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How Celebrities are Used in
Indian Television Commercials
Varsha Jain, Subhadip Roy, Aarzoo Daswani and Mari Sudha
The usage of celebrities by the Indian advertising agencies has experienced a phenomenal increase in the last five years. Effective communication between the marketer and the consumers is the need of the hour and celebrity endorsement is a strategy that is perceived as making full use of this opportunity. Most of the countries have adopted this strategy as an effective marketing tool and even India is carving out space for itself in this arena. The present study attempts to meet three objectives:
• to identify the mode/s in which a celebrity is depicted in Indian television commercials • to ascertain relationship (if any) between the category of product endorsed and the type of celebrity used
• to identify the correspondence between product categories and mode of celebrity presence. For the first objective of identifying the nature of celebrity portrayal, four modes given by McCracken (1989) were used:
Explicit mode (the celebrity overtly declares the product endorsement) Implicit mode (physical or verbal communication is used by the celebrity) Imperative mode (the celebrity suggests the viewers to use the product) Co-present mode (the celebrity only appears with the product).
For the second and third objectives, cross-tabulated frequency distribution method was used. Content analysis of Indian television commercials was done for the period 1995-2007. The criterion used for selection of advertisements was the presence of celebrity in any form in the ad. On this basis, 558 television commercials (TVCs) were selected featuring a total of 56 celebrities.
The findings of the study indicated that:
• Around 64 per cent of the commercials used the implicit mode of celebrity portrayal for different product categories.
• Usage of film celebrities was more extensive than sports celebrities in major product categories. This was probably because the shelf life of fame for a film celebrity is more than that of the sports celebrity.
• Male celebrities dominated the product categories like food and beverage, automobiles, and consumer durables. The female celebrities were featured majorly in beauty products. No distinct association was found between the product categories considered and the mode used for celebrity portrayal.
The study findings contributed to the academia as well as practitioners. For the academia, the study identified the most dominant mode of celebrity advertising in India and found that there was no correspondence between the mode in which a celebrity was portrayed and the product category endorsed. For the practitioners, the study identified the lesser used modes of celebrity endorsements which could be used as opportunities.
VIKALPA • VOLUME 35 • NO 4 • OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2010
he Indian advertising industry, with an estimated
value of INR 13,200 crore, has shown an astonishing growth and creativity in the recent times (Indian Advertising Industry, 2010). The industry is
growing at an average rate of 10-12 per cent per annum.
Some of the commonly used media for advertising are
TV, radio, websites, newspapers, magazines, and outof-home (OOH). In these media, one of the intriguing communication tools used for delivering the advertisement message is celebrity endorsement. Celebrity endorsements have become a very prominent strategy for promoting brands to mass population, grabbing a 24 per
cent share in the total annual marketing budget of a
marketer. For example, a hefty sum of INR 600 crore
(130 million US $) is annually rewarded to a certain celebrity in the...