LG ropes in Abhishek Bachchan in bid to appear youthful

MUMBAI: Having been in the country for nine years electronics maker LG is undertaking a new brand identity. It is aiming to appear youthful. It has also changed its image from being just a health brand to a brand that stands for intelligence and futuristic.

For this purpose it has come out with the new intello brand positioning. It has roped in Abhishek Bachchan in order to push its range of home aplliances.

Five TVCs have been shot and directed by Pradeep Sarkar. In the ads, Bachchan is seen to be doing all to make his wife happy. Interestingly each ad features a different woman, a non celebrity, with the aim being to appeal to as many women as possible. In one ad, Bachchan is seen playing a guitar and singing about green freshness which is also what the LG fridge offers. The ads first shows how Bachchan does little things to please his wife. The technology is shown a little later. In this way an emotional connect is built with the viewer.

LG Electronics marketing head Sandeep Tiwari says, "Consumer durable brands have portrayed women as the perfect wife, homemaker or a mother. Through this communication campaign we would like to break through the regular mindset and move up one level by thanking her for what she is.

"A woman feels most delighted when the man in her life acknowledges her efforts and compliments her. Abhishek is the most elgible bachelor in the country. He fit our brief well. His contract is for two years. Interestingly, when we first came into the country in 1997, we did not use any celebrities in our communication.

"The technology was the star of the show. At the same time we realise though that there is an emotional connect that is forged between celebrities and viewers. If used intelligently that connect shines through. That is what we have managed. This year we will spend around Rs. 350 million on marketing our home appliances products. Last year, we spent around Rs. 200 million. Overall, we will spend Rs. 270 crores on marketing activities. This is mainly because of the Champions Trophy. Last year we had spent around Rs. 225 crores."

Sarkar says, "It was fun working with Abhishek. He is a cool guy with charisma. The challenge was to use those qualities to enhance the brand communication. We kept rolling the cameras and encouraged him to be spontaneous like cutting an apple."

When LG launched in 1997 it had focused on the health platform. But as Tiwari notes, "The health platform is now being adopted by a number of 'me too' brands. Also the need of the hour was to graduate to a 'Health Plus' objective for our campaign. Thus came the idea of intello with Intellair Airconditioners, Intellowash washing machines, Intelocook microwave ovens etc. We are also looking at outdoor events with Abhishek."

Tiwari added that mostly LG's campaigns do not have celebrities. An example is the LG Eye ad. Here, the communication used an average child. The conventioanl thinking is that television is bad for the eyes. However, the LG ad showed that with the eye technology, a child is not affected. Tiwari adds that as of now there are no plans to have more celebrities on board.

Also present at a media briefing was Capital Advertising founder H.V. Subramaniam. He spoke about using celebrities as brand ambassadors. "In the US, one of four TVCs features a TVC. In Hong Kong, eight out of the top 10 most recalled ads used a celebrity. Studies show that celebrities in ads work the best when there is a psychological risk in a product.

"A risk comes in the form of a product that defines ones self image. A celebrity takes that risk out of the equation. However, brand managers must remember that a celebrity cannot make people buy an inferior product. That tactic can at best only for people in the short term. A celebrity though can make consumers make better choices. It is also important to show the celebrity with the product in a relevant, credible manner.

"This is where the newer, smaller brands fail the test. There must also be synergy between the brand and celebrity. If the brand is serious and mature and the celebrity is fun loving and comic the communication will not work. In fact, there is the chance that viewers will remember the celebrity and not the brand.

"A case of credibility is the Hyundai Santro ad. It worked well because Shah Rukh Khan was playing himself. He was not playing a character. I remember many years ago doing an ad for BSA SLR bike. We roped in Kapil Dev and Vijay Amritraj. We came out with an idea of having Vijay Amritraj stuck in his car due to traffic. He wanted to reach the venue to play a tennis match. He, therefore, borrows a boys bike and reaches the venue and then goes on to win the match. The lesson here is that you always need to have a strong idea. A celebrity cannot replace that," says Subramaniam.

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