She once ruled the marquee with the twinkle in her eyes and her acting prowess, only to give it all up at the peak of her career. We are talking about Kajol. Though her appearance on the silver screen is marked by an odd ‘Fanaa’ or a blink and you miss dance sequence in ‘KANK’, she is very much the hot favourite for brand endorsements.
If the recent deluge of Tata Indicom commercials featuring Kajol minus hubby and actor Ajay Devgan is not enough, there are her endorsements for Whirlpool, Asmi, and Parle Digestive Marie. She has recently been signed up by Perfetti Van Melle for their flagship brand Alpenliebe.
If brand endorsements is proportionally related to a celeb’s rating at the box-office meter, then Kajol’s case throws a surprise as she no longer active in movies. Yet, going by the number of brands she endorses today, Kajol probably has more in her hands than some of today’s top Bollywood actresses – be it Rani Mukherjee or Priety Zinta.
Josy Paul, National Creative Director, JWT, throws light on why Kajol makes a popular choice for brands. He says, “She is seen as a person who has very competently straddled the new woman image by being a successful actor and a homemaker. She has done well in balancing career, home and being a mother and has always known her priorities. Her advantage lies in the fact that she has a brand neutral kind of persona, which is not stereotypical. Also, she is someone who has mass acceptance and the brand gets instant recognition through her.”
Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, Group Creative Director, O&M, points out, “Kajol is a good bet among female celebrities as she typifies the girl next door persona. She also seems steady in her personal life with strong middle class values, which is a huge advantage for marketers who want a known face who could appeal to its TA and she fits the bill perfectly.”
Another advantage of signing on Kajol is that she comes across as an intelligent person who is an informed decision maker. Her association with brands does not seem frivolous and lends credibility to them. As Kajal Malik, Regional Director, OMS, puts it, “Kajol is seen as a person who choses her movies intelligently and that’s an impression one would have of her choice of brand endorsements. She left at the peak of her career and has maintained her stardom. In fact, I think the mass appeal she had has not been replaced by either Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Bachchan or even Kareena Kapoor.”
In fact, an in-house survey done by Tata Teleservices, which was later backed by Hansa Research, found Kajol to be the most enduring personality. The TA for the research was mass market, including 25-plus men and women in the B and C markets. Following which, Kajol and Ajay Devgan were signed on for Tata Indicom brand.
Abdul Khan, Head-Marketing, TTSL, said, “When we launched, we had positioned ourselves as a company that didn’t believe in hiding any facts from its subscribers or in cheating them in any way. Our creatives positioned us as ‘True Paid’ or a brand that has no ‘conditions apply’. Kajol seemed to be a perfect fit as she is known as a no-nonsense person and one who expresses herself forthrightly.”
He added, “We signed Kajol before the movie ‘Fanaa’ happened, yet there was no hesitance among us. Even now, when we have moved our positioning to be little more aspirational, we are using Kajol, who acts as a catalyst who helps people in getting the experience of Tata Indicom and feel the difference.”
Perfetti, which till now has not used a celebrity to endorse its products, gives the reason behind signing Kajol. Sameer Suneja, Head, Marketing, Perfetti Van Melle India, says, “We have not used any celebrities in our communications as our brands are salient enough due to edgy and cut through communication. Our flagship brand Alpenliebe is a big hit among all age groups. Alpenliebe is the market leader and we wanted to move its sales to be next level. In Kajol we saw a perfect fit for Alpenliebe and the messages the brand conveys.”
As OMS’ Malik aptly sums up, “Kajol leads the pack among actresses for endorsements as she is not a diva like Sushmita Sen or looks cosmetic such as Aishwarya. She comes across as a real woman who is fun loving and intelligent. Hence, she is someone many of us can identify with which makes her credible as a brand ambassador.”