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Do Stars Matter in Ads?

4 August 2007 No Comment

Do we need stars in Ads? I was always curious if our movie stars and sporting icons really add value to products. I had mailed a professor in marketing and here is what he had to say.

My Mail:

Hi Harish,

I am Sundar, software engineer by profession. I have been following your blogs lately. I am curious to know the following about stars in advertisements.

There is no doubt that advertising have a lot of value and I would only be foolish to argue that budgets which company spend on the advertising is a waste. However my point is the following. I think most of the companies spend a good amount of money having Movie Stars and Sports Icons in their ads, which I think is probably not needed (At least in most cases). I am really curious how much do these stars *Add Value* to the ads and the product themselves.

For example, I dont think I will buy Boost because tendulkar is in that ad, Or say MRF tyres because he has acted in it. A better example would be “I would never buy tata indicom phones because of kajol in that ad. I will see Tata Indicom is having good connectivity etc”
I will take a serious look the commodity and if I need that I will buy it.

If that being the case why do you think companies really invest heavily on stars?

I think the following examples will help you clearly understand my questions.

1) Dhoni’s TVS ad is only as good as any other bike ad. Dhoni doesnt add value for me thr.
2) Kajols TataIndicom
3) Kajols alphenlibe (I really dont care if kajol is thr in that or any other lady)

Here are the possible examples where a star will add value

1) Sachins ad for say some cricket bats company.
2) Sachins ad for nike or any othe sports brand.
3) A star heroins ad for say soaps. (Link: Heroins are beautiful and soap adds beauty)

The *Star* adds value to the ad only when the product that he is endorsing is relevant to his/her profession.

Please give your comments.

And here is what Mr. Harish has to say:

Dear Sundar

Thanks for reading my blog and dropping a line.

Marketers use celebrity for a variety of reasons and purposes. Infact there are different ways of using a celebrity :
Model : Some brands use celebrity as a model. Here instead of using a less famous model, a film star is used. This will encourage viewers to watch the commercial rather than skip it. The role of the STAR is very minimal in this scenario.

Endorsement : Where celebrity endorse the brand by saying that they have used it or have found it effective. Some also give testimonials .

Brand Ambassador : where celebrity represents the brand much more deeply and involves in product launches brand promotions etc

Hence depending on the role given, effectiveness also varies. Now we can see lot of celebrities in advertisements because they are used to break the clutter . We customers are exposed to thousands of ads every day. Hence marketers think that when there is a star, viewers MAY watch the commercial although there is no guarantee.As you have rightly said, celebrity endorsement works well if the brand can connect with the celebrity.

There are many cases of successful celebrity endorsements so we can never come into a conclusion that it is a waste.


Hmm.. Well said Harish.. What do you think about it?? Next time you see Kajol in an Ad, hmm THINK if you need her in that ad.. 🙂



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