Why Deepika as Louis Vuitton’s ambassador is a win-win for both?

This association will help Padukone grow in terms of her brand value and international popularity and the French luxury brand will get a lot of attention in the Indian market, say experts

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Published: May 17, 2022 8:38 AM  | 6 min read

In its 167th year of existence and having spent 19 years in the Indian market - with its first store in Delhi’s Oberoi Hotel in 2003 – the French luxury house Louis Vuitton recently named actress and producer Deepika Padukone as its first-ever Indian brand ambassador. The move comes two years after Padukone became the first Indian actor to feature in a campaign for the label, wherein she posed for a mock vintage book cover with international celebrities including French actor Léa Seydoux and English actor Sophie Turner. Also, the brand’s biggest outlet in the country is reportedly on the anvil. 

This association is speaking a lot about not just Deepika’s star power and her growing international popularity but also the growth of luxury brands in India. e4m explores:

The growing luxury sector in India

While the pandemic caused a momentary dip in the luxury sector performance in the Indian market, revenge spending as a phenomenon and the growing affluence of the upper and middle class quickly brought it back on its feet. As per Statista reports, the Indian luxury market is expected to grow at 8.03 per cent CAGR annually between 2021-25 and will surpass 200 billion dollars by 2030. Simultaneously, the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the country is projected to rise 63 per cent by 2025 as per Knight Frank Wealth Report 2021. This paired with growing internet penetration, policy reforms, and a growing middle-class population with high aspirations make India a lucrative market for the luxury sector. 

It’s like the late 90s and early 2000s again when these brands were just foraying into the Indian markets and were banking on stars like Aishwarya Rai (L’Oreal) and Shah Rukh Khan (incidentally for LVMH’s watch brand TAG Heuer) that the luxury sector is eyeing more Indian names to be associated with them. Over the past few years, brands like Bvlgari (Priyanka Chopra) and Chopard (Deepika Padukone) have got Indian actors as their global brand ambassadors. 

Grapes CEO Shraddha Agarwal says, “India is a lucrative market for these global luxury brands. And these brands don’t do a lot of marketing or advertising. With social media making these celebrities more approachable, with people following the stars and even their stylists to know more about what they are wearing, it is logical for them to associate with names like Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra.” 

The Louis Vuitton connection

The initial years for Louis Vuitton in India were about a lot of hits and trials. It started operations via a store in a luxury hotel and shut it a few years later to expand its retail presence across cities. Even after tasting good success in Delhi and Mumbai, they had to shut their Chennai store within a year of opening in 2012. 

However, the past few years have been quite positive for the brand in terms of growth. Pre-pandemic, the brand’s revenue grew 41 per cent from 2017 to 2019 showing a net profit of approximately 57 per cent. In 2019-20, the French luxury goods retailer reported a net profit jump of 56.89 per cent, making Rs 25.37 crore. In FY 2021 the brand clocked in revenues worth 4.83 thousand crores with 35 per cent of its revenue coming from Asia, barring Japan. The brand is also expanding its retail presence in India, with its largest store coming up soon in a Reliance-owned mall. 

Having a popular name like Deepika Padukone on the roaster will definitely help the brand realise its growth goals. Agarwal mentions, “Deepika Padukone is an actress that you can associate with the best appeal to a personality, class, style, and the red carpet grandeur. When she will carry these products and wear LV for her impeccably curated social media posts or public appearances, the brand will get a lot of attention. And current India is quite aspirational now; they want to emulate their celebrities and public figures. So, I see a lot of positive growth for LV with this association.” 

What makes Deepika Padukone a fit for LV

There are a lot of reasons that contribute to Padukone’s association with LV, starting with her international aspirations. Padukone’s international debut happened in 2017 with Hollywood’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage and she is, reportedly, soon to start working on another Hollywood rom-com project that she will also produce. Just recently, she was also named as a member of the Cannes Festival jury, adding to her credibility as a viable star for global brands. 

Treize Communications Founder & CEO Sonam Shah quips, “Deepika Padukone has evolved a lot in her personality and brand value since she debuted in Bollywood. It is very evident not just in her choice of films, which ranged from classic commercial ones to more character and story-driven ones but also in her public personality. She talked openly about her mental health issues and then started her own foundation that made her stand out amongst her counterparts. All of this, added to her Hollywood projects, definitely make her the right fit for a brand like LV.” 

Along with these credentials, what’s, interestingly, could be working in her favour is her “contra attractive looks”, as highlighted by Digital Dogs Content and Media Co-founder & CEO Ambarish Ray, “To be frank, she isn't exactly a fashion Diva or icon. She isn't the first name or face that comes to mind when you say high fashion. (However) Her face and attitude are contra, quite the opposite of the white, Anglo Saxon look typifying the international scenarios for decades. Even three decades back, there were faces like Kabir Bedi and Amrish Puri who were playing roles in international cinema but the wave of contra is at its highest now, internationally.” 

How will this association impact brand Deepika Padukone

Not just LV, but Deepika Padukone will surely grow from this association, both in terms of brand value and international popularity. 

Agarwal highlights, “She is anyway very expensive, be it for movies or brand deals and this association will surely reflect on her brand value.” 

Agreeing, Shah adds that more international brands will definitely follow the suit and will sign the actress for their global and national campaigns. 

Ray concludes on a rather interesting note, “Her brands will always strive for newer connections with her. Somehow, I am not able to imagine the same Deepika for LV and then her selling biscuits and traditional jewellery to middle-class India.  Her appeal, in ever so subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways, is ever-evolving. She sees herself, I feel, as someone who is evolving for herself and not her endorsements. Maybe, the brands that seek to keep as well as benefit from her company need to view that as a core brief for associating with her.” 

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