Pepsi, ICICI, Parker, Nerolac, Dabur, Reid & Taylor, Cadbury’s, Damas, Navratan Tel and now Emami Boro Plus – Amitabh Bachchan seems omnipresent on the small screen. Incidentally, Big B is also the polio ambassador and has also the spokesperson for all social causes. Branding with Bachchan seems perhaps the safest bet for marketers and advertisers today. However, the overdose of Big B is certainly being noticed.
“Now, it has led to extreme consumer fatigue. Of course, in the case of Cadbury’s it worked well after the worm controversy because Bachchan added credibility to the brand by saying that I would give it to my own children. However, now in some of the campaigns Big B is being used blatantly so much so that it has brought in a vampire-effect,” says Renton D Sousa, National Creative Director, Triton.
Incidentally, a marketer also came up with a similar opinion. J Singh, Director-Marketing and Commercials, Bata India, says, “To an extent he is overexposed especially since nobody really recalls some of the brands that he endorses other than a Pepsi, Cadbury’s or Nerolac.” For that matter, Bachchan should refocus on the brands that he wishes to endorse, he advises.
A common thought that comes across is that when Big B is used creatively, people do tend to notice him. What perhaps triggers criticism is when he is used blatantly. D Sousa feels, “People don’t even recall the commercial of Reid & Taylor and he has been wasted in the Emami Boro Plus campaign.”
Kajal Thakur of OMS, who has worked with Dabur on some of their commercials, shares a similar opinion. “There are too many commercials being endorsed by Amitabh because of which there is absolutely no tonality. Some of the associations are just killing his image. Companies like Dabur, Pepsi, Cadbury’s and Nerolac signed him long time back, a time when he was signed for his exclusivity. Now, with him signing for brands like Navratan Tel and Emami products, the exclusivity is lost,” she says.
Of course, everybody has his or her own rationale for this. For Cadbury’s, Bachchan was a ‘messiah’ who got the brand out of the worm scandal. The company took him to the Cadbury’s factory and the media reported this extensively. According to Cadbury’s spokesperson, “We found he could add credibility to the brand. Big B has a great broad appeal that extends to everyone from six to 60 just as our chocolates. We believe his association with Cadbury’s has gone a long way towards meeting our objective.”
For Pepsi too it is about a long and lasting relationship. A company statement form Pepsi reads, “Pepsi’s ads with Amitabh have stood out because we have been able to use him in a manner which the common consumer can relate to, for instance, the character of a boatman that he played in the latest ad.”
For many, it might be difficult to ‘hazam’ him more but then the question really remains, ‘Kya Amitabh ki pyaas hai badi?’