Make the celeb act

Make the celeb act
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First Published: Fri, Oct 23 2009. 11 34 PM IST

Star watch: K.V. Sridhar.
Star watch: K.V. Sridhar.
Updated: Fri, Oct 23 2009. 11 34 PM IST
Reviewer: KV Sridhar
Star watch: K.V. Sridhar.
K.V. Sridhar is national creative director for Leo Burnett India. He has done campaigns such as the Parker pens campaign with Amitabh Bachchan and, more recently, the Thums Up campaign with Akshay Kumar.
Campaigns
The ad for Reliance Mobile has Hrithik Roshan playing Pied Piper.
The ad for Lux has Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan. She keeps slipping out of his hands because her skin is so soft.
Saif Ali Khan, in the new ad for OCM, is mistaken for an Italian by a magazine editor.
The Reid & Taylor ad features a philosophical Bachchan.
What did you think of these campaigns?
The core idea of the Reliance ad is not bad, but I find the choreography and animation contrived; you don’t need to have the deals spawning into rats. The Reid & Taylor ad is very believable with Bachchan as the endorser. The film did have the potential to be inspirational, but tends to fall short. However, his aura does seem to be rubbing off on the brand. In the OCM ad, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the celebrity and the brand. Saif looks more comfortable endorsing Taj Mahal tea than he does here. As far as the Lux ad is concerned, it should work because this is the first time Abhi and Ash are in a film together.
Do endorsements with couples such as Ash and Abhi work?
They do, if you stay away from the clichés and present them in a way that they have never been seen in before. You need to get something voyeuristic, an unexpected insight, into the celebrity’s private life. Bachchan, for instance, is obsessed with pens and collects them. Abhi and Ash are fantastic, but if you present them in a clichéd manner then the interest is bound to be short-lived.
What can brands do to make their celebrity ads work?
Lip-sync: Good idea, but contrived choreography and animation.
The challenge with celebrity endorsers is that you have to use the celebrity well and not as a salesperson who spouts the benefits of your product like Shah Rukh Khan in the Dish TV ad or Bachchan in the Himami ad. If you are using the star to endorse your product, make it believable. No one will buy the idea that SRK uses a brand of fairness cream. If it’s a Bollywood actor, use their acting skills. Aamir Khan hasn’t done many ads recently, but his Coke ads are memorable as he plays different characters.
What is your favourite celebrity ad?
It would have to be the Pepsi ad with these kids wearing Sachin Tendulkar masks (www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMzZfzzG80s ). It was beautifully done. While Tendulkar only appears at the end of the commercial, he is there in spirit through the masks. The great thing was that they didn’t make him act or dance or do anything silly! They just used him as a cricketer and the cricketer that people knew, this boyish 17-year-old, who everyone loved.
As told to Gouri Shah gouri.s@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Oct 23 2009. 11 34 PM IST