In my various stints in emerging markets I have always believed that celebrity endorsements by high profile actors give brands quick visibility and builds an immediate fan following. As I explored different faces and their relevance to the brands they represent, the synergies in values, it is interesting to see how Bollywood stars in India (who are also brands themselves) also choose brands they represent based on the type of roles they essay in different periods of their life cycle.
Brand Priyanka Chopra who achieved stardom and a large youth following for her saucy, sexy image (through films like Dostana) after receiving acclaim and national awards for films like Fashion were quick to associate with brands like Ferragamo and social awareness campaigns in partnership with NDTV like Greenathon in an attempt to attract a larger section of fans. Priyanka’s personality naturally lends itself to technology brands like Samsung, Nikon and sporty brands like Tag Heuer, Hero Honda. So one wonders if she should have focused on building a brand identity around her natural DNA.
The decision of this celebrity association however works for a brand like Ferragamo and helps to positively leverage the image of brand Priyanka to attract a younger demographic in an emerging market like India and at the same time cleverly using the India story to build worldwide brand salience. Programs like “Shoes for the Star” marrying the core values of custom made ” Made to Measure” with a youth icon are also in synch with the launch of the younger, more accessible line from the house “My Ferragamo” which has been the key driver of sales revenues for the brand since its high impact launch in 2010.
Coming back to the issue of the choice of brand associations made by celebrities it seems it is best to stand for “that one strong value” and mean that “one thing” to everybody than trying to stand for many different things to may different people.