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There’s Sourav, and then there’s the rest... A look at who’s pushing which product and why

Two months back, when he sat in an empty stadium, as a spectator, and pleaded with us to support a Team India that had no place for him — and also pick up a bottle of Pepsi — we cringed.

Today, we crow. For Sourav Ganguly is back where he belongs — in the middle, in whites now and in blues soon. And in the advertising space — on billboards now, on screen in a big way soon.

“Sourav’s ‘can-do’ image and his strong traits are reflected through his personality... Pepsi is all about making an impression through sheer force of persona which Sourav has helped in reinforcing,” says Ravi Kapoor, general manager of Pepsico India Pvt Ltd.

What about cricket’s Royal Bengal Tiger being made to mew in the Pepsi Blue Billion campaign' “Since Sourav was out of the team we wanted to generate the feel through him that it does not matter where you stand or what you do, you can still be with the team and carry the spirit,” says Kapoor.

Now, of course, the roar is back. Not just from Sourav’s blade but also from the product pushers who have partnered him all the way. “We have stuck to Sourav for the past five years because he is an icon. Sourav being mentally agile and physically fit goes very well with Sona Chandi Chyawanprash. We have acquired more than 10 per cent share of the national market in five years and due credit goes to Sourav,” smiles Aditya Agarwal, director of Emami Group.

With Sourav back in full flow, we turn the spotlight on a recent phenomenon — local celebrities on billboards. “A celebrity face is a clutter-breaker and so companies take the easy way out. Many products borrow an attribute of the celebrity’s image. Besides, ads are a fantastic means of publicity and easy money for celebrities,” says marketing expert and Metro columnist Shiloo Chattopadhyay.

Here are some top celebrity faces in town, urging us to buy this and eat that, wear this and shed that...


What: Lux Cozi

Why he chose it: “Lux Cozi is a national brand and it uses good stars for its campaigns. Besides, it fitted with my image of a macho man... I choose ads that go with my image.”

Why they chose him: “We are expanding the market in Bengal and so we were looking for a big name. Prosenjit’s image of a macho, yet gentle, man suited our product” — Ashok Todi, chairman and managing director, Lux Hosiery.

Tag line: Tollywood’s hero number one remains a big fish.


What: Anmol Marie Biscuit, Nike, Kingfisher, Wai Wai Noodles

Why he chose them: “The basic reason for me doing ads is money. It has to be an established brand and a product I can associate with. Anmol Marie is a big brand and it’s also an energy biscuit which I can connect with as a sports star.”

Why they chose him: “We were focusing on the eastern part of the country where football is a huge craze; our target age group is 18-to-30 for whom Bhaichung is a role model. He was the right person to give a boost to our product, especially during World Cup ’06” — Mrinal Sen, general manager, marketing, Anmol Biscuits.

Tag line: Sporty and clean image makes him a winner.


What: Simoco Mobiles, B.C. Sen Jewellers

Why she chose them: “Simoco came as a welcome break as I got to sport a very westernised look... It enhances my versatility and earns me recognition among non-Bengalis too... I’m interested only in reputed brands.”

Why they chose her: “Swastika is young, smart and can handle a phone with style; that fits well with the Simoco handsets, designed for today’s woman. Swastika, who has done Bengali and Oriya films, could help create demand in the east” — Sanjoy Ghosh, managing director, Simoco Telecommunications South Asia Ltd.

Tag line: Her time is right here, right now.


What: Lakme, D’damas

Why she chose them: “Both Lakme and D’damas are reputed brands; being associated with good brands boosts your screen image. Besides, the pay in advertising is very good.”

Why they chose her: “Good looks are necessary, but personality, character and presence are also a must. The Lakme face must embody the characteristics of the brand” — Anuradha Narasiman, marketing manager, Lakme Lever.

Tag line: Makes a pretty picture and has easy recall because of lineage.


What: A. Sirkar Jewellers

Why she chose them: “I have a long and deep relationship with A. Sirkar; they are not just a product for me. But in other cases, the product has to go with my image.”

Why they chose her: “Roopa has been associated with us for a long time; she has great dignity which translates into great value for us. She has the capability to adapt herself to situations and age without compromise, which is what A. Sirkar stands for” — Brinda Ganguly Sirkar, of A. Sirkar.

Tag line: Can carry off both the traditional and the trendy.


What: Thums Up

Why he chose it: “Thums Up is the only ad in which I play the parar chhele. It gave me a different kind of exposure and recognition, especially among those who don’t watch commercial Bengali films... I would choose local established brands or those that have a national standing. The package of script, promo plans and pay is important.”

Tag line: Both a star and a boy- next-door.


What: Sreeleathers, Airtel, Ilam Pearl Mineral Water, Branolia...

Why he chose them: “I endorse a product only when I believe in it or for the benefit of society. Whatever I earn from ads are donated for some philanthropic cause.”

Why they chose him: “Stars define style and can be trend-setters” — Hirak Shubhro Chattopadhyay, senior general manager, Sreeleathers.

Tag line: He’s here, there, everywhere.


What: Gold’s Gym (brand ambassador for Calcutta), Kookie Jar

Why they chose him: “Primarily because of his credibility as a person and a professional. Second, Sabyasachi is synonymous with quality, be it his clothes or anything else” — Divya Himatsingka, director, Gold’s Gym.

Tag line: Smart and successful symbol of a new city.


What: Genexx Valley, Kookie Jar, Thacker’s Dairy Products...

Why he chose them: “I’m a classical musician which gives certain companies an interesting position. Also, if an ad is positioned well and made classy, they can improve our standing. I endorse things I can associate with.”

Why they chose him: “We used Bickram Ghosh because he is rooted to the city and our product is also very specific to Calcutta” — Lovey Burman, of Kookie Jar.

Tag line: A flamboyant figure, and very visible.


What: D.K. Basak Jewellers, Whitewash Washing Powder...

Why she chose them: “It is a win-win for both parties. Also, shooting for ads is not time-consuming and most companies are ready to pay well.”

Why they chose her: “Since our business is women-oriented and in line with fashion and style, an actress is the best bet. Using Rachana has attracted greater attention” — Dipak Basak, director, D.K. Basak Jewellers.

Tag line: Big appeal in a small section.

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