It is a known fact that the best endorsements achieve an eclectic balance between the product (brand) and the celebrity. Giving a brand a 'face' is more than just a marketing strategy to increase sales or gain market share, it is a decision that can change the future of the brand forever. Choice of the celebrity, hence, is of utmost importance and is usually done based on many different parameters - appeal, looks, popularity or even just a fantasy figure to endorse a brand. In today's highly competitive markets, big brands are at logger-heads when it comes to products, each having a similar product to that of a rival. Where does one brand gain that quintessential advantage - advertising, service, promise of trust, or even the all important price factors? Advertising seems to be the best platform where brands prefer to compete on - right from hiring the best advertising agencies to getting the biggest celebrities. What would be the formula to success then? Well, a good creative agency, a large enough promotional budget and a huge star to endorse your brand would definitely ensure in the minds of a brand management team a feeling of security, success and a triumph over the competitors brand. The general belief among advertisers is that brand communication messages delivered by celebrities and famous personalities generate a higher appeal, attention and recall than those executed by non-celebrities. The quick message-reach and impact are all too essential in today's highly competitive environment. The different models applied by brands to achieve the full potential of such endorsements, highlight the need for a convergence between the theoretical and pragmatic approaches of brand building and effective advertising. The importance of a celebrity-brand match and the various roles played by them as brand-associates show the momentum this strategy has gained in the last decade or so. We put forward certain ideas like 'positioning by association', 'diminishing celebrity utility' and the Multiplier Effect which show the triangular relationship between the brand, the consumer and the celebrity. India is a country where people are star-struck by film stars, cricketers, politicians, and even criminals. Why? Populations of 1 billion and ticking, everyday people need something or someone to look up to. A sense of security, admiration, comfort, familiarity, and above all, someone they aspire to be at some hidden level in their lives. And clever marketers leverage this very celebrity appeal and are successfully carrying out their jobs by giving the bottom lines of all the brands what they want - profit, market share and even recall. But how much star power is too much? "Does Amitabh really use Tide," asked a 6 year old to her mother. Her mother laughs and says, "No way, just a gimmick." What does that do to the brand? Now, despite the potential benefits derived from celebrity endorsements, they increase a marketer's risk manifolds and should be treated with full attention and aptitude. A brand should be cautious when employing celebrities to ensure promise believability and delivery of the intended effect. The growing importance of mythical characters as celebrities and their sway over the target segments are ample proof of public demand for icons to look up to. As the celebrities traverse from a mere commercial presence to public welfare message endorsements, a whole new dimension is added to this process and helps us in achieving a holistic view of the impact which celebrities generate in every sphere and segment through their well-versed endorsements. At the end of the day, do any stakeholders in a company (employees, contractors, customers, shareholders, communities the company supports with jobs) benefit from a celebrity endorsement? Does anyone buy a product because a Bollywood or TV actor/actress stands up and reads a script in somewhat convincing manner? Are their distinctions in how consumers perceive these types of...
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