Small realty cos embrace celebrities to boost sales

Written by Vishakha Talreja | Rajat Guha | Rajat Guha | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 26 2010, 05:24am hrs
With property prices hitting the roof again, small realty players are roping in celebrities as brand ambassadorts to sell their housing projects.

Delhi-based realty firm Amrapali has roped in cricket icon MS Dhoni while Assotech has got former miss universe Sushmita Sen to endorse its projects. Down south, Bangalore-based Fortuna has Jackie Shroff. Bengal-based Shrachi Housing Development has Mithun Chakraboty, realty firm Eden has Konkana Sen Sharma and Bengal Peerless Housing Development has got tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi. Though our projects target the common man, masses dont really know about developers. Having a brand ambassador adds to the credibility of the developer and adds to the brand value. Having a popular face as your brand ambassador definitely impacts sales indirectly, if not directly. It makes more sense to have an ambassador in todays scenario when realty players are focussing on affordable housing and also projects in tier II cities, said Anil Kumar Sharma, CMD, Amprapali. The Delhi-based realy player has roped in popular cricketer MS Dhoni as its brand ambassador. Delhi-based realty firm, Assotech Builders MD Sanjeev Srivastav, who has just signed Bollywood diva Sushmita Sen as brand ambassdor for its new housing complexes, said Celebrity endorsement works little better if there is a direct connect with the celebrity and the brand. Moreover, it is also economical at times as promotion of a property through a celebrity reduces our costs which we would have incurred on other areas to promote our properties.

Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar points out that the real estate market is so cluttered that realty players are resorting to brand ambassadors. It will definitely translate to brand recall for these developers but having a popular face as your brand ambassador cannot serve as the companys USP. Also another pertinent point is having a brand ambassador is one thing and sustaining an ad campaign another. Can these small players, who dont even have national presence, really sustain an ad campaign he asks. Compensations to brand ambassadors for such purposes are made in terms of property packages as well as cash-cum-property deals. It again depends from builder to builder. In our case its part-property and part cash deal with Sen, Srivastav said.

Sufi singer Kailash Kher has a view that when a brand ambassador is the user himself, it gives an emphatic validation to the properties. I have a small following in the public because of my art. If people see me buying a house in Athens'property and espousing for the same, they may think about being my neighbour, Kher said.

Kolkata-based Eden Group has signed up two time national award winning actress, Konkona Sen Sharma to be its brand ambassador. Bengal Shrachi Housing Development, a joint venture between Shrachi Group and West Bengal Housing Board, has got its township project in Burdwan called Renaissance endorsed by the famed actor and the original Kolkata superstar Mithun Chakraborty.

There are a few exceptions though. Real estate biggy DLF says the company itself is the biggest brand ambassdor for its properties.