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Celebrity ad pays in the long run

September 25, 2006 11:37 IST
Can the rules of conventional advertising be applied to public service messages? Certainly, said Pranesh Misra, president and COO, Lintas India addressing an audience of students and corporates at the India Brand Summit.

"If the principles of mainline communication to promote public awareness, they would in fact become far more effective," said Misra, adding the use of celebrities to promote AIDS or leprosy awareness was a perfect example. "The message is amplified by using a celebrity," he explained.

In response to a question on whether these ads actually made a difference, Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and national creative director, Ogilvy & Mather, said while it was not possible to solve the problem in those 40 seconds, it could open doors which could then lead to solving the problem.

Similarly in categories such as life insurance, while advertising would not directly result in selling the product, it made it easier for the insurance agents to then talk to potential consumers.

Commenting on the challenges of communicating these messages to the rural audiences, Misra said that creating an alter ego who people could talk about (the Balbir Pasha AIDS campaign)
had worked effectively rather than talking to the people directly.

About how the create a corporate brand, R Gopalkrishnan, executive director, said while in India and US brands were still synonymous with specific products, it was not so in the East where brands such as Mitsubishi or Casio would mean different products to different consumers. In this case, it was the spirit of the corporate entity which would become its brand and should be communicated, said Gopalkrishnan.

In another session, debating the effectiveness of celebrity endorsements, the panellist came to one conclusion that one could no longer blindly use celebs without having a clear concept.

"Celebs should be used as messengers, not the message," said Prasoon Joshi, regional creative director-south asia, McKann-Erickson.

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BS Reporter in Mumbai