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Brand Youth

Bharati Dubey

Commercial endorsement deals are often considered the barometer of silver screen appeal. In today’s context, youth connect and relatability factors seem to govern the strategies and approach of major brands. No wonder, many plum offers are landing on the lap of young and emerging stars. Not just that, they seem to have largely pipped their industry seniors in the race for endorsements.Catching them young

One of the reasons for brands largely switching over from senior actors to the Young Turks is that 60 per cent of the country’s population is in the 15-35 age bracket. So, a young brand ambassador wields greater influence on this age group in choosing products.

To name a few, Alia Bhatt has replaced Priyanka Chopra as the brand ambassador of a two-wheeler while Shraddha Kapoor has been roped in for a hair removal product’s ad campaign that already has Katrina Kaif as its face. And no, don’t presume the young stars are signed up as they wouldn’t demand as much money as their seniors.

Marketing strategist Prabhat Choudhary says, “Brands need to make themselves relevant to this (young) consumer group. While the appeal of the Khans remains unchallenged, there is a whole lot of endorsements that Bollywood’s young brigade is bagging. Interestingly, this is not just limited to the metro audiences, but smaller towns are also very much a part of this change.”

Switch over

Fashion photographer Atul Kasbekar, who owns a celebrity management company, agrees with Choudhary.  “It must also be noted that the kind of brands you see senior talents endorse changes over time. For example, a cricketer endorsing a cola at one point in his career may move over to financial services or real estate later — areas where respect and credibility are the values the brand seeks to align with,” he explains.

Social marketing

Younger stars like Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and Arjun Kapoor are connected to their fans through social media platforms, which is an added advantage for the brands. Sushant Singh Rajput, who was not quite social media savvy initially, took the digital route to promote brands he has endorsed. Others like Ranveer Singh and Aditya Roy Kapur are in demand due to their huge fan following.

Anirban Blah, who heads a celebrity and sports management agency, says in a young country like India, it is natural for brands to look for youth icons. “Ranbir Kapoor is the first choice to reach out to consumers. For a college-goer, a Tiger Shroff is more relatable than an older star. But someone like Shah Rukh Khan has a universal reach which cannot be easily matched,” he states.

Long term bond

The brands look at long term investment as well as freshness needed for their products.

So, when any brand looks at a revamp, their first choice is to go for a younger brand ambassador. For, they lend an undertone of novelty to an ad campaign. An industry source says: “They are willing to

go that extra mile and understand the importance of new age marketing.”

Ashish Patil of Yash Raj Films’ talent management wing sums up the growing visibility of young actors in the ad space, stating: “The hot new brigade of stars brings in new youthful energy to campaigns, makes the brands more relatable besides bringing in additional reach with their presence across social media platforms and more. They are also very creatively involved. This makes it an unbeatable combo to ignore for most marketers. Not surprisingly, bulk of the deals are renewed year after year.”

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