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When KJo's real life persona adds cool quotient to ads

Karan Johar, with a series of commercials under his belt, has almost always carried his real life persona onto the screen. We take a look at his advertising history.

Eyewear brand Lenskart has unveiled a campaign, tilted ‘The War of Fair Prices’. The ad features popular Bollywood director Karan Johar, who is seen negotiating the pricing of Lenskart frames with the brand’s founder Peyush Bansal. The objective of the campaign is to showcase a diverse range of affordable designs.

However, the affluent director is known for donning exorbitantly premium eyewear in his regular life. To accommodate Johar’s uber-rich lifestyle in the campaign that is aimed at promoting inexpensive eyewear designs, the brand wittily presents Johar as his own self, an acclaimed director known for his lavish way of living.

It isn’t the first time Johar has endorsed a brand in his real life avatar.

It is a common sight to see rich celebrities feature in ads as scripted characters that are usually polar opposites of their real life personas. This is often done in an attempt to eliminate the lifestyle barrier between the celebrity and the audience, and to make the ad more relatable for general public. But Johar, with a series of commercials under his belt, has almost always carried his real life persona onto the screen. 

Here are some of the ads that feature the 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' director.

In a particularly sensual ad, soup brand Knorr roped in Johar to be the face of its 2019 campaign. The brand communication for the campaign ran contrary to its previously tried and tested household-themed advertisements. Titled ‘One night with Karan’, the ad showed Johar, as his real self, lusting over a male model in the middle of the night.

In 2021, matrimonial platform IITIIMShaadi roped in Johar as its brand ambassador. The brand unveiled an ad featuring Johar in a setting similar to that of the talk show 'Koffee with Karan'. The platform sought to promote its matrimonial services reserved exclusively for alumni of India’s top 10-15 colleges. Johar assumed the role of a matchmaker, and explained to audiences how real love is an outcome of education, kind of. The campaign received a lot of backlash from netizens, many calling the brand and Johar ‘elitist’ and ‘discriminatory’.

Last year, e-commerce company Tata CLiQ launched a multi-film campaign, featuring Johar alongside the former Bollywood actor Twinkle Khanna. The ads showed the duo exchanging light banter, with visibily real-life chemistry shimmering through the scripted lines. Johar’s entire personality, in the ad, is still not far-fetched from how we know him in the real world. 

In 2020, Godrej onboarded Johar to promote its hair colouring product Expert Rich Creme. In a campaign titled ‘Colour Like Karan’, Johar is seen promoting the product by personally using it to change his hair colour.

In June last year, KFC rolled a campaign, titled ‘Yeh snack nahi drama hai’, in a bid to introduce a new product - Popcorn Nachos. The brand onboarded Johar as the face of the campaign, along with actress Srinidhi Shetty. In the ad, Johar is seen enjoying a regular chicken popcorn when he is faced with the option of popcorn on nachos. He tries it and loves it. The offering is then formally introduced by Sanders, before Johar ends the spot, saying, “Ye snack nahi drama hai”

Johar has had a fair share of brand collaborations over the years. But throughout his advertising timeline, the characters he has played have been consistently based on his real identity.

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