Ever since Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor mentioned in an interview that his marriage to Alia Bhatt was delayed because of the pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in seeing the couple together on screen. In the latest Flipkart Fashion ad (a brand they endorse together), the duo showcases the e-commerce portal’s wide collection.
This is not the first time the Bollywood actors have appeared together in an ad campaign. In 2019, Flipkart Fashion and Lays signed Kapoor and Bhatt together for advertising campaigns when the two were working on their first movie together, Brahmastra.
The duo are not the only off-screen celebrity couple to be roped in by brands as a pair. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone endorsed Jio during IPL 2020 and Lloyd air-conditioners in 2019. Manyavar most famously roped in Anushka Sharma to promote its women’s line of clothing along with cricketer Virat Kohli (who was already associated with the brand and endorsing the menswear line) just ahead of the couple’s wedding. After the two got married, Manyavar returned to the couple’s ‘love saga’ one year later.
The Manyavar ads set a new benchmark in brand endorsements. Using well-known actors who share a chemistry to portray themselves adds texture to an otherwise plain script. “That two celebrities happen to be related is the context that the customer is aware about. This allows the brand to create the kind of imagery and vibe that each of their fans would love, but one that both their fans would remember, in some ways,” says Sunil P, associate vice president – client services, Dentsu Webchutney.
Creating a story that can bring out the dynamic between a pair makes an ad stand out and not get lost among the clutter of brand endorsements.
“Increasingly we are using celebrities as the cast for the brand’s narrative rather than as brand ambassadors. Many a time, the storyline of the brand comes out more interesting if you have a pair,” points out Dheeraj Sinha, CEO and chief strategy officer, South Asia, Leo Burnett.
A star of the stature of Kohli charges about `5-6 crore per day as his endorsement fee, and the rate for a pair could be in the range of `8-12 crore. The investment that goes into recruiting a couple does pay dividends, say branding experts. Through these advertisements, brands hope to double the impact of a campaign by reaching a wider audience and appeal to multiple cohorts of viewers. “Doubling the star power does not necessarily mean double the endorsement fee. The investment turns out to be about one and a half times that of signing on a single star,” says Harish Bijoor, brand consultant and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults.
Further, social media conversations around these celebrities and their appearances together benefit the brand. Brands value these organic mentions of their products. “In an environment where media costs are escalating, organic reach and engagement for any brand is of great value,” says Sunil. For example, on the day of Varun Dhawan’s wedding, the news of Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor getting married soon was ablaze on social media and “any brand which did moment marketing around Alia and Ranbir well, would have seen a measurable improvement in positive sentiment,” he says.