The final day of the two-day India Brand Summit 2006 saw several heads of various organisations sharing the stage for discussions on varied topics. Starting the day with effectiveness of celebrity endorsements, the day continued with a ‘Masterclass’ conducted by O&M’s Piyush Pandey and Pranesh Mishra of Lintas.
Kicking off the day with ‘Show me the money – How effective are Celebrity Endorsers?’, Chairman for the panel, Sameer Nair, CEO, STAR Entertainment, India, opened the topic for debate. The panel included Prasoon Joshi, Regional Creative Director, McCann Erickson; Harish Krishnamachar, MD, ICONIX; Zarina Mehta, CEO, Hungama TV; Aditya Aggarwal, Director, Emami Group of Companies; Ravi Kiran, CEO, Starcom Media West; Sanjay Lal, MD & CEO, PDM International; and Ashok Venkatramani, VP, HLL.
Joshi said, “Celebrity endorsements work if the messenger is not the message. Use a star to reach out to a larger audience with a great concept.” He also believed that the advertiser could cut the clutter with great advertisements and celebrity endorsements.
Following him was Zarina Mehta, who pointed out Hungama’s rise in ratings and the use of celebrities had worked for them. Following the rebranding of the channel in December 2005, celebrities were tied for production for the channel.
HLL’s Venkatramani candidly expressed that the corporate major was yet to decide on whether celebrities worked or not. He spoke on the 4C criterion enumerating Clutter Break, Credibility fit with TG, Connect with the audience and whether the proposition was clearly differentiated. According to him, on the flip side, there was cost versus ROI, uniqueness of the celebrity, the debate on whether celebrities were driving advertising or the concept and multiple endorsements from a celebrity.
He said, “Disengagement of a celebrity from brand is a huge task and perhaps is done well in cases like Ustad Zakir Hussain and Taj.”
PDM’s Sanjay Lal was next and he began with the point that celebrities were brands due to the fans. He spoke of high recall value, the delivery of immediate impact and new products launched having greater impact when done so with a celebrity. He advised, “Use celebrity for 360 degree.”
ICONIX’s Krishnamachar stated that clarity needed to come from brand owners on the use of celebrity and that they should use celebrities judiciously. Starcom’s Ravi Kiran said, “Consumers want entertainment from celebrities.” He also cautioned that celebrities were like medicines, some worked and some didn’t.
The second session of the day was ‘Master Class’. Both Pranesh Misra and Piyush Pandey presented case studies to emphasis their points on the changing nature of advertising in India.
Misra spoke on the importance of Public Service Communication and public service ads making a mark of sorts for advertising itself. Some of the case studies were of campaigns on leprosy, safe sex and so on, where Misra elaborated on the different kinds of modes to connect with the audience on issues such as these.
Pandey had the audience in his grip again with some of the popular works of McCann Erickson on SBI and other brands. He said, “Print ads are not salesmen anymore.”
He spoke more on the evolution in advertising and the changing roles of different mediums that in all helped the brand custodians to choose the right vehicle and create the perfect mix to reach their targets.