Consumer and Retail
Are celebrity partnerships good for your brand?
18 May 2023
partnerships have been a popular marketing strategy for many brands over the
years. The underlying idea is simply tapping into the influence of the
well-known celebrity to reach a wider audience, boost brand recall and
ultimately drive sales.
are celebrity partnerships good for your brand? Let's take a closer look.
partnerships benefit in the following ways:
well-executed celebrity partnership should primarily lead to a boost in sales
for the brand. Celebrity endorsements can create a higher brand recall around
the products and services, and drive consumers to purchase the products and
services. In a market where fans idolize their celebrities, people aspire to
use products and services used by their idols.
partnership of Puma and cricketer Virat Kohli over the last 6 years is a prime
example. In a recent Puma event, Managing Director Abhijit Ganguly remarked
“Virat’s public display of emotions helps polarize viewers, with a large chunk
of the audience becoming valuable long-term fans driving higher sales for the
company”. Over the years, Puma has onboarded a bevy of celebrities over the
years as part of a marketing strategy that has helped them leapfrog Nike and
Adidas as the number 1 sports brand in India. Puma’s revenue has grown at 26%
CAGR between FY17 to FY22, with revenues in FY22 exceeding the combined
revenues of Adidas and Nike.
examples demonstrate the power of a well-executed celebrity partnership in
boosting sales. By partnering with popular and influential celebrities like
Virat Kohli, brands have been able to tap into their large fanbase and create
buzz around their products, resulting in increased sales.
partnerships help increase awareness for your brand. Celebrity endorsements can
reach a wider audience than traditional advertising, helping build brand
recognition through greater brand exposure.
use of Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni in promoting mutual funds is a classic
example. The advertisements rely on the trust factor associated with the
aforementioned cricketers to spread awareness about mutual funds. Assets Under
Management (AUM) with mutual funds have seen a 5-fold increase over the last
decade, part of which could be attributed to campaigns with the cricketers.
Increased awareness can lead to a boost in widespread recognition of the brand.
partnerships can also be used to target specific demographics or audiences. For
example, a fashion brand might partner with a celebrity who appeals to a young
demographic, such as a social media influencer with millions of followers.
Brands like MamaEarth relied heavily on social media influencers such as
stand-up comedian Gaurav Kapoor to target their audience.
company HealthifyMe onboarded Sara Ali Khan as the ambassador following her own
fitness journey from fat to fit preluding her entry into Bollywood career.
Country Delight’s partnership with Neeraj Chopra helped the brand target the
health-conscious segment and sports aspirants. Such a targeted marketing
approach allows the brand to reach its desired audience more effectively
through relatability, rather than relying on broad-based advertising that might
not resonate with its target market
celebrity partnership can also help to improve your brand's reputation by
associating it with a well-known and respected individual. This can help to
build trust and credibility, making it easier to attract new customers and
retain existing ones.
example, celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor endorses Tata Sampann, Nutrilite, Knorr
soups, etc. which enhances the reputation of the brands on the back of the
chef’s popularity. Customers are more likely to trust the brand and its
products and view it as a leader in the food space. This improved reputation
can help the brand attract new customers and retain existing ones.
partnerships also have cos on the brand
partnerships can be expensive, especially when partnering with a high-profile
celebrity. This cost can be significant and may not be justified if the
partnership doesn't yield the desired results. Nike decided to discontinue its
Indian Cricket Team kit sponsorship agreement in 2020 on account of sluggish
performance and declining kit sales. Tata Motors also ended its five-year
association with Lionel Messi, its global brand ambassador, to cut costs after
disappointing sales figures for the company’s passenger vehicles.
of Damaged Reputation:
a brand endorsement deal is signed, the brand’s reputation is linked to the
celebrity and their actions have an impact on the brand image. Negative public
comments, controversial films, and political statements made by the brand
ambassadors could damage the brand's reputation and tarnish its image.
cooking oil brand, Fortune Oil was forced to take the advertisements with
Sourav Ganguly off after Sourav Ganguly suffered a heart attack leading to
widespread trolling and negative PR. Rahul Bose, an Indian actor, and brand
ambassador of Gillette, complained on social media about being charged $6 for 2
bananas at a hotel in Chandigarh, after which there was a public outrage where
the public ended up targeting Gillette, for being a luxury brand that was out
of touch with the common man.
celebrity partnerships can give the brand a short-term boost, quite often the
impact of such partnerships might be short-lived and may not have a
long-lasting impact on the brand. Once the partnership has ended, your brand
may struggle to maintain the increased awareness and exposure that was
generated during the partnership.
example, in 2015, Maggi noodles were banned due to excessive levels of lead.
Despite Amitabh Bachchan’s continued relationship with the brand for a brief
while, its impact was short-lived as consumer trust was lost owing to the
quality of the product.
partnerships can sometimes feel inauthentic to consumers. If the celebrity
doesn't genuinely believe in or use your product, the partnership may come
across as forced and insincere, ultimately hurting your brand's image.
the early 2000s, Madhuri Dixit endorsed Maggi noodles and portrayed the noodles
as a healthy and nutritious snack despite questions on the health quotient.
However, the advertisements were criticized for the inauthentic representation
of Madhuri Dixit as a regular consumer of Maggi noodles, despite her being a
fitness icon and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
partnerships can be a good way to increase brand awareness and improve the
brand's reputation, but it is important to have a holistic approach with a strategy
and an assessment of the possible pros and cons carefully. It's also important
to ensure that the partnership aligns with the brand values and ideology.
Another important factor to consider before signing up celebrities is the
must understand that celebrity partnerships are just a part of a company’s
marketing strategy used to engage and reach out to more customers. Companies
could deploy several choices to market their products such as performance
marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing. It's important to
constantly evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies to ensure that you're
making the most of your resources and reaching your desired audience.
Author: Madhur Singhal Co-author-Nikhil Inamdar