Indian youth have affinity for celebrity endorsement over mascots: Study

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on May 31, 2018

In its latest Topical, Amul gives a message of fitness besides marketing its maska (butter) by using the mascot Amul Girl. "#MaskaHitTohIndiaFit.. Amul Unchallenged Leader!" the topical released on Tuesday reads.

Advertising researchers look beyond the creativity of a mascot and explore the efficacy of brand endorsements using mascots vis-a-vis celebrities. For example, Virat Kohli and the ethnic wear brand Manyavar are nearly inseparable and leaves no room for any other alternate endorsement mode.

A research paper on 'Measuring the Comparative Efficacy of Endorsements by Celebrities Vis-à-vis Animated Mascots,' reveals that even as the use of mascots is considered to be safe and cost-effective, Indian youth are skewed towards celebrities than animated mascots.

Authored by Dr Jay Trivedi, Associate Professor, MICA in Ahmedabad, the paper looks at the comparative effectiveness of celebrity and mascots in advertising and its impact on advertisement, attitudes towards the brand and purchase intentions of Indian consumers.

Trivedi, in his paper, states that the character attraction aspect of a mascot increases its effectiveness and creates a significant influence on advertisements, attitude towards brand and purchase intention. But the research findings show that compared to a mascot, a celebrity forms a stronger attitude and purchase intentions.

In the case of celebrity endorsements, trustworthiness, attractiveness and expertise are the key influencers, while in the case of mascots, it is character attraction, nostalgia and trustworthiness that drives the effectiveness.

"Although both - celebrities and mascots - influence purchase intentions, celebrities enjoy an edge over mascots in influencing it. This shows the dominance of celebrities over mascots in increasing advertising efficacy," said Trivedi.

However, besides being an expensive affair, celebrities often become a cause of negative branding. "The marketing manager has no control over celebrity for his thoughts and acts in his personal life. As we have seen some brands taking a beating because of celebrities frankly speaking out their opinion on sensitive issues. This doesn't happen with mascots. They are in complete control of a marketing manager," he added.

The mascot strategy by players such as Vodafone, Amul, Lehar Pepsi and Asian Paints has helped them gain a significant marketing advantage through their advertisement campaigns. The study, conducted using a survey of 340 respondents in the age-group of 21-25 years, establishes that the advertising efficacy improved with the use of an animated spokesperson over a human spokesperson.

Trivedi further stated that the western market continues to have a affinity towards celebrities among the youth, while kids continued to fall for mascots. "The Indian advertising market is seen to be replicating the international phenomenon," he adds.

Published on May 31, 2018

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