For long, the endorsement of beauty products has been the domain of some of the most beautiful and high profile women in the world, but, in line with the rise of the men’s grooming market and changing gender roles, some of the biggest male celebrities are now putting their names to the latest industry products. What’s even more interesting is the trend of male celebs endorsing products such as soaps and perfumes for women, and jewellery.
From Shah Rukh Khan who appears in a popular soap commercial to Amitabh Bachchan and Madhavan who are the brand ambassadors of leading jewellery brands, to Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt who was one of the first male celebrities to become the face of an international perfume brand for women, many male celebs have lent their support to brands that were at one time only endorsed by leading ladies of Hollywood and Bollywood.
Using male celebrities to endorse cosmetics, gold and household products, is a brilliant marketing strategy because the endorsement attracts both male and female customers to the beauty products, feel industry bigwigs. Prahlad Kakkar, one of India’s leading ad film directors, says male celebrities have a larger appeal and wider reach compared with their female counterparts. He explains, “Gender plays a huge role when it comes to product endorsement. In India especially, the male heroes have always been bigger than their female compatriots because all our entertainment is centred around men. Having said that, the ads of female products are anchored by female celebrities so that they don’t lose relevance.”
In the past, popular brands used men effectively in their perfume and soap advertising, but always with women. The men were guest stars in the female-oriented show. Casting agent Karan Mehra says the strategy to use male celebrity brand ambassadors to sell products that are meant for women is likely to be prompted by the massive popularity of male idols among young women, as well as the hope of standing out in a competitive market saturated with female stars and models in cosmetics ads. He muses, “The idol effect has paid off with big sales to most companies. For women, while the products they use are primarily for a personal experience, the reaction and acknowledgment they get from others is equally important.”
Speaking about the consumer’s approach, Aarthi Khanna, a Pune-based product analyst says, “Female consumers are more easily persuaded by a celebrity’s claims about a product and respond more favourably to an ad having male celebrity endorsers. On the other hand, in the case of men, they prefer endorsements from male celebrities. For a company, targeting the female segment, opting for a male celebrity endorsement is a wise option because it appeals to both sexes.”