Posted: 15 December 2011 at 9:02pm | IP Logged
Popular small screen couples are the latest brand-building tools of advertisers, says Divya Kaushik
Advertisers are beginning to aggressively cash in on the familiarity of TV couples to influence household buying patterns in a sluggish economy. Though popular TV faces have been ripe pickings for endorsements for quite sometime, onscreen couples are being approached by marketers to promote their brand and connect with the masses not just as actors, but as characters from the serial. The reason: their on-screen chemistry, easy camaraderie and next door appeal easily percolates to the masses, women in particular, still the decision makers in the family and a potent force when it comes to household buying behaviour. And when it comes to targetting the middle class, there could be no better brand ambassadors.
Companies are following the segmentation formula, whereby they identify a certain range of products from the same brand stable for promotion by TV stars. HCL computers successfully used Star Plus couples like Akshara and Naitik (Hena Khan and Karan Mehra) of Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai to convince viewers about availing a really cool Diwali deal in two separate advertisements. And Hindustan Tin Works recently picked Geet aka Drashti Dhami of Star One's Geet Hui Sabse Parayi to educate households and slum children about reusing product cans. Though the series has gone off air, Drashti is hot brand ambassador choice along with, as she corrects us, Maan aka Gurmeet Chaudhury. "People do not just see me as an individual but as part of the popular onscreen pair Maan-Geet. The serial has ended but I am still flooded with requests to appear in ad campaigns together with Maan and we will not mind doing a few if they are based on interesting concepts and if the product values match the values of the characters that we have together played on screen." With about 2,000 fan pages and women of all ages rooting for their return to TV or in a sequel, this couple has generated a buzz and is trending on social media platforms.
So why have TV star couples suddenly gone up in brand value? Adman Prahlad Kakkar explains, "TV star couples come at a lower price than Bollywood star couples and are ideal fits for home brands, particularly those that concern themselves with social messaging, health, food, clothing lines, small cars, fitness, appliances and so on. They allow for a much greater spread of the product philosophy than Bollywood couples, who are usually used for boutique products rather than the assembly line." It is an established fact that celebrity endorsement can bestow unique features or special attributes upon a product that it may have lacked otherwise. Somehow, TV stars come shorn of that facade, they lend credibility.
Adds Gurmeet, who along with Drashti has won fan polls as the SRK-Kajol of the TV industry, "There could be no bigger honour than that comparison. I am happy that fans love to see us so much onscreen. In the end, be it Bollywood or Tellywood... if each individual does his/her work well individually in his/her professional capacity and you have a great story, then that is the chemistry that works on the masses."
Advertising research companies have found that TV actors bring reliability and trust to the brand and above all help in increasing sales revenues. Explains Atit Bhatia, senior vice president, Hindustan Tin Works and president, Canvironment week, "Drashti as an ambassador of this programme was a fantastic choice as scores of housewives participated just because they wanted to meet Geet. A bigger celebrity wouldn't have done better. TV actors today are not just a name in India but have an equal recall value among NRIs."
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