Snapshot – Car endorsements by celebrities are notorious for falling by the wayside. From Amitabh Bachchan to Sachin Tendulkar, the biggest crowd pullers in the country have been used by automakers to promote their vehicles, to no avail. There’s one more side to this story though, of successful celebrity car endorsements.
Whichever way you see it, the strength of the car usually prevails, and the celebrity rides on this strength rather than the other way around. So, why have celebrity car endorsements at all? This is a question that the marketeers at car makers can answer better. Cliched it may seem but for now though, let’s take a look at celebrity car endorsements that worked.
Shahrukh Khan for the Hyundai Santro
Hyundai was a brand unknown to the Indian car buyer, when the South Korean automaker entered the country way back in 1998. And right from the outset, Hyundai aimed at market leader Maruti Suzuki’s jugular. It needed a known face to peddle its cars to hero worshipping Indians. Shahrukh Khan, a Bollywood megastar at the peak of his fame fit the role to a T. The rest as they say is history. The Santro hatchback and its newer iteration, the Santro Xing, became a hot seller, making Hyundai a household name in the country. The Shahrukh Khan-Hyundai partnership was the first celebrity car endorsement that caught on with the masses.
Aamir Khan and the Toyota Innova
Toyota went against the grain and pulled off the ultra successful Qualis MUV of the market, and introduced the upmarket Innova MPV. The Japanese automaker needed to convey that the Innova was the future of the company in India, and to do just this, it appointed Bollywood A-Lister Aamir Khan as the MPV’s brand ambassador. While the new MPV took a few months to latch on to the market, once it did, it never looked back. In fact, the Innova’s rise has closely mirrored that of its celebrity endorser.
Shahrukh Khan for the Hyundai i10
After tasting success with the Santro, Hyundai roped in Shahrukh Khan yet again, this time to promote the i10 hatchback. The Hyundai i10 was the Santro Xing’s successor and a car that was a success right from word go. It still is, even after a re-positioning to make way for the Grand i10. Shahrukh Khan has starred in multiple commercials promoting the Hyundai i10. The i10 brought a premium image to the fore and introduced beige interiors to the budget car buying masses.
Madhavan for Maruti WagonR
The Maruti Suzuki WagonR is a clever car. It’s a tall boy hatchback that has comforable ingress and egress, comes with a petrol, CNG and LPG options, and is also loaded with ABS and airbags on the top end variants. While Maruti Suzuki’s outstanding after sales service and the WagonR’s excellent fuel efficiency and low maintenance seals the deal, the automaker chose an everyday actor, R Madhavan in this case, to drive home the point that the hatchback is an everyday car. The marketing strategy has clicked and the WagonR continues to be one of the top selling budget hatchbacks in the country.
Ranveer Singh for the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz was a moment of truth for the automaker. It was meant to push Maruti Suzuki into the premium car territory, an area where the automaker had struggled with for long. Ranveer Singh, an rising Bollywood star has been roped in to promote the Ciaz, and the strategy has worked. The Ciaz is now the second best selling C-Segment sedan in the country, next only to the Honda City. The Ciaz is also holding on to the second place strongly, which is good news for Maruti Suzuki. The automaker plans to introduce more premium cars in the coming months, in the form of the S-Cross crossover and the YRA code-named B+ hatchback.
Kareena Kapoor Khan and the Jaguar XJ
Luxury cars don’t really require celebrity endorsements, but there are always exceptions. One such exception is Kareena Kapoor Khan, who is now the face of the Jaguar XJ luxury saloon. The car goes against stiff competition, in the form of the German trio – the Audi A8, the BMW 7-Series and the Mercedes Benz S-Class. So far, the endorsement seems to be working, and the Jaguar XJ is seen as the much fresher car of the luxury pack. The car is doing steady numbers despite Jaguar-Land Rover lagging behing the German trio in terms of dealerships and after sales reach.