Before signing Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the youth ambassador for Dabur Chyawanprash, Dabur conducted some consumer checks to find out which young celebrity represented the values of inner strength and leadership.
Many other brands however, did not consider it fit to tread the middle path and drop long-standing brand ambassadors for new ones, who in most cases also happen to be younger. But it is not easy. One has to worry about the brand’s value proposition in co-relation to the brand ambassador. If the brand ambassador is overplaying the product value proposition, it is important to change the ambassador.
Brand ambassadors need to be changed to refresh the brand communication citing the example of Tata Tea’s Taj campaign which had Zakir Hussain for 15 years. The brand got stuck to its association with Zakir and it took them a long time to break out of it.
A range of brands have taken on board the new generation of celebrities such as Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Dhoni. Experts say, celebrity endorsements surely help in magnifying a campaign, but what needs to be remembered is that a celebrity is generally used to impart credibility and aspiration to a brand.
Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar are no more a part of PepsiCo’s Youngistan campaign. Youngistan is inhabited by Kapoor, along with Dhoni and Padukone. Some of the other brand ambassador changes at PepsiCo include replacing Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid with emerging cricketers Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma.
Katrina Kaif has replaced Sushmita Sen in Pantene, the shampoo, and Aishwarya Rai for Nakshatra, the jewellery brand. More recently, Genelia D’souza took the Fanta baton from Rani Mukherji.
However, an association with consumers built through an ambassador for years cannot be done away with in a hurry. Pepsi used Ranbir and Deepika in a commercial with Shah Rukh for before phasing out the older star. The company has roped in Kareena Kapoor for launching a sub-brand under Kurkure, but retains its old ambassador, Juhi Chawla.
The association is also about perception— they not only possess great aspiration value with the youth but also mirror the dreams of millions.
A long-standing association with our brand ambassadors has benefited us greatly in connecting with the core audience. Thus it is no harm to have more than one endorser for a brand. But this switching between endorsers must be carefully regulated as it may lead to confusion for the customer resulting in the drop in product sales.
- Gargi Waghdare -