Vivek Oberoi says,"Idea hero hai", CII Brand Summit in Bangalore
By Sahar Adil | Published: February 21 2010
Bangalore played host to the 2 Day international conference on Brand Building. Vivek Oberoi on Day 2 of the, conference and spoke on how Celebrities work, but with the Big Idea..
Vivek Oberoi at the CII Brand Summit in Bangalore at Taj Westend
The 2-day Brand Summit on brand building by the CII on the theme of “Marketing Disruption” delved into brands and their present relationship with customers. The conference Day 1 was dedicated to Millennial customers, and marketing to this new age customer and how this new customer works. Day 2 saw an entertaining afternoon session on the subject of "Engaging with the Consumer through Celebrities." The Panel discussion had Vivek Oberoi representing the Acting Community and celebrities, HS Goindi, the President Marketing TVS Motors, Ashok Das, MD, HANSA Research Group who is a Celebrity Track Researcher, Harish Bijoor the Brand Consultant, Rajeev Raja, the National Creative Director of Mudra and a well known Ad Film Maker along with Senthil Kumar the Creative Head of JWT India and who recently made “A Day in the Life of Chennai”. The session was moderated by Shruti Verma Singh, Producer and Anchor on NDTV Profit.
The talk opened with the Question , “Do Celebrities work?” And HS Goindi form TVS Motors, responded to this by saying Sachin Tendulkar was the first celebrity they signed onn after TV split from Suzuki and at the time Sachin seemed to give the brand a definition of what it stood for.
To this Vivek Oberoi who made some very astute observations through the discussion said, “it is a time tested formula.” He spoke of how technology moved so fast, and many new products were constantly piling up in the market that this worked well to break category clutter. “it helps on a demographic and psycologic aspect. Though alternately, he said, that “just because a celebrity is endorsing a brand, does not mean the brand will work. Some celebrities will work with a say Youngistan for instance, but not all.”
The Panel L-R: HS Goindi, Vivek Oberoi, Ashok Das, Harish Bijoor, Rajeev Raja, Senthil Kumar
Rajeev Raja , drew a laugh from the audience when he said “celebrities are like low hanging fruit.” He spoke on the aspect of how using celebrities is sometimes an easy way out. It is easy to see how celebrities could be eagerly sought for brands, especially stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan who seem to be endorsing every type of product brand and industry in India. They further further discussed that how in the old tradition of advertising and branding the whole magic of the “Big Idea” was being lost to the celebrity becoming the idea.
Vivek Oberoi also commented on brands do not use the celebrities well. He pointed out on how sometimes the advertisers tend to get a little complacent and hoped to use them instead of working on the idea; reducing them to mascots. “Aamir Khan with Coca Cola and “”thanda matlab coca cola”” was one of the most successful ads created and that also utitlised the celebrity well. This is an example of where the idea fits with the celebrity. This works like the movies, if you make an interesting promo for a film, people might be interested to come and watch it, the same way for ads; celebrities used well in ads that are well made, can draw the consumer to come and try the product.” He also went to say that how just by “paying us pot loads of money” the Creative Team expects the celebrity to do what they want, even if they have come up with a poor concept, and a poorly written script expecting the celebrity to pull it off.
VIvek Oberoi in Bangalore
The actor was clearly taking his role as a brand endorser seriously. HIs role in Company, which attracted a lot of tobacco and liquor companies to come forward with a lot of cash to sign him up for their ads. He never did take on the any of these endorsements but it inadvertently acted on his conscience, “Why I even took on the anti-smoking campaign was due to the results of survey that put me and my role in Company as one of the Top 3 reasons why youth take up smoking.”
The general idea and the mood of the panel discussion was that the idea cannot be lost and the celebrity cannot be used as only a prop. The panel discussed that the celebrity should be used as a person, what he stands for personally and not just a pretty face to endorse their brands which in many cases they the celebrities do not really use themselves.
Social Media was also discussed as it acted to bridge the gap between the star and his fans. The example of a trailer, the movie and then the monthly news that was available only in the glossies was fast changing with the presence of the new Media and the internet. Examples of celebrities being used successfully and for a social cause were Amitabh Bachchan in the Polio campaign encouraging people to come out and get polio drops for their kids; Aamir Khan in the new adds promoting India as a safe tourist destination.
Vivek Oberoi who has selflessly done a lot of work during the Tsunami and continues to support a lot of social organizations said, “my social causes are a part of me.”
His closing remark for the evening on how important celebrities were for brands to piggy back on, was, "Idea hero hai!"