Decline in celebrity endorsements in Kerala

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 11, 2018


Celebrity endorsements are a double-edged sword as companies have discovered of late.

As long as the celebrity is popular and has a good image, the brand benefits. When the celebrity is found to be having feet of clay, companies fear that the negative emotions will rub off on the brand also and drop them like hot potatoes.

No celebrity

The recent events in the Malayalam film industry (Actor Dileep’s arrest and subsequent developments) seem to have hit celebrity endorsements on brands in Kerala, especially for the ensuing Onam festival season.

One of the national retail brands has opted to go without a celebrity for brand promotion this year after a rigorous evaluation of the current public sentiments on actors in the Malayalam film industry, said Dominic Savio, a brand consultant and managing director of the Kochi-based Buzzstop Integrated Communications.

This particular brand, he said, had engaged two new gen actors during the promotional offers in the last season.

According to industry observers, many superstars and new gen stars appear every year in several Onam ads, especially on consumer durables. But there appears to be a decline in celebrity usage in this festival season.

Onam is a time when many brands, including national ones, approach celebrities for some tactical ads for short-term engagements. For many marketers, 30-40 per cent of the sale happens during this period.

However, the current happenings in the film industry involving the arrest of a popular celebrity such as Dileep, the latest developments in AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes) and the resultant public reaction have badly affected the collective image of Malayalam film industry, Savio said.


“Any sensible brand manager will evaluate the people’s sentiments before hiring a celebrity for endorsing a brand,” he said, adding that the current consumer mood and people’s sentiments are not favourable for celebrities. But he maintains that this is only a temporary phenomenon and the trend would turn back in time.

Quoting figures, Savio said the Indian celebrity endorsements industry is estimated at ₹2000 crore and Kerala is a significant player contributing 30 per cent, second only to Mumbai. Denying a marginal drop in ad film making as part of brand promotion, Sijoy Varghese, secretary of Indian Ad film Makers (IAM) said that his company is in the process of making films with celebrities starting from next week, eyeing the festival season for products right from mobile phones to cooking oils, builders etc.

Social media influence

However, he said that social media posts have influenced the mindset of the people.

He said some leading national consumer durable brands have chosen models, instead of celebrities, for brand promotion this time.

Published on July 24, 2017

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