The stars in advertising

Essay by Petr June 2004

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Stars in advertising

Petr Adámek

Stars, who are known to shape destinies, cast an enormous influence. No, we're not talking about astrology here. We're referring to the powerful effect of celebrities on destinies of brands. One approving nod from a famous face can translate into millions in brand sales. Perhaps that's why the world over, companies have been using stars to endorse everything, from food to food chains, from soft and hard drinks to health drinks, from clothes and accessories to cars (and the tyres on which they run). Even political parties are awestruck by the charisma of stars. Such is the magnetism of celebrities in this country that in the recent general elections, major political parties fielded a record number of film stars and cricketers to contest from important constituencies around the country.

So what about celebrities drives companies to spend in millions on obtaining their stamp of approval on their brands?

Celebrity Endorsements as a strategy

Signing up stars for endorsements is a time-

tested strategy and has been effectively used by some of the top brands in the world including Nike and Pepsi.

In India too, HLL has used Hindi film stars to endorse their beauty soap Lux since the fifties. Vimal, Thums Up, Gwalior and Dinesh are some of the other brands that used star-appeal in the early days of mass advertising. And who can forget Kapil 'Palmolive' Dev?

Ask about the objective of using a celebrity in an ad and most admen will talk about making an impact on the bottom line. They believe that star endorsements have several benefits, key among them being building credibility, fostering trust and drawing attention... any or all of which can translate into higher brand sales. So how does one decide whether to put a celebrity in an ad?...