afaqs!

A burst of brand ambassadors pre-Diwali

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | October 16, 2008
While the festive season has brought a host of new brand ambassadors, several brand consultants tell afaqs! that a brand should go ahead and get an ambassador, only if there is a justified need for one

It's & #BANNER1 & # a week away from Diwali and close to five brands have announced new faces as brand endorsers, beginning this festive season. So, we wonder: Is the festive season a reason to bring on somebody new?

Priyanka Chopra recently associated herself with Nokia to launch the Style range of mobile phones. The tagline for the range has been changed too: 'It's not just a phone, it's who we are'. Shah Rukh Khan, who has been endorsing Nokia for a long time now, continues to do so. Nokia says that the association isn't a pre-festive initiative, but a long-term association.

The other brands that have recently signed on brand ambassadors are Linc Pen, which has brought on Shah Rukh Khan; Godrej-Hershey, Maha Choco, which brought on M S Dhoni; Rosebys Interiors signed Soha Ali Khan to endorse the brand and Religare has just signed Jyoti Randhwa as brand ambassador.

afaqs! asked brand consultants what they had to say about this series of coincidences.

Jagdeep Kapoor

R Sridhar
Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, says, "Festivals could be a good starting point for brands to begin their association with an ambassador. And then look at it in a long term manner." Similarly, he says, a Test match series or the monsoons is a good starting point, depending on the nature of the brand and the relevance it would have with the brand ambassador. Kapoor too stressed that the most important criterion is to learn whether an ambassador is needed in the first place.

Francis Xavier, managing director, Francis Kanoi Marketing Planning, explains, "It's not just about festivals; which brand ambassador in which context matters more." He explained with an example, saying that if Shah Rukh Khan endorsed a brand, the visibility of the brand would increase just by the fact that Khan is a brand in himself. And considering the numerous brands that he endorses, the brand could be lost in this.

Xavier thinks that it is the 'me too' attitude that brands within a category suffer, which makes them bring on a brand ambassador. "When a certain player in the category has signed on a brand ambassador, the other players think that if it works for them, it certainly will work for us too," says Xavier.

R Sridhar of IdeasRS says that no matter what the timing, it is essential to first establish whether or not an ambassador is required to take the brand proposition forward. Many brands that have signed up brand ambassadors and the many brands that a single person/celebrity/sportsperson endorses make it a very confusing and crowded scenario. "Unless relevance exists, there is no way a brand ambassador selected at a pre-festive time, or otherwise, will make a difference to the brand," says Sridhar.