Celebrity Branding

Any readers over the age of 25, will remember the kind of fan following that Aamir Khan created, when Qayamat se Qayamat Tak was released, way back in 1989. (Or 90?) Well, I was one of those teeny bopper fans then and continue to be an ardent Aamir fan today, notwithstanding a few horrible movies like Mela and Fanaa. Whats interesting about Aamir though, is that not only does he choose his movies (usually) with a lot of care, but even the brands that use him in their advertising and promotion, seem to invest a lot of effort – in ensuring that he is used well to showcase some feature of the brand, or add value through his acting , rather than just another celeb ad designed to attract wandering eyeballs.

One brand that has been using Aamir very well for some time now, is Titan. When Aamir appears in these ads, its usually with a well-woven storyline, not just as “Hey, look, Aamir Khan” which is pretty much what some celeb ads do. (Rani Mukherjee for some chappal? Kareena Kapoor for some hair oil? Remember these?) The recent Titan Edge campaign then, is no exception, though its a little subtle. By which I mean I had to see it twice before I understood it, since it goes a little fast.

The basic story is that Aamir straps on his Edge to see crowds appearing, and is bewildered to notice that these crowds vanish as soon as the watch is out of sight. Until ofcourse he makes the connection that it is the watch that is drawing the masses. There is a sort of ironical humour here, for a viewer who knows how big a star Aamir is in reality, while in the ad, the watch draws the crowd. The idea is not entirely new, if you recall Abhishek Bachchan’s Motorola ads. But this one is done much more quietly, with Aamir’s face and the on-off appearance of the crowd saying everything.


Another ad on air right now, with Aamir acting in it, is the Toyota Innova ‘Many Roles One Car’ campaign. I am not sure what the objective of the campaign really was, but it does get across the message that the Innova is not necessarily a car for a large family only, but for the active/talented individual who dons many hats. Perhaps the idea was to make the vehicle more attractive to nuclear families who may be considering the Innova mainly as a large family car.


Ofcourse the earlier Innova ads showed precisely the opposite, where we had 6 or 8 different Aamirs in various guises sitting inside! I wouldn’t say this particular ad is exactly fantastic, but it has a nice feel to it visually, and again, capitalises on Aamir’s image as an actor who has done many different roles. That sort of goes well with the ‘Many Roles’ tag for the car, which a more popular, but limited actor like Shahrukh probably couldn’t really do.

Any other such actors where you feel the ads have worked beautifully using them? Or not?

(All pics courtesy Agencyfaqs)



  1. Many for not- ab, SRK, sachin- all are bad across
    kajol in the new reliance ad is irritating and intrusive

    Ben Affleck was fantastic in Axe, remember Dimple in Crowning Glory??

  2. india poised ad with amitabh in my opinion has workek. remove Amitabh from teh scene, I can’t think of any other living iconic spokesman who will be registered. politics- none, may be kalam cud have stood there, sports.. dubious…, but if u need a voice of india and icon of india AB is the one who is understood and known by the masses, u can experience the ad without opening your eyes too and the effect will not be less…

  3. Interesting read both this one and the previous.But I find my husband surfing channels during commercial breaks and wonder whether a good majority do the same.the what;s tha point?

  4. Art – true, most of them seem to be cases where the celebrity doesnt add anything; Also perhaps overexposure? Dimple was fab + at a time when we didn’t have so much TV…

    Itchy – I actually haven’t seen this one, but my view on AB is a little different – I feel he is seen too often – and therefore maybe the “awe” in which he was held has come down?

    Padma, tks…but even if you surf, do you notice how many of them have ad breaks at the same time? you do end up watching some of them some of the time!

  5. Apu – funny, I was just thinking of QAQT the other day. I think it was the first movie that really impinged on my consciousness – my cousin, who was a full fledged teen at the time – was MAD over it and I tried to copy her in all ways and thought I had to be mad over it too. Which is the reason I’m sort of ambivalent about Aamir now: I dont know if I really like him or I’m trying to do the “right” thing.

    I’m weird, I know 😀

    I saw that ad a day or so back. They really have done a good job with it, far better than the first ones imo, the ones with the servant and the watch collection, do you remember?

  6. Amrita, that is the weirdest thing 🙂

    Actually, I liked the one with the servant also, but yeah, this is more subtle…

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