Yesterday’s, and for that matter today’s big story has been the apparent ‘Daraar’ in the Malaika-Arbaaz marriage, and the subsequent revelation that it was some sort of half baked PR gimmick for a skin cream. Poor Mumbai Mirror had to even apologise to readers, though thats okay. Why? Because it throws light on the fact that the divorce of a star brother and an item girl morphed into reality show judge can make the headlines. You can read all about it here, here and everywhere. But that’s not what this post is all about.
I’ve already written about my views on endorsement. While i understand that it makes sense in some cases, the above skin cream debacle makes endorsements look really gross, but that perhaps is only a result of the reader’s/viewer’s obsession with the lives of others, but then again, is that media created? Also, why am i digressing??!!
While stars endorse brands, they themselves are brands. So like every brand, they have a lifecycle, and like every good brand, they try to leap onto the next growth curve and avoid the decline part, by constantly updating and upgrading themselves and sparing no effort in trying to make themselves constantly relevant to the audience. The sports stars can only do it with performance. And they all get slotted – Dravid with stability, Sachin with stability and sheer brilliance, Dhoni as the new Indian spirit and so on. Movie stars have it slightly easier as the kind of movies they are seen in and the kind of activities they are seen doing (remember SRK and the whole OSO promotion hungama during the cricket match) all contribute to their brand attributes. But over a period of time, the kind of ads they do also decide their brand image, which is perhaps why stars are increasingly choosy about the brands they associate with. It also explains why an SRK would do a ‘Panchvi Pass’ to reach the highly monetisable kiddy brigade which Aamir (TZP) and Hrithik (Krrish) have already tapped.
Which brings me back to the girl who danced on the train, and increased her star power. This gimmick would’ve heavily reduced her credibilty factor. So, while this stunt created buzz once, would the public believe it the next time she endorsed a toothpaste with that toothy smile? (that’s in case they were believing it all this while). Arbaaz doesn’t have to worry because no one asks him to endorse anyway. The ‘stars’ are now blaming the tabloids and the PR guys, but the damage is done. This might be a good lesson for the stars who agree to act out brand scripts that clearly impinge on their personal lives, and its most definitely a lesson for the brand guys who resort to such half baked gimmicks, that clearly take the consuming public to be sub moronic.
The best comment i got on this issue was when i broke this news to a twitter friend. She said, “Are you sure it’s for a skin cream? Would’ve made perfect sense for Fevicol”. 🙂
until next time, are endorsements only skin deep? 😉