Yash Bhatia

Why did challenger brand Orientbell diss celeb endorsements in the tile category?

The brand went from partnering with Gauri Khan in 2022 to launching a campaign taking a dig at celebrity endorsements. The CMO explains why.

Quotone Tiles for Anil Kapoor, Exarro Tiles for Ajay Devgn, Somany for Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh and Akshay Kumar for Kajaria and CERA for Kiara Advani and Vijay Deverakonda. The tiles category generally leans on celebrities to endorse their brands. Breaking out of the category code, Orientbell has placed technology at the forefront, prioritising innovation over celebrity figures.

Orientbell’s new campaign 100% Tiles and 0% Celebs critiques the prevalent trend of celebrity endorsements within the category. The brand asserts that the campaign is not just about tiles but a commentary on the core principles of authenticity in advertising.

The video takes a satirical approach, underlining that celebrities associate with brands primarily for financial gain. Notably, the characters portrayed bear striking resemblances to Salman Khan and Kiara Advani.

Alok Agarwal, chief marketing officer, Orientbell Tiles tells afaqs!, “When we interact with consumers, there’s a degree of scepticism about celebrity endorsements. Many consumers believe that celebs don’t use products, also they can endorse anything for money. With this campaign, we’re reflecting this sentiment.”  

The campaign, creatively executed by Bang in the Middle, highlights technology advancements that the brand enables to customers.

The brief to the agency by the brand was to communicate its offerings.

“Barely 25% of our consumers believe that most celebs use the products they endorse. More than 50% want to hold celebs accountable for the claims they endorse,” the brand released these findings while conducting a national survey covering around 900 consumers. 

The results of the survey gave confidence to the brand that people don’t trust celebrities on the products they endorse. 

However, Orientbell has, in the past, worked with a celebrity. In 2022, Orientbell partnered with Gauri Khan in the form of branded content. Khan was seen revamping celebrity homes and office spaces. The brand was mentioned when she was re-designing the house and office of Manish Malhotra and Kabir Khan respectively. 

Addressing the question of whether the brand adopted a different approach in the current year, Agarwal answers, “The strategy is the same, we have always believed that we will not do gimmicky shallow advertising with celebrities. Gauri Khan was relevant at that time, and it was more of an engagement where she was using our tiles as a designer. It was a different kind of profile, and made sense during that time.” 

The brand has a specific criterion for celebrity associations, seeking collaboration only with individuals who possess a genuine understanding of the product. 

“Our category is different from other categories. Most of us would construct a home only once in a lifetime, therefore a customer decides only after discussing with trusted ones rather than choosing it just because a celeb said,” he explains. 

Campaign strategy

Demographically, the target audience for the campaign is the 30+ age group, as individuals in this age bracket typically consider purchasing homes. Geographically, the campaign has a pan-India reach, with a growing emphasis on non-metro towns.

In metros, people are moving from pillar to post, so they prefer to move into a fully furnished home rather than constructing one. 

To appeal to developers and constructors, the brand conducts on-ground presentations by educating them about the specifics of tiles. 

“As this group is more discerning than a layman. They’re more comfortable with technical specifications, as they buy it often. Therefore it is a much longer-term relationship between a builder and developer, than with a retailer or customer”, Agarwal says. 

Media-mix-wise, the campaign is predominantly on television with an aim to appeal to the masses. 75% of the budget is spent on the television mode, while the rest is on digital. 

Technological advancements 

A technology solution offered on the brand's website is TriaLook, a visualiser allowing customers to preview how a specific style of tile would appear on the floor by uploading images of their home.

Additionally, customers can check the best prices available in their cities on the website.  

From an Indian consumer standpoint, the category is heavily driven by the offline world. Would enabling technology solutions to customers create a vital impact? 

“There’s a growing trust in online mode, as a lot of consumers pay online to us, and expect delivery offline on our website,” he answers. 

Agarwal acknowledged that while technology advancements present certain challenges, particularly concerning potential disparities between a mobile picture view and real-life perception, consumers have become adept at making informed estimations. 

“Technology also helps to make broad decisions like what tile colour could match wooden furniture. Also with online mode, the whole family can join the decision, whereas earlier it used to be a couple's affair visiting the store”, he highlights.  

Within this category, a substantial portion of both delivery and research occurs online.  “There’s only single-digit purchase on online mode, typically it is an omnichannel approach,” he states. 

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