Celebrities are an enduring theme of advertising. More and more celebrities of every kind are being used by marketers to push their brand messages. Let’s be honest, we know celebrity advertising works. We all fall to the charms of celebrity that is being used in advertising. The astronomical sums that the celebs command as fees are proof that their charm engulfs everyone.
The interesting part of the usage of celebrity is that we all know that the products will not make us more beautiful, or fairer, or smarter or sexy. Yet we as consumers connect with the brand because we like the values that the brand represents. Our feelings of self identity, affirmation and insecurity have made celebrities into mainstream culture.
We know brands carefully spend time choosing the right celebrity. These are a few principles that the brand may follow in order to choose the right celebrity for its branding activities
Compatibility: The brand and the celebrity have to work in tandem. The celebrity has to transfer his or her own value system on to the brand and vice versa. Compatibility is one factor in determining the eventual success of any campaign
Credibility: Both the brand and the brand have to be high on personal credibility. If either of the subjects is low on credibility it will impact the overall outcome in a negative way. From Tiger Woods to Maruti Versa, examples of both are abound
Collaboration: The brand and the celebrity have to have a collaborative effect on each others’ identity, personality, values, market standing and brand positioning. This will define the efficacy of the use of celebrity and the eventual impact.
If done the right way, it helps the brand to gain attention, add to its credibility and even ensure that the celebrity does not overshadow the brand.
So why is it that suddenly the real estate brands have started to use celebrities in a big way? From MS Dhoni to Yuvraj Singh, to Sushmita Sen, to even an IPL team, real estate brands are hiring them to lure potential home owners.
One possible reason for this may be the increasing commoditization of the real estate brands. They all seem to follow (at least most of them) one formula, and the consumer eventually may be left confused. The celebrity at least at one level ensures attention. However does it add to credibility?
Buying a home remains one of the most cherished dreams of every Indian. Purchase of a home is a very long drawn process with many layers and many players. Everyone looks for a different pay off from the purchase. From pride to security, buying a home evokes a complex bouquet of emotions.
Do celebrities add to the process? Does the use of celebrity ease some of the anxiety? Does the use of celebrity add to the trust factor? Does the use of celebrity create a buying short cut? The consumers know that the celebrities they are seeing in the advertising are not the potential consumers.
May be the real estate brands need to put the power of idea back in their communication and not replace it with a celebrity. Or else even the celebrities will become blind spots in the increasing commoditization of the category.