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Marketers say ‘Hi Mum’ with glee!

Popular Bollywood actresses who are mothers in real life are endorsing products with great success and consumer connect Neha Saraiya| Delhi | January 17, 2012

Recently, Kissan, the foods brand from Hindustan Unilever, made its entry into Rs1,200-crore spreads market and signed up Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla as the brand ambassador. The Kissan commercial shows a bubbly Juhi chasing her son to feed him a ‘parantha’, just like millions of housewives who have to do so every day. Her glamorous image has been replaced by that of a mother who takes care of her son and even does the daily household chores. Her new image not only connects instantly with millions of mothers, and also among the marketers who aim to cater to this TG.

There are many similar examples. Be it Kajol selling Knorr Soups, Karisma Kapur feeding Kelloggs Chocos, Sonali Bendre Behl endorsing Dabur Real juice, Hema Malini promoting Kent RO or Madhuri Dixit rooting for Comfort, a fabric softener. The list is long.

The once glamour dolls of Bollywood are today portraying the role of health-conscious housewives of urban India. They are smart, confident and real-to-normal, befitting the imagery of any housewife or working women. Thus, from a dishwash dip to a kethcup, or from a snack to juice, these yesteryear actresses are using their celebrity status to push brands. And they are happily donning the avatar of a ‘mother’.

Gone are the days when the shelf-life of an actress was as little as four to five years and restricted to the time she got married or entered her 30s. Thanks to the multiplex culture, leading ladies of the Indian film industry have not only overcome their baby-barriers, but have also created a space for themselves as the voice of many products. They are now moms in real life and on-screen too, and do not hesitate to share their motherhood learnings through ads.

So, what makes marketers bank on the ‘Mommy quotient’?  Vikram Bahl, Marketing Director, Kellogg India, explains, “For us, Karisma Kapur is the embodiment of the brand proposition that Kellogg's Chocos stands for. As a mother of two, her children's health is always on top of her mind. Like most mothers, she often struggles to send her kids out with a nourishing yet tasty breakfast. She believes that a yummy and nourishing meal, especially breakfast, leads to a happy start for every kid's busy day at school.”

The rationale given by Praveen Jaipuriar, Marketing Head - Foods, Dabur India, is not so different from Bahl’s logic. Dabur has recently launched a new pomegranate variant of its Réal juice brand and has roped in model and actress, Sonali Bendre Behl, as brand ambassador.

Jaipuriar said, “Réal has always been positioned as a fruit juice range meeting the nutritional needs of consumers, particularly kids. Mothers are generally seen as gatekeepers for their kids, so it is necessary to talk to them more effectively in order to better reach out to the target audience. Sonali Bendre Behl represents a perfect blend of a demanding homemaker and a working woman who takes utmost care of her kids and family. Considering the synergy between the target group the brand communicates to and Sonali Bendre, and also the fact that she herself is a consumer of Real juices for years, she was chosen as the perfect fit to be the brand ambassador.”

There is no denying the fact that a celebrity endorsement is an old hat adorned by pretty faces. But what’s new is the fact that while earlier their list of products included beauty soaps or a Lipstick range, for which they lent a touch of glamour, the new set of products endorsed by them are home-centric and based on daily needs of a consumer. They reach out to audiences just like any normal married women with kids, who weigh each and every option available before making a purchase decision. Above all, they are real moms and would go that extra mile to ensure nothing but the best for their kids.

Krishna Mani, Creative Director (Copy), Meridian Delhi, said, “When you have a product like diapers, marketers seek young mothers like Kajol or Karisma who have left their job to take care of their family. It brings a certain amount of genuineness to the communication and the audiences like to believe in the message.”

Arun Iyer, National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas, explained, “Marketers talk to an audience who have connected with them while they were actresses. They feel nice that these people who were once glam divas, have now evolved as mothers like common people.”

Another explanation from an advertiser’s point of view is that these actress-mothers can be got on board without literally burning a hole in the pocket of the marketers. For instance, Kajol charges around Rs 1-1.5 crore for an endorsement. In comparison, a Kareena Kapoor or Katrina Kaif would charge a whopping Rs 5-8 crore per assignment! Besides, a Madhuri Dixit washing a dish at home will be far more convincing than Priyanka Chopra cleaning utensils as audiences are more likely to relate to Dixit’s experience of being a housewife during her stay in the US.

For marketers, this is a win-win situation as these 60-second commercials mean ‘big quick-bucks’ for the brand. For these actresses of the recent past, the TVCs amount to instant image recall and constant exposure to the limelight.

Manish Porwal, Managing Director, Alchemist Talent Solutions, defines the target audiences of products endorsed by these actresses: “Once upon a time there was an age of an actress. But with the market opening up today, largely because of TV, the audiences are accepting them with open arms. The Indian market, especially the FMCG sector, is driven by moms who run the house and have decision-making powers, and wherever the woman decides, that’s where the target audience is.”

Porwal added, “Young mothers don’t get paid as much as the top heroines but they don’t come all that cheap.”

However, one needs to keep in mind that using a celebrity mother in a convincing way helps in creating top-of-the-mind recall, but the fact also remains that it is a means to an end and not an end in itself. What’s most important is how a brand uses these celebrities; only then will the connect be better. So, while there is some keenness and curiosity among consumers to know the other side of Bollywood star moms, the fact remains that relevance of a product can also be established without Bollywood mums. For this, the product and communication medium should be alluring enough.

With an increasing number of Bollywood beauties queuing up as mothers or mothers-to-be, including Lara Dutta, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Shilipa Shetty Kundra, audiences are set to get an extended peep into the lives of their favourite heroines beyond films. Marketers are happy as these recognisable faces help them to break the clutter.

One situation where everybody is happy!

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Comments (1)
  • odiyatoka- 9 years ago

    just as we suspected...bollywood will sell its mother to make money !