Shreyas Kulkarni

Saifeena stars in a new LUX ad; has copywriting taken a backseat in celeb led ads?

Is a celeb's presence in an ad enough for a brand to sell its products?

When a major celebrity endorses a brand, you tend to pay more attention than you'd have for an ad featuring a lesser-known celebrity or none at all.

For Lux soap, ever since its 1929 India launch, it has featured some of Bollywood's biggest stars as brand ambassadors – Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman, Sridevi, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit, Karishma and Kareena Kapoor, and even Shah Rukh Khan.

In the last few months, we've seen a near-drought of celebrity-endorsed ads barring Ayushmann Khurrana (over a dozen brands have signed him). Now, Lux soap has released a new ad featuring popular Bollywood couple Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan.

In the recent past, on the brand endorsement front, the Kapoor-Khan jodi has stood out (AirBnB, V.I.P. Industries, Vectus) compared to other couples such as Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor, and Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli to name a few.

The new Lux soap ad seems to have taken inspiration from Bollywood's love for 'chand' and why not? One of the best Hindi movie songs is 'Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra' and it's also the name of the ad.

We see Kareena approach a candle-lit table where Saif momentarily goes speechless on seeing her... He then blows off the candle on the table and when Kareena asks why, he replies, "Jab chand yaha hai, toh roshni ki kya zarurat..."

Severine Vauleon, global vice president, Lux, said, “Lux needed its audience to look at its new soaps in a fresh perspective. While there was a brand story we wanted to tell, we wanted to narrate it through an engaging story. The metaphor of moon worked perfectly for this as it is deeply embedded in Indian culture. In addition, in the regional languages also we were able to leverage popular songs that compared a woman's beauty to the moon."

Anupam Basu, avp & senior creative director, Wunderman Thompson, Mumbai, the agency behind the ad said, “We wanted to narrate a simple story that captured a moment in their lives. And at times, simple moments make for beautiful moments. For me, the brand will always have the aura around film stars. The film lets you get that sneak peek.”

Some brands only want a celebrity in their ad and that's enough for them. But it's not just about featuring a celebrity, is it? Good storytelling matters too. We (afaqs!) decided to reach out to a couple of experts to ask if the celeb-endorsed ad has somehow put other aspects such its copywriting on the backburner.

Anupama Ramaswamy, managing partner, Dentsu Impact

Anupama Ramaswamy
Anupama Ramaswamy

Of course. But Lux was always like this. They rely very heavily on the celebs. In light of the new consumer guidelines, we all need to be a bit careful. But we must also remember for an age old product like Lux there is no real benefit that they can talk about except beauty. But having said that, it does make me smile. She does light up the screen. And he has always been best in a subtle role. Copywriting honestly for it is not bad keeping in mind some other celeb ads which are outright mindless.

Ananda Ray, creative head, Rediffusion

Ananda Ray
Ananda Ray

It's a regular film and doesn't stand out. Lux has traditionally used celebrities in its ads so they (the agency) didn't have a choice here. What they've tried to do is make the ad more real by featuring a couple otherwise it's not special. The copy is bland and even if you put non-celebrities, I still wouldn't be interested in watching this ad.

It's a very 90s kind of feeling with the chehra is glowing...The only leap here is the use of celebrities in a non-traditional role as far as Lux is concerned but by doing that, they've not necessarily taken an advertising leap. If they were going to use a celebrity couple, there are far better ways to have used them. It's a typical genre category ad.

Unfortunately, Saifeena's previous ad for Vectus (a pipe and water tank maker) didn't sit well with audiences who criticised the ad for its copy and edit and the dubbed voices of the couple.

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