President, sales and marketing, NaiDunia
Moreover, newspapers are no more a product that has to do with habit, as was the case two decades ago. NaiDunia recently decided to have a brand ambassador for its supplement Yuva, as well as for the main paper. Our newspaper also has a considerable readership among the age group of 18-25 years.
In order to associate more with this age group, we decided to rope in Raghu and Rajiv of MTV Roadies fame to be our brand ambassadors. We started running a lot of on-ground activities. The response from the targeted age group was huge.
To select the right ambassador and to involve him with the brand in a visible way induces followers to associate themselves with the publication.
Narendra Kumar Alambara
Vice-president, Starcom MediaVest Group
However, using a brand ambassador can help find a connect with the audience. That will help grow circulation and bring in advertisers to leverage the consumer base. Celebrities can be used as ambassadors, depending on the brand requirement. Some use them as long-term (persona-based) ambassadors, while others use them for a short term (as clutter breakers). Ambassadors are also used to combat the competition, or distinguish from it.
In the past, Deccan Chronicle has used celebrities such as Katrina Kaif in campaigns (definitely in OOH, I'm not sure of other media), but as pure eye-candy. The use of brand ambassadors should help a newspaper gain traction among its core consumers. Advertiser support will come through when that consumer base reaches critical mass.
Vice-president, marketing, HT Media
Further, while a celebrity's star status may sometimes help add to a newspaper's popularity in the short run, this is typically more relevant to new and non-established papers seeking to stand out from the clutter of other known brands. It is also to gain some respectability by association, even if fleetingly.
For us at Hindustan Times, our biggest brand value comes from our heritage and our inherent editorial values, and our biggest brand ambassadors are our reporters and editors, who continuously strive to interpret and make a difference to the world we live in.