New Delhi, July 29: Top companies are using a growing set of Net celebrities — who enjoy huge popularity on social media platforms — to replace Bollywood and sports stars as brand promoters.
Google has a campaign featuring blogger Archana Doshi, while the MTS television commercials show YouTube singer Shraddha Sharma.
Using online celebrities for endorsements is emerging as a new and cheaper method for brands looking to tap the Net-savvy, high-spending youth market, said advertising experts and industry players.
“This is the age of digital natives. More and more people are spending all available time being connected online, expressing their talents and sharing their lives on the Net. Through the MTS Always On campaign, we want to leverage this new online social media behaviour,” Amitesh Rao, director (brand and media) at MTS India, told The Telegraph.
A recent Nielsen and DataAbsolut survey shows Indians spending more time on social media than email. Almost 58 per cent use Facebook, Twitter, BlogSpot and LinkedIn to discuss products, services and social and political issues.
For businesses, this presents an opportunity of communicating to a large body of consumers at a cheaper cost compared with endorsements using Bollywood celebrities.
For example, Aamir Khan reportedly cost ICICI Bank Rs 10 crore for endorsements, while the Gujarat government spent Rs 40 crore on a series of films featuring Amitabh Bachchan promoting tourism in the state.
Though firms are unwilling to disclose the prices, Internet stars come much cheaper. According to advertising executives, endorsements cost a few lakhs of rupees.
“Each of these Internet celebrities are hugely popular among the youth and are therefore being targeted by brands as promotional tools. The fact that they do not cost as much as traditional celebrities also acts as a plus point,” said Beena George, brand leader with McCann Worldgroup, the leading global marketing communications company.
Telecom operator MTS has used Shraddha Sharma, the 16-year old YouTube singing sensation with more than 50,000 Facebook fans, and Anupam Mukerji of the Fake IPL Player blog fame, who has over 1,50,000 followers of his blog, in a TV commercial. The commercial tries to establish the fact that anybody with talent can become a celebrity with the power of social media in their hands.
Similarly, Internet giant Google — during the launch campaign of its Chrome browser — featured a television commercial on Archana Doshi, a stay-at-home mother who took her passion for cooking to the web through her blog. The global campaign featured real stories of users who have used the Web to improve their lives and businesses.
While brands such as Pepsi, Audi, Dove and Samsung have used bloggers and social media to reach Internet savvy consumers, this is the first time brands are using Internet celebrities on television commercials.