Endorsements - A Crucial & Controversial Part in Advertisements

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on December 27, 2012

When you go for shopping in a supermarket and you come across many brands of various products. When you see a brand, it immediately reminds you of the celebrity who has endorsed or promoted the brand. For instance, Lux may remind you of Shahrukh Khan, Ashwariya Rai or even Katrina Kaif. The image of the celebrity in the ad leaves a lasting impression on your mind which motivates you to buy the product. Endorsements, by famous celebrities, whose personality matches that of the product help to create certain impressions of that brand on consumers. For eg. Bipasha Basu has an image of fitness freak and hence endorses Sugar Free Natura.


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Endorsements play an important role in making the advertisement successful. Endorsements of celebrity with great persona attracts customer to buy that product. India is a nation where people easily believe what their favorite celebrities say. And when it comes to celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikant, who people idolize and have a great respect for, any endorsement by them will highly influence consumers and their buying behavior. Even Sachin Tendulkar and Shahrukh Khan have a great fan following. Sachin being a famous sports personality do attract kids and youngsters who are sports enthusiast. Hence being a sports celebrity, an energy drink, Boost is endorsed by Sachin Tendulkar and even another famous cricketer Kapil Dev. Similarly Pepsi and Lays have gain popularity with advertisements showing so many celebrities both from Bollywood and Cricket which are M. S. Dhoni and Saif Ali Khan, etc. Multiple celebrity endorsement aims at targeting different group of people. Endorsement by famous personalities results in customer retention and brand recall. Endorsements help boost sales like post Amitabh Bachchan Parker recorded a 30% increase in sales.

Endorsement not only helps increase sales but also helps in changing the perception of consumers. For example, when Cadbury was in news for its worm controversies, Amitabh Bachchan featured in the ad and acted as a spokesperson to change the image of the product. Similarly it happened with Amir Khan for his product Coca-Cola controversy when he himself visited the manufacturing plant post which assured public that Coca-cola safe to drink. One statement by testimonial (Amir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan) did change the perception of the consumers towards Coca-Cola and Cadbury. This happens because it’s a human tendency to believe people whom we like, respect and idolize. We all like some or the other celebrities and their actions or their word does have an impact on our buying decisions.

Celebrities are signed as brand ambassador not only for goods but also for promoting events and ideas. Amitabh Bachchan is the brand ambassador for Gujarat Tourism to attract tourists. Similarly, Advertisement of Polio featuring Amitabh Bachchan has increased awareness of Polio vaccinations. Amir Khan’s endorsement for promoting Indian tourism i.e. ‘Incredible India’ sent a message of Atithi Devo Bhava (be polite and humble to tourists).

Now a day’s youngsters get carried away with ads in which style icons are signed as brand ambassadors. Kareena Kapoor being style icon of today’s youth, her appearance in Lakme ad does have a great impact on young girls. Even vibrant colors of Vaio matching with Kareena Kapoor’s dress have attracted girls to buy colorful laptops. Not only youngsters but even women feel connected to the product when they see actress of their age using that product. Olay signed Kajol and Sushmita Sen for their product “7 signs of ageing” so they can relate to their target women segment.

Advertisers are ready to pay crores of rupees to promote the product and to increase the sales. Companies reposition their product and for changing the brand image of the product they sign celebrities for endorsement. Airtel chose A.R.Rehman for repositioning. A.R.Rehman and his music became a big hit for Airtel.


Sr. No.

Potential Advantages

Potential Hazards


Increased attention

Overshadow the brand


Image polishing

Public controversy


Brand introduction

Image change and overexposure


Brand repositioning

Image change and loss of public recognition


Underpin Global Campaigns










Apart from having the advantages like instant recall, endorsements also have some disadvantages like it increases the cost of selling and distribution and thus having a direct effect on selling price. For instance, Pantene entered the market with complete repositioning of the product and endorsed many actresses like Shilpa Shetty, Sonakshi Sinha and Katrina Kaif and was successful but new Pantene came with increased price.

But the problem with endorsements doesn’t end with disadvantages because the bigger question is, “Is celebrity endorsement ethical?” Two major concerns with ethics of endorsements are of authenticity of user and socially harmful products. The first concern arises when the celebrity endorsing a product doesn’t actually use it. So when Shahrukh Khan endorses Hyundai i10, he does not use it actually. Other concern is when endorsements are done for products that are harmful to the society. When Sanjay Dutt was endorsing tobacco (Gutka), doctors had sent a letter requesting him to stop the endorsements because there are many youngsters who blindly follow him.

Thus, marketers should be very careful in choosing their brand ambassadors, looking at their advantages and disadvantages and must be ethical in all ways.

This article has been authored by Dimple Virani & Karishma Savani from K J Somaiya.

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