) and hired celebrities to endorse their brands.
While some celebrities have done a fantastic job (as actors and as endorsers), the rest have just ended up wasting a lot of money, and insulting consumer intelligence.
For your viewing pleasure and intellectual exercise, I have rated 5 of Bollywoods top male stars who are also Brand Ambassadors. Naturally, No. 1 is who I think is the best, and No. 5 is the one who needs to give it a rest!
Bollywood Male Celebrity Brand Ambassador Number 01: Aamir Khan
When it comes to Bollywood stars endorsing brands, this Khan is King by far. Whether he is endorsing the brand as Aamir Khan himself (Titan) or whether he simply plays an actor in the TVC (Coke, or Tata Sky) he is brilliant. Each commercial is a delight to watch (like his films) and am sure is a “heart-and-mind magnet” for consumers!
Bollywood Male Celebrity Brand Ambassador Number 02: Abhishek Bachchan
This AB baby is the darling of many a commercial. Brands like Motorola have milked his real personality (on and off screen) to the hilt, and used his uber-cool, easy-going, like-able and aspirational character to max in their commercials. And Idea Cellular has got AB the actor to pull off brilliant scripts, brilliantly!
Bollywood Male Celebrity Brand Ambassador Number 03: Akshay Kumar
You don’t get to see this super-star in many commercials (which is why he is not closer to the top). But when you do see him in ads, he is credible and pure delight to watch! This dude gets all our Thums Up!!!
Bollywood Male Celebrity Brand Ambassador Number 04: Hritik Roshan
Film opens on a dull and boring situation (choose any context depending on your product).
Hritik uses product (place your product here).
Hritik starts dancing and camera focuses on his curls and boo.. err biceps.
Everyone dances around the product and becomes happy.
Cut to pack shot.
Cut to close up of Hritik saying the brand name and tagline.
Repeat for any mobile phone/computer model.
Why can’t brands and agencies use Hritik’s great acting skills like the team on Parle Hide n Seekdoes!? Why cannot they come up with brilliant ideas and scripts, instead of using him like some cheap “item number”? Sorry Hritik, nothing personal, but looks like the Ad/Mkt professionals around you need to get their act together!
Bollywood Male Celebrity Brand Ambassador Number 05: Shah Rukh Khan
If you didn’t know who SRK was, and you saw him for the first time in an Ad, you would never believe he is the guy they call “King Khan” or the “Badshah of Bollywood” – because sorry to say, far from being King, he comes out as nothing better than a court jester!
Bad brand-celebrity matches. Lazy ideas. Bad scripts. Tacky productions. These are the unfortunate ingredients of SRK the brand ambassador.
HP/Compaq and ITC Sunfeast in particular need to take a leaf out of Pepsi’s book- perhaps the only brand that knows how to use King Khan properly. Or at least if you cannot replicate Pepsi’s intelligent creatives, at least try to use him in a ludicrously entertaining manner like Hyundai does!
Footnotes to Brand Managers and Agency people:
01. Celebrity endorsement is not an idea, it is at best a ‘strategic first step’. You still need a good script and an idea.
02. If you have a Star in your TVC, get a good TVC Director. Not just one who isn’t overawed by the star, but also one who the star will listen to.
03. And before you do both the above, ask whether the brand really needs it… or are you just a celeb-slut looking for your delusionary brush with fame?