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How A Celebrity Wedding Changes Brand Perception

Celebrity endorsements have been predominating in India for a very long time and it became more engross when the celebrity get married. It is like one brand is marrying another

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The moment DeepVeer announced to the world they will be getting married in mid November, the digital world went berserk. Personally sharing the announcement like a wedding card on their walls to a whole army of trolls feeding the insatiable social media. The one I read yesterday was - half of Deepika & Ranveer’s wedding night might get wasted in deciding should the room be from - GoIbibo or MMT. 

From the branding perspective it is more than a six second laugh. Hundreds of crores at any given point is betted on a celebrity endorsement in India. And in the essence of it, it is but an infallible perfect image the audience can both relate to and look up to. A thin line to walk. One word I hear the most in polished boardrooms is credibility and how it is singularly the most important thing for that brand’s target audience. In this particular case they might be right. In West a married couple selling fiercely competitive brands might still work (though I don’t think any A lister has done it yet), India then is a different ball game altogether when it comes to key associations. 

Let’s step back for a second and try to imagine if Amitabh Bachchan is selling Kalyan Jewellers & Jaya Bachchan advocates Tanishq, realistically will the masses buy the imagery? Or if Akshay Kumar is selling Samsung, can Twinkle Khanna promote Apple as the best phone out there? Here, family opinion is considered stronger than individual thoughts and it is an either-or scenario for the users. The perfect one family or the rebellious dating couple. In a perfect niche world, Dharmendra’s Aquaguard can play alongside Hema Malini's Kent at prime time. 

Till then the brands will choose the safe option of making Aamir Khan the new face of Vivo replacing Ranveer when the soon to be Mrs Deepika challenges the best selfie camera is actually owned by Oppo (the rumour is she too is to be replaced by a younger A list actress). Samsung are you listening? Get the newly weds together!

Last year another power couple tied the knot but it was easier for brands because they were mostly advocating things together - Head & Shoulders, Manyavar, Pepsi etc or not with directly competing brands. Their mirrored ‘grounded & independently ambitious middle class’ stories helped further its ONE association. With DeepVeer it’s a 500 crore landmine. One wears pink spring kissed pants, the other emerald graced gowns. Kotak is the best savings account says the right side of the bed, Axis replies the left. This Diwali as a couple will they chose Nerolac or Asian paints? 

So in a crux they will have to choose directly non competing brands or do a bulk deal of promoting it as a family. Bajirao can sell Ford when Leela touts VW but Mastani & Ram have to choose another category. Saying that, expect DeepVeer in some high budget family apparel, car & insurance ads coming your way in the first half of 2019. And why not, you get to marry the quirk of Ranveer & poise of Deepika in the same brand imagery, almost next to impossible to achieve with just one. Mr. Bhansali can you direct them in a heartwarming watch ad the coming summer wedding season?

And in the end when brands pay more than 1 crore every day for their engagement you can’t blame them to be too careful. If it’s not realistic, relatable & desirable the brand association falls like a pack of cards, then in hindsight you can very well use actor models for a great ad film directed by Hirani and still save more than half the budget for digital media promotions. 

Wishing you an everlasting love story Deepika Singh Padukone & Ranveer Padukone Singh. You both are one of the highest paid celebrities of this decade for a reason, we will just wait for the great things you will do for brands in synergy.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Abhik Choudhury

The author is Chief Strategist & Founder, Salt & Paper Consulting

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