Shreyas Kulkarni

What is Manyavar Mohey’s brand equity when Alia Bhatt and Anushka Sharma chose to wear Sabyasachi?

One brand’s endorser chooses another brand’s outfit for her marriage.

As much as the wedding was about the union of Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor, a good part of the media, fans, and curious onlookers online and off wondered whose outfits would the pair wear for the marriage. Sabyasachi made his presence felt once again.

Mohey, the traditional women’s wear brand from Manyavar, must have felt Déjà vu.

Actress Anushka Sharma married cricketer Virat Kohli in 2017 wearing Sabyasachi’s outfit for the marriage. She and Kohli were Manyavar’s brand ambassadors at that time. Bhatt too is a Mohey endorser since 2019 and has appeared in a few ads for the brand.

At first thought, Mohey should be worried because two of its brand endorsers wore an outfit from someone else than theirs. Give it a minute and you will realise, Mohey, benefits from such instances when the photographs like the ones above are flashed across the internet.

Most people assumed Sharma had worn Mohey when her first marriage photograph was uploaded on her Instagram account, this assumption led to unprecedented amounts of earned media for the Manyavar brand, it was a marketer’s utopia.

Alia Bhatt’s case is different because it was well-known that she’d wear an outfit from Sabyasachi, Mohey will still benefit because people understand there is a difference between real and reel life.

Sanjeev Agarwal, founder, SkinInTheGame Growth Partners and former CEO of Rangriti (Biba Apparels) and Pantaloons, tells us, “The usage of products is always a double-edged sword. There is a lot of scepticism around celebrities in terms of what they do and what they don’t do… Marketers are doing everything trying to cut the clutter with celebrities but the genuineness is very important to build a long-term relationship with the customer.”

Genuineness arises when a consumer realises that while a celebrity may not use a product he or she endorses, it does not mean the product is not worth a shot. Most viewers understood Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli may not necessarily wear Mohey and Manyavar for their wedding, the ads featuring them told everyone the brand only wants to make the couple look the best and look at how well the company is doing today.

“If your brand stands for something and your ambassador does something else, there is a value mismatch,” states Neeraj Sharma, senior vice president of strategy, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi. He gives the example of an athlete endorsed by say Nike who tests positive for doping; it goes against everything the sports brand stands for and will negatively affect it. Sharma says it comes down to what the brand stands for because everyone knows the celebrity is paid for the endorsements.

Also, people understand Sabyasachi and Manyavar Mohey have different customer bases and both cannot necessarily mingle when it comes to pricing. A simple lehenga from the Saybasachi can cost a minimum of Rs 4 lakh while for the same money, you can buy multiple outfits at Manyavar.

What, however, connects the two is an aspiration. Seeing the photographs of these celebrity weddings will kindle 'want' in lots of people and not everyone can and will choose to go for a designer. Many will choose to go to Mohey and Manyavar because the ad films have ticked the genuineness box and the pricing fits their budget.

Or as Pops KV Sridhar, global chief creative officer, Nihilent tells us that if one wants it, the best way is to rent the outfit for the day, you return it the next day and save lots of money in the process. He signs off by saying that, in the end, whatever she (Bhatt) wears, people will only care about whether she looks good or not and the brand won’t be the first thought on people’s minds.

First Sharma, now Bhatt, who’s next? And while we’re at it, it is prudent to remember even Virat Kohli and Ranbir Kapoor were dressed by Sabyasachi.

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