Tuesday, December 16, 2014

When the Brands are Not Saved by their Ambassadors

These days it is not at all uncommon to find brands being endorsed by celebrities. Gone are the days when you find a well known personality acting as a mere user to a particular brand; rather today is the time when a celebrity is synonymous with a brand in all respects and time zones. Be it giving endorsement speeches, showing up at allied events organised or co-organised with the brand or speaking about them at all media events in front of the cameras as well as behind them and; all the time talking about using them and hopefully using the endorsed brands for real as well.

Also it is a general fad that adding a well known celebrity to endorse a brand increases its brand value. Statistics has shown that it does happen all the time. But there also exists data to prove that that has not happened all the time.

I am not aware of all, but there are few, namely 5 that caught my fancy, hence enlisting them here.

1. Shah Rukh Khan for Top Ramen

I am not talking of the current scenario where Shah Rukh Khan is the brand ambassador for the Sunfeast range of foods, but to the times when the actor was roped in as an attempt to shake the 90% market share enjoyed by NESTLE's brand of instant noodles - THE MAGGI.

Surprisingly, the actor's charm and keen marketing sense (so popularly called) did not do a thing to bring the meagre share of TOP RAMEN brand of noodles by the Indo Nissin Foods anywhere close to the former brand's.

Some would call it bad luck, others would call it failure of the brand and the brand ambassador, but I would like to keep it as "failing to make the first mover impact" by the Indo Nissin Foods that ultimately made their attempts in bringing up celebrities as plain futile.

Also, more recently they had Sania Nehwal as the brand ambassador, which also did not work. Sigh!

By the way Shah Rukh Khan today endorses the instant noodles brand by SunFeast. So I would not be surprised to see him any day slurping up some variant of Yippie noodles, if he has not done it already.

2. Ranbir Kapoor for Virgin Mobile India Ltd.

I laughed the first time I saw Ranbir Kapoor starting the tag line - I am a Virgin, are you? May be the playboy image of the then poster boy of Bollywood worked in the process of enticing their targeted audience as mentioned by the company - the YOUTH. But really that did not seem to happen anytime.
Further more, the brand was also unique in terms of offering the "get paid for incoming calls" strategy. Unfortunately, that also did not work. I got some data which is exhibited below, it clearly shows that the parent company for the brand Tata Teleservices itself does not have much worthwhile share in the market, so speaking of Virgin's share is not of much significance.

And a bit of trivia here - back then in 1999, they roped in Genelia D'Souza and Diana Penty (who obviously was not much of a hot property then) for their adverts. Later on the Kapoor scion moved on to the parent company Tata Teleservices, coincidentally with which Virgin mobiles penetrated the Indian shores with a joint venture.


3. Katrina Kaif for Dyna Soaps

I mean, will any one will ever believe what I wrote as a heading for this one? Yes, it is true. I recall traveling by Mumbai locals in the year 2007 and finding the trains hoarded with big banner adverts of Ms. Kaif endorsing the brand with her full on grace.

Till date the travels and trains for me have been the same year after years, but I notice that the brand endorsed by the lady has changed. She moved on to the unbeatable leader in the consumer goods market HUL with their flagship brand LUX.
It is interesting to note that although today she is not associated with the brand, but her presence did help the FMCG arm of the Anchor Group, the Anchor Health and Beauty Care to claim that Dyna became the first new beauty soap in over a decade to enter the league of top 10 national soap brands in our country. The point to note here is that although the soap was launched in 2006, it achieved this feat within an year's time.

This makes me wonder what would have happened to the brand in current scenario if the rumored soon to be Mrs. Kapoor in question was still endorsing it!!!

when brands are not saved by their Ambassadors

4. Abhishek Bachchan for Maruti Versa and Ford Fiesta

Considering the overall flops that junior Bachchan has churned in Bollywood, it is not so surprising for anyone to conclude his omen carrying forward to his commercial brand endorsements as well.
Abhishek was either roped in with his dad or with the Maruti people only to endorse their family sized car Versa in the the year 2001 in an attempt to market their product as a family one. But as we all know, the brand failed miserably in the market and years later it was probably made into Maruti Eeco with a much lower price point than Versa, which seemed like an attempt to dispose the vehicle off the shelf.
Obviously, the company Maruti Udyog Limited had burnt their fingers in their bargain to get BOGO free celebrity offer.
Sadly enough, with time things did not change much; just the car manufacturer changed from Maruti to Ford. In the year 2005, Ford had Mr. Abhishek Bachchan roped in for their Ford Fiesta brand. Considering the fact that in those days his mainstream Bollywood career was going gun-ho with movies like Bluffmaster and Guru, it was obviously not insane for the guys at Ford to assume same accolades for their brand as well. But sadly, the American vehicle manufacturer did not even reconsider their endorsement contract with the actor after an year.
At this point I got nothing to comment; though I would love to share some trivia.

Moving further, the Maruti guys then got Kavita Kaushik of Chandramukhi Chautala fame from the hugely popular series F.I.R. to enact in their Eeco adverts; while brains at Ford were probably too scared to get any celebrity on board. So Ford remained brand ambassador-less till 2009, after which they had Suneil Shetty endorsing their SUV, Endeavour for a year long contract, which was obviously not renewed. (I knew you guessed it right by now) 

By the way, it is indeed contrary to find Abhishek Bachchan's septuagenarian dad still having a long list of active endorsements in his kitty, although those endorsements are successful or not is a matter of much debate worth many blog posts.(some day later I shall....)

when brands are not saved by their Ambassadors

5. Amitabh Bachchan for Uttar Pradesh Tourism

Continuing with the Bachchan family, brand endorsements are a synonym with the surname. Therefore, I could not help not include the biggest celebrity endorser of India in this list. I know this list is complied of the flop brand ambassadors; but when you have 20+ brand endorsements in your separate brand ambassador career profile No. #3 (politics was No. #2), you are bound to have made few wrong decisions in your career by the sheer rule of probability.

So, here I include senior Bachchan's Uttar Pradesh Tourism brand endorsement as a failure. If the various statistics have to be taken into consideration, the state did not see any significant change in the tourism footfall in the years 2004-2007 when he was the reigning brand ambassador of his home state. On the other hand, since the time he shifted his endorsement base to the state of Gujarat (last 5 years), the state witnessed a 14% pick-up in the tourism foot fall, which even surpasses the national growth rate by more than double the rate, which is 5.82% for the current fiscal.

Again a trivia on the facts and figures, the state of Uttar Pradesh enjoys the highest footfall in domestic influx of tourism averaging to 71 million (forget the international), whereas Gujarat has a mere figure averaging to 20 million for both. (don't look for currency symbol, I am talking of human beings here)

So, it is clear as to why the hugely popular brand ambassador failed here; what more greed can we expect from the state tourism board here.

Furthermore, I have a piece of personal advice for the decision makers for the UP tourism board here; instead of spending money on a new brand ambassador, why not work on improving the security scenario in your state, especially for solo female travelers like me. I am sure it will enhance the image and brand for your state, since the numbers you already have.

A big bit of Trivia: Not to forget the open white lie endorsement tag line from the dashing old man for their adverts: UP me dum hai, kyunki Jurm yaha kam hai (what rubbish, I am a born and luckily not brought up from the states of UP )

when brands are not saved by their Ambassadors

Hope it all was entertaining and factual to read , if not accept my sincere apologies. I shall try to be better with time.

Do add to the list....


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Kicking Action Jackson

These days getting to watch the old school idiot box is a luxury. Since the time I have got into my current work profile in the Pacific Time frame, sitting here in this prominent dry state of my country, life has changed with a capital C in all respects.

I can go on ranting about it on from posts to posts but for the sake of the title of this blog post I stay focused on what inspired me to write this one at this time of the day, though it is supposedly night for me.

So, I am talking about the latest rushes I got to see during my last week's Thanks Giving golden life-saving break of the movie called Action Jackson. The first ever snippet of the fascinating titled movie I got to see was the song where Ms. Sonakshi Sinha snakes her head to the tunes of the respective song played in the sequence. I kind of liked that typical Bollywood number that has stylishly dressed lead characters with their set of obedient back-drop dancers on a foren picturesque location dancing to the desi beats minus any apparent inhibitions.

Nice. now moving on to the second sequence of the aired teaser - a romantic mushy number between Ms. Yummy Gautam and Mr. Devgn. I do not have much to say about this one as it seems like an usual formula song between the couples in love that has been successfully tried, tested and repeated umpteen times since the Yash Raj genre of Bollywood depiction came into being. Again no issues with this one also; except that I am reminded of the Fair and Lovely commercials of Ms. Gautam through this song. Both the actors set the perfect pairing for before and after scenarios of using the hugely popular no-wash required bleaching cream in a tube.

Now coming to the third and the most important teaser of the film that actually kept me uneasy for a long time during my 4 day break. What I got to see in this one was tall-dark-handsome Mr. Devgn back-kicking a woman!*

Yes, he literally uses his left leg to kick-back a woman while displaying his apparent macho in his attitude before and after the kick and also in his apparently swollen so called 6-10 jam-packed abs. (I did not count them)

Seriously man give me a break!

With an act like that, though I understand it seems apt for your gangsta look in the movie, but actually kicking a woman??

Mr. Devgn dropping an 'A' from your legendary family name does not make you any less of an ass-hole with this act of yours. And I get to know that you also have a so called very vocal on feminist issues brand of wife and your in-laws through her. Did they never object you on that kicking act?? Though a lot of amount of matter on the internet suggests that you were petrified when your sister-in-law was rightly ruffed up in the 7th season of BigBoss for her superfluous attitude and  not at all required throwing off her mighty weight around. When you revengefully acted in that scenario, then why not this time?? And also I get to know that you even have a mother, sister and a daughter. Do you actually get nightmares of them being treated the same manner in some time from now?? Though I hope no woman gets to be treated this way neither on-screen and definitely not off-screens.

I know you get to do what your director tells you to; but if in the past you can scrape of some leading lady of your movie for a failed extra-marital relationship with her, why not exercise your right of being a Devgan without an A this time.

Talking of the lady being kicked here, Ms. Mamgai I had not expected this from you either. Although I appreciate the fact that you claim to be here without a Godfather, but doing raunchy pumping and gyrating pelvic-booby dance movements in some highlighted neon brassieres is also not going to do much for your career in the long run. For the records, we have a bucket list of actresses from Mandakini, Mamata Kulkarnis to Mallika Sherawats of this world. And feeling privileged in a I-GOT-KICKED by an ace Bollywood actor is definitely not what you, your friends or your family would ever want. (I SUPPOSE) There is no preachy or I-know-it-all thingy here, but me being a data obsessed person can only claim that you never know, may be you could also be the Queened lady of Bollywood in some time from now; very much like the one who royally kicked Mr. Devgn (Devgan without an A) for dropping her in-between a torrid extra-marital affair of his. But only if you would want to, by a simple polite NO to anything that is nonsensical and demeaning at the same time.

And how can I spare the director, the ultimate dancing double God of Bollywood. Well I spare you, your ex-wife has already done the needful by washing your dirty trousers in the media.

                                            * Watch the 2:03 part of the video