Do multiple celebrity ambassadors translate to better ROI for OPPO?

Brand experts explain whether the use of multiple celebrity ambassadors by brands such as OPPO is actually beneficial

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Published: Sep 23, 2019 9:00 AM  | 3 min read
Oppo Brand Ambassadors

Chinese smartphone brand OPPO has a history of associating with celebrities. In the last six years, the brand has roped in around 15 celebrities ranging from Bollywood to cricket. In fact, to promote its latest product OPPO Reno2 in the market, the brand is using three different celebrities: Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, along with musician and popular rapper Badshah.

Since its operations began in India, actors such as Deepika Padukone, Hrithik Roshan, Sonam Kapoor, and cricketer Yuvraj Singh and many others have featured in the brand’s marketing campaigns.
Perhaps, it seems the brand has been backing on celebrity- marketing approach to cater to the Indian consumers, especially millennials.

Most of the known smartphone companies today have a ‘face’ for their brand, this might help them to establish a position and resonate in a better way with the consumers. Xiaomi, which has a strong presence in the market, had roped in Ranveer Singh as their brand ambassador last year. Keeping in mind the fact that in the same year the brand's total market share grew by 47 per cent.

Does this mean that celebrities are the safest and the best way to make profits? Brand expert, N. Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research explains, “Celebs and their endorsements don't directly increase sales, they increase visibility. This indirectly helps in sales if the competitive offering is correct and the market conditions suit. In fact, because there is a high cost of celebrity endorsement, profits may actually see a dip, if the above is not in order”.

“As markets get more mature, the effects of celebrities on brands go down. This is because customers take more ‘rational’ decisions about their purchases than being star-struck, opines Aman Abbas, Co-founder, Commwiser Consultants.

Brands like Gionee and Google’s Pixel have also experimented with more than one brand ambassador at a time. Pixel had an associated with actors such as Priyanka Chopra, Rahul Dravid, Twinkle Khanna and Anushka Sharma for the promotion of different products.

Meanwhile, hiring three big celebrities is a viable option for a brand like OPPO, but in what ways will it help strengthen their position?

Experts believe that having so many brand ambassadors all together on the board doesn’t guarantee a surge in sales growth.

Aman explains, “Celebrities do help in attracting eyeballs if utilised well but whether that converts into sales is different. Sales conversion depends upon the credibility of the celebrity’s connection with the brand and its audience. Also, from a business viewpoint, celebrity endorsement must be looked at in value terms. This means where OPPO marketing spends stand vis-a-vis competition. Higher celebrity spends makes it risky but for a lifestyle product, it creates desirability factor, therefore creates a higher possibility of ROI”.

"The market is extremely sluggish and to hire 3 celebs in a highly competitive marketplace is overkill and imprudent", opines Chandramouli.

At a time when brands are experimenting and doing humorous and contemporary advertising, why are big brands hesitant to take a risk and come up with something new and unique?

According to Sameer Makani, Co-founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives, “One of the reasons could be the nature of advertising. It can either provide big rewards or no rewards at all, this has been a major reason for these brands to take a step back from adopting newer ways to reach consumers”.

“The bigger the brand, the less nimble it becomes, especially when it comes to communication. In this highly interconnected world, they would rather stick to the tried-and-tested. However, brands don’t realise if they don't take risks, they will not be rewarded. Not taking risks is the biggest risk brands face today”, said Chandramouli.

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