Case Study: Can we board entrepreneurs instead of actors in advertising?

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Before jumping into the crux of this topic, take a look at what ‘advertisement’ is. It sounds silly, but for this matter at hand, it seems crucial. Advertising something means promoting a product by announcing it on a public platform. But, what does it mean? 

It makes total sense to bring in a celebrity and use their nationwide appeal to advertise the brand or its products. Celebrity endorsement is a simple, yet powerful tool to highlight a product or brand. One must have seen the Lux soap ads, which bring in actors like Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, and it goes on. These actors promoting a bar of soap creates buzz around the product and that is easy for the general mass to connect to. That’s called the celebrity effect – the power to influence others, coupled with the advantage of social media and television.

However, the question that needs to be answered is: why not entrepreneurs? There is a presumption amongst people that entrepreneurs are not preferred to promote their products over celebrities. Then, another question, how often do you see an entrepreneur presenting a product or brand on-screen?

It was made clear that celebrity endorsement is a promotional tool that creates uplift to the brand, creating awareness that such a product exists. But, entrepreneurs or CEOs attempt to create trust between themselves and the consumers. Atlas Ramachandran is the best example that comes to mind from an Indian market perspective. Atlas Ramachandran was the owner of the international gold manufacturing company, Atlas Jewellery. His advertisement, many years ago, stood out for its iconic slogan that translates, “A company trusted by millions.” He said it on-screen for an ad campaign and just that created the trust between the company and its consumers. 

Another recent example is Zomato, an Indian online food delivery company. Both the CEOs came on-screen for two different ad campaigns during the pandemic, advising consumers to stay safe and that the food will be delivered. Again, the core of that ad campaign was to create trust and they sold it.

Enough regional, let’s go to the international market. Arguably, events, promotional programs, and every other activity that goes in line with the promotion are also categorized as advertising. This is the central aspect of advertisement for international companies; the reason being that these events are launched by owners. That is why it stands very central for their ad campaigns. Look at Steve Jobs, for instance, he created this trend and showed other competitors how to be resourceful with events like these. It was possible that local businesses, decades ago, had similar events like this, maybe not as enthusiastic and exciting as it is now, but it was there.

So, will creating a buzz that establishes a connection with the audience be crucial? Or is it the trustworthiness of the entrepreneurs that counts? This brings us back to the question: what does advertisement mean?

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