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Marico brand rides teen sensation Shraddha Sharma’s popularity

09-July-2012
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Marico brand rides teen sensation Shraddha Sharma’s popularity

Brands roping in brand ambassadors is not a new phenomenon. However, roping in a ‘digital celebrity’ can be called pretty new, where the entire following of the face has been made only through social media. It may, in fact, become the way forward for brands to add impetus to their social media campaigns.

The example in point is the new campaign launched by Marico for Hair n Care, roping in the young YouTube singing star ‘Shraddha Sharma’ who has millions of followers on various social platforms. Hailing from Dehradun, the 16-year old has more than 7 million views and 50 thousand subscribers on her official channel and a host of other fan channels with millions following her. Almost every news channel has spoken about her popularity and several publications featuring her for their ‘specials’.

Talking to exchange4media about the objective behind roping in Shraddha as the face for the campaign, Sameer Satpathy, Executive Vice-President and Head Marketing - Consumer Product Business, Marico India, said, “Hair & Care is a youth brand & understands that Indian youth straddle freedom with responsibility. The brand has always spoken to young Indians in their language and medium. Shraddha Sharma is a digital celebrity and has tremendous youth connect. Shraddha was best suited as she embodies a lot of the brand characteristics. We are looking at it as a symbiotic relationship. Shraddha’s popularity in the social media space & the fact that she has such a huge following, has helped the brand widen the outreach of its message.”

The new campaign comprises of a TVC with ‘Just Trust Me’ song, sung by Shraddha herself. Hair n Care’s official pages, started a month back with the campaign, have more than half a million views on Youtube and 100000 fans on Facebook. The brand has launched a contest to give Shraddha’s fans a chance to feature in her next video which has been a talking point on its official Facebook page.

It’s not just an ad campaign, it’s how the brand sees itself, in the context of current media habits, tells Satpathy. He adds, “Today’s youth engage with Digital seamlessly & the brand is also doing the same. So while mass reach is being built through traditional media, digital is helping us reach out to the core TG and interact with them one on one.”

Apart from the contest, fans have been interacting with Shraddha on Google Hangouts to create maximum digital touch points. Fans are being asked to upload their own content too. Giving a perspective on the same, Satpathy added, “A youth brand must have fresh content & we are currently crowd sourcing this content from fans & their friends. As a brand, we are leveraging the power of digital media to reach out & discover hidden talents across the country.”

BBH India, Webchutney and Madison, the brand’s official agency partners have worked on the campaign to create the social buzz.
Riding on Digital Celeb’s following or a perfect brand Connect?

We asked Digital experts what they thought about the campaign. Here’s what they had to say -

Sanjay Mehta, CEO, Social Wavelength:
“This is certainly an initiative that rides on celeb's popularity. I do not see an immediate or very strong connect to the brand but if the objective is to reach youth market, , then it is a fair bet for the brand to do such tactical campaign. I feel that the campaign is weak. While it may be tactical, I still don't see any significant advantage being driven to the brand, at this point. There has to be a clear strategy rather than just using a known face. Also, Youtube has been used effectively by many brands, some of whom may have used a celebrity too. However, it is the content that matters, and also the way in which the video content is seeded/ promoted to reach critical mass. That is what can make it a marketing success, then.”

Ashok Lalla, Digital marketer & Author - The Future of Digital for Brands:
“Linking a celebrity with a brand isn't really something new. Getting online traction through a celeb is also something brands are using quite commonly of late. While it certainly helps if the celeb has a large number of fans or followers online, almost all brands use online advertising to drive traffic to their pages and garner Likes and new fans. Shraddha has probably been chosen for her popularity with the TG of the brand. The campaign per se is not really distinctive, as inviting user participation is fairly common, as is the potential payoff of being a 'star' and sharing the spotlight with the brand's celeb ambassador. The campaign would have worked harder if there was a stronger connection between the product/ hair and the user participation. Perhaps this is something that the campaign may do in its next phase.”

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