: on sipping coffee with jyothika!
month Suriya flew down to Mumbai - with his family
in tow - to seal the deal with folks at Unilever
for his endorsement of their Close Up toothpaste
brand. Suriya will be perhaps Close Up’s first
celebrity ambassador since the brand has so far
not been associated with any other celebrities.
But that’s not the point. The point is that,
with this deal Suriya will bolster his position
as the most sought after celebrity in Tamil cinema
to endorse brands.
Suriya’s modeling portfolio now includes as
much as ten products. These products range from
motorbikes to telecom operators to biscuits. There
is also a cloth store, cement product and ayurvedic
products that comprise his brand ambassadorship.
His recent commercial for a popular instant coffee
brand became a hit online even before it was officially
released on television. The fact that Jyothika was
also present in the commercial added up to the appeal,
however. Besides, the ad company made better use
of Suriya’s name – that incidentally
is similar to the product – to write taglines
and created a nice medley for better brand recall.
Among his contemporaries it might seem only Suriya is
accommodating brands when it comes to endorsement deals.
Well there is Madhavan, who is also close on heels with
Suriya. But since he was sort of a model himself even
before and has a pan-India appeal he can really not be
counted among the Tamil film stars who endorse brands.
For one, brands seek stars that have good command in the
region they represent. Suriya is a case in point. The
coffee brand’s strategy of roping in Suriya and
Jyothika for their commercial is an example of leveraging
star power. For the popularity the couple enjoys in Tamil
Nadu, the brand is astute enough to cash in on the same.
Many a times, even products / brands irrelevant to the
stars (like Madhavan endorsing a jeweler or Suriya himself,
a popular cement brand) are being endorsed by them. This
is done with the sheer motto of better brand recall.
And for the stars, endorsing brands is the common norm
of the day that comes along with the perks their movie
career endows. By endorsing a brand, a star is also ensuring
that his reach is far better than it is with movies. Television
reaches far and wide and covers the range of audience,
impossible to penetrate just using a medium like cinema.
People who have never seen a single Suriya movie in theatres
will relate to him with the help of his sheer presence
in the television, endorsing the brands they probably
use in their everyday life.
Also brand endorsement is a way to validate the reputation
of a film star. For instance, SRK’s brand portfolio
runs into hundreds. So is Amitabh Bachan’s. Name
a popular brand; you have either SRK or big B endorsing
that one. So is Suriya kind of becoming an SRK of Tamil
cinema, with his increasingly growing number of brand
endorsements? He might very well be.
Strange as it might sound, for all its budget restrictions
in movies, Malayalam cinema has produced an enormous number
of brand ambassadors among celebrities. Superstar Mohanlal
seemingly started off this trend and has an impressive
array of brands and products up his sleeves. He endorses
products ranging from ayurvedic medicines to jewelers
to dhotis to real estate. It might seem that there is
nothing that you use that does not fall under the brand-ambassadorship
portfolio of Mohanlal. Mammoty follows close in heels
and all the Gen X / Y actors have started following suit.
As much as we love our stars in our movies, it’s
hard to love them when they become brand ambassadors,
selling products. You and I might not buy a particular
product because our favorite star endorses it. But there
is no denial to the fact that the name of the product
will forever remain etched in our memories.
At the end of the day, the only thing celebrity brand
ambassadors achieve is to drive the popularity of the
products up – all the while driving the professional
models out of business.
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