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How brands should tread the celebrity endorsement path spoke to a few brand stalwarts to find out some dos and don’ts of celebrity endorsements. They explain how getting involved with celebrities could backfire if not handled carefully

Can you recollect the outrage that was sparked when Pierce Brosnan endorsed a pan masala brand? It lit up a controversy like no other, clearly demonstrating that brands need to tread the celebrity endorsements’ path very vigilantly.

Ajay Kakar spoke to Ajay Kakar, CMO, Aditya Birla Capital; Pratik Mukherjee, AVP, Marketing, Beauty and Wellness, UrbanClap and Rajeev Jain, Vice-President, Marketing of Dharampal Satyapal Group, to find out what celebrity endorsements entail. They mention a few dos and don’ts of getting a celebrity endorser on board for brands.


Got to be a perfect match

Do the ambassador’s personality and values match that of your brand and company? Or, is it just his current popularity that is attracting you to him? The celebrity endorser and brand need to resonate and stand for the same set of values.

Pratik Mukherjee

Mukherjee of UrbanClap gives the example that UrbanClap’s brand ambassador, Ayushmann Khurana, with his unique choice of cinema/topics, has also captured the imagination of the urban audience with his innovative smart brand of entertainment.

Communication effectiveness

The celebrity endorser needs to relate to the brand’s target audience, for the communication to cut through and create a business impact.

Every brand must stand for some core values, and should have a relevant proposition. The choice of celebrity must be in sync with the brand’s proposition. A celebrity must be considered only if the communication strategy requires a celebrity and if that person can add value to the brand’s proposition.

Rajeev Jain

It shouldn’t happen that a celebrity is chosen first and then a brand tries to develop a proposition. “Or at times we choose a celebrity and try to force fit him/her in our communication strategy, which is wrong,” said Jain of DS Group.

Long-term brand plans

Is a brand only going to be dependent on the celebrity endorser? Or would it also plan a life for the brand, after and beyond the celebrity?

While finalising a celebrity endorser, don’t just look at his/her current standing. Instead, have a minimum one-year view on his/her activity calendar as brand building is a long-term exercise. And it takes a lot of time to establish an endorser as the face of the brand among consumers and to get reasonable business benefit out of it.


The celebrity needs to be popular and have a strong presence among the brand’s consumers. For example, if the brand’s target audience is present on Instagram, the endorser also needs to have a strong presence on that medium.

At the time of execution, a brand must consider usage of the celebrity endorser at a 360-degree level e.g. TV, radio, print, digital, on ground, etc., for a stronger association with the brand.


Avoiding a high cost

A brand will spend a lot to sign the ambassador, pointed out Kakar of Aditya Birla Capital. Will it have the needed mega budgets, in addition, to plough behind the campaign and promotions?

While selecting a celebrity, a brand must consider the celebrity cost and associated expenses and also the media release budget. At times brands sign celebrities at a high cost and are not able to use them properly due to budget constraints.

Celebrity shouldn’t overpower the brand

The brand must always remain bigger than the celebrity endorser. Will people remember the brand or only the celebrity endorser?

In the brand creatives, the celebrity shouldn’t overpower the brand. Brand recall is more important and a celebrity should help in reinforcing the brand in the consumer’s mind. Sometimes the consumers remember the commercial and the celebrity, and are not able to relate it with brand.

No association with related product categories

While selecting a celebrity, a brand must be cautious that the celebrity isn’t strongly associated directly or indirectly with related product categories, otherwise there would be a dilution of its association with the celebrity and the brand may not get adequate mileage.

No inappropriate associations

It is important that the celebrity is not involved in activities or associations that are not good for the brand.

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