What's common between Baba Ramdev, Trivago Guy and Steve Ballmer?
They have all been the ? ?face? ?of? ?their respective? ?brands, with Steve Ballmer and Baba Ramdev predecessing Abhinav Kumar, the Trivago Guy
Like? ?it? ?or? ?not,? ?the? ?Trivago? ?Guy? ?is? ?back.? ?Despite? ?the? ?unfavourable? ?social? ?media? ?response? ?that? ?the unconventional? ?‘model’? ?received? ?in? ?March? ?this? ?year,? ?Trivago’s? ?latest? ?batch? ?of? ?ads? once again?feature? ?? ?the? ?now? ?demystified? ?Trivago? ?Guy.
Abhinav? ?Kumar,? ?India? ?Development? ?Head? ?for? ?Trivago,? ??universally? ?known? ?as? ?the? ?India Trivago? ?Guy,? ?is? ?not? ?the? ?first? ?internal? ?talent? ?who? ? became? ?the? ?face? ?of? ?a? ?brand.? ?India? ?is? ? ?familiar with? ? Baba? ?Ramdev,? ?founder,? ?Patanjali? ?Ayurved,? ?who? ?frequently ? ?appears? ?in? ?ads? ?for? ?Patanjali Ayurved? ?products.? Similarly, the? ?turbaned? ?and? ?mustachioed? ?gentleman? ?from the? ?MHD ? ?Masala? ?ads? ?is? ?the? ?founder? ?of? ?the? ?spice-making? ?company.? In? ?1986,? ?Microsoft’s? ?then? ?CEO? ?Steve? ?Ballmer? ?appeared ? ?in? ?the? ?first-ever? ?ad? ?for? ?the? ?Windows? ?1.0.? And more recently in 2016, Devita Saraf, founder of Vu, appeared in a full-page ad for Vu televisions. None of these people generated the kind of social media frenzy that Kumar did, but they are his predecessors.
Trivago, a German online hotel search engine, makes it a point to only recruit faces that look genuine and approachable. Abhinav Kumar was picked by the company’s brand marketing head when the team was finding it hard to find the right face for the job. The jury is still out on whether this was a masterstroke or a complete miscalculation because the brand has become popular alright, but only among trolls who love to hate the Trivago Guy.
While we still mull over the wisdom of the Trivago team, here is a look at some other in-house talents who have become the face of their brands over the years.
Baba Ramdev is no stranger to Indian audiences and has been Patanjali Ayurved’s brand ambassador across all media. His exposure to media has been such that audiences don’t bat an eyelid when he is selling them an ayurvedic potion for strong, healthy teeth. In fact, his recommendation alone is the gospel for some users.
Steve Ballmer’s animated ad for Windows 1.0 evokes nostalgia for advertising from the 1980’s. The animated and energetic Ballmer highlights the key features including a graphical clock, MS Paint, MD DOS, and Reversi all at just $99!
Ballmer returned years later to advertise the Windows XP PC with all the raw energy that was on display in the Windows 1.0 ad but this time, another Microsoft employee Brian Valentine infused the ad with his own brand of high energy.
Devita Saraf found herself in the ad for Vu TVs after a colleague suggested that instead of shelling out an exorbitant sum on Bollywood or cricketing celebrities Safar herself could appear in the print ad. The ad announced the launch of Vu TV’s Netflix-ready remotes that come with a special button for Netflix.
The genial moustachioed man who has been appearing in the ads for MDH Masala and smiling at us from the MHD Masala boxes is a part of every MDH commercial even though he is in his nineties. The founder of the spice brand Mahashay Dharampal Gulati is a partition refugee and self-made billionaire.
None of these brand ambassadors, as odd as they may be, faced social media trolling like Trivago’s Abhinav Kumar. Being a Trivago guy/girl has its highs and lows. Tim Williams, the American Trivago Man, who extolled Trivago’s virtues on TV, knows this all too well. As he revealed to the Rolling Stone magazine, "I've read a few things out there and I laugh my ass off. It's so funny that people reach out in any way, shape or form." He added, "I mean, come on, people you don't know asking you for an autograph? It's a great feeling. And as they walk away, I say 'Hotel? Trivago.'"
The Abhinav Kumar memes are never ending and the YouTube comments section spew hate at the man for just not fitting into the mould of aTVC-friendly face. Leading? ?Hindi? ?movie? ?channel? ?Star? ?Gold? ?recently? ?created? ?a? ?digital? ?ad? ?for the? ?Independence? ?Day? ?long? ?weekend? ?that? ?mimics? ?the? ?Trivago? ?ad? ?from? ?March.
Star? ?Gold? ?may? ?be? ?trolling? ?Kumar? ?but? ?he? ?is? ?unfazed.? ?He? ?has? ?taken? ?the? ?Star? ?Gold? ?ad? ?in? ?his? ?stride quoting? ?Oscar? ?Wilde? ?in? ?his? ?tweet:? ?Imitation? ?is? ?the? ?sincerest? ?form? ?of? ?flattery? ?that? ?mediocrity? ?can pay? ?to? ?greatness.
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