Escorts Nanda Extracts Bachchan Dowry!

Updated: Oct 18 2002, 05:30am hrs
Some call it portfolio power. Others worry why the mega star is stretching his endorsements to confusing proportions. The debate be damned! For the Big B, whether it is singing mere angne mein for Mulayam Singh Yadavs election rallies in Mainpuri or lending a helping hand to Escorts tractors owned by his daughters in-laws, to be or not to be is seldom the question. Just do it, the 60-year old star has believed, often with superlative results.

So, here he is now, endorsing Indias number 3 tractor company in a double role, one Amitabh educating the other. Promising that Escorts tractors mean fuel saving and reliability. Not on Star or Sony. But Doordarshan, Lashkara and ETC. Thats what the farmers watch, silly!

On their way are endorsements from actor Sunny Deol too.

What does the casting coup mean for the Nandas Great going, analysts in the advertising industry seem to say. There are some people whose appeal cuts across class, caste and creed. I think Amitabhs star power can be used to attract both rural and urban consumers. You can easily call him an uncommon phenomena. Potentially, Amitabh can carry off any product endorsement, but the rest depends on how credible and creative the communication strategy is, explains Leo Burnett India managing director Arvind Sharma.

For Escorts, the argument couldnt be simpler. Theres a clutter of brands as far as farmers are concerned. So, how to differentiate and communicate the brand values was the real issue. Market surveys were conducted on farmers all over India. For respondents drawn from UP, Punjab, Haryanathese states comprise 50 per cent of Indias total tractor market, as well as the market for Escorts Bachchan was the icon. He could do no wrong!

Now, what about the money Was Amitabh paid Escorts would like to keep all this confidential. The payments would be spread over the next two years is all that the company would say for now.

The brand values that Escorts was looking for in their Powertrac and Josh range were trust, reliability, and family values.

Amitabh represented all of these and more. Our survey threw up a couple of options. Amitabh was chosen as he is a legend. He has stood for these values. Theres no better person who can communicate these values across the entire spectrum, says a pleased Escorts agri-machinery head Rakesh Chopra.

For Chopra, son of the soil Sunny Deol is the other absolute fit. Deol will be shown jean-clad et al, representing the new age Punjabi farmer oozing power and premium. The AB campaign was directed by ad maker Rakesh Mehra (of Aks fame). The Deol campaign is being directed by Kailash Surendranath. Escorts will spend Rs 5 crore in advertising in the next three months.

(With inputs from Mumbai by Lalitha Srinivasan)