Should Brands Endorsed by Salman Khan Drop Him – Strategy with RS

The trailer of Salman’s next film Bajrangi Bhaijaan released recently and in a short span of time accrued lakhs of views. I saw it too and I pose this question to you – if Salman Khan was endorsing your brand would you drop him from your campaign? I would.

Celebrity Endorsement is based on the marketing concept of Brand Attribution. The celebrity has certain traits associated with her/him. When a Brand wishes those traits to be associated with them, they sign up the celebrity to endorse their brand. Through the association of the celebrity, many of these ‘celebrity’ traits get rubbed on to the brand. Also fans of the celebrity start having a favorable view of the brand and may end up patronising them.

Now let’s get back to Salman Khan. Before conviction, the traits associated with him were – superstar, bold, fearless, macho, daredevil, winner & more. Brands like Thumbs Up, who wished these traits to be associated with them, signed on Salman Khan for endorsement.

Now with his conviction, the traits that are likely to be associated with him,over time, could be – law-breaker, criminal, negligent. And if a brand continues to be endorsed by him then there are fair chances that these traits may get rubbed on to the brand.

People buy brands that reflect them. Existing customers of Thumbs Up who do not see themselves as ‘law-breaker, criminal, negligent…’ may move away from it should Salman Khan continues to endorsed it.

What would you do If Salman Khan was endorsing your brand?

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In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous Strategy with RS posts can be found here

Comments

8 comments

Abir Nandi

I agree with your points, sir. But I don’t see Thums-up dropping him anytime soon, despicable as he may be, especially if BajBh makes money. Most of our fellow Indians are way too much enamored by ‘Bhai’ and they don’t give two hoots about ‘law-breaker, criminal, negligent’ rubbing off on to the brand. If the majority of the customers don’t care, it’s highly unlikely the company will.

Rajesh Srivastava

Yes Abir you are right. But a brand has to take a long term view – in the short term it will be beneficial for Thumbs Up … but in the long term it may prove to be detrimental.

Jaspreet Singh

Hi sir,
I would focus on the flip side of the scenario you have presented. Considering the wide support salman got from his fans during this entire episode.. hanging on with salman with infact further increase the loyalty of his fans towards the brand. Continuing with him would be a virtual support to him and that might help in retaining or obtaining a favourable position for the brand in the minds of the customers.

Rajesh Srivastava

Jaspreet yes there are a relatively large number of fans of Salman who would go to extreme level for Salman. But if you did a dip stick study to find out how many customers of Thumbs Up would blindly follow Salman to the end of the world … I feel the proportion may be less …

Rohit Gupta

Hi Sir,
I am not a Salman Khan fan. Even though I like to have thumps up eveytime whenever i prefer to drink some coldrink. I believe advertisement can attract the customer first time after that its brand quality that sustain its customers. I am still in doubt how Salman Khan’s conviction will affect the brand.

Rajesh Srivastava

Rohit Gupta why do brands go in for celebrity endoresement? Celebrity Endorsement is based on the marketing concept of Brand Attribution. The celebrity has certain traits associated with her/him. When a Brand wishes those traits to be associated with them, they sign up the celebrity to endorse their brand. Through the association of the celebrity, many of these ‘celebrity’ traits get rubbed on to the brand. Also fans of the celebrity start having a favorable view of the brand and may end up patronising them. Now let’s get back to Salman Khan. Before conviction, the traits associated with him were – superstar, bold, fearless, macho, daredevil, winner & more. Brands like Thumbs Up, who wished these traits to be associated with them, signed on Salman Khan for endorsement.
Now with his conviction, the traits that are likely to be associated with him,over time, could be – law-breaker, criminal, negligent. And if a brand continues to be endorsed by him then there are fair chances that these traits may get rubbed on to the brand.