Perspective | Changing 'Faces' of television commercials...!

Revamping and innovating concepts, approaches and treatments as per the needs and demands of the consumer is an imbibed trait in the business of advertising, for brands / marketers and the creative teams. Supported by the constantly evolving advertising world and its tools; brands are lapping up to newer concepts every day. This has, in large ways, assisted the art and business of advertising undergo tremendous changes through the years. But what caught our attention of the changing ‘face’ of India television commercials. The stylishly dressed and glamorous looking models and celebrities, who seem to be selling everything under sun, are soon slipping down the ladder of brands selecting their brand ambassador.

Off-lately we see a lot of marketers picking some ‘un-usual’ faces for their TV advertising campaigns. Noted actors like Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan, Prem Chopra, Shakti Kapoor, Ranjeet, Mona Singh etc have now appeared on TV commercial making it a delightful change of viewing ads. While these may be actors par excellence, most of them cannot be or do not hold the stardom factor, unlike Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Ruhk Khan, Priyanka Chopra etc, who also feature in numerous television commercials. To top it all some of the brands have been seen using common people in their TVCs to equate their brand’s essence.

We at Adgully caught up with industry veterans and experts from marketers to ad-film maker and ad-agencies on what makes them have atypical choices as 'faces’ for their TVC’s.

Rahul Mathwe, Creative Head, DDB Mudra West opined, “In a room of perfect faces, chances are you'll remember the person with a crooked nose. Advertising has always sought to find ways to differentiate itself from the clutter. Once it was using celebs to differentiate from the usual suspects of models which then turned into a usual suspect of celebs of a certain look, genre and following, endorsing everything under the sun and that's where the so-called unusual faces of lesser stardom, started to step in to break the clutter. And real faces are yet another way of breaking the clutter of too much stardom, whatever level it maybe. But some bits of all this is also because we have forgotten that the greatest clutter breaker is a great idea.  And today we aren't creating and selling as many good ideas as we should.”

Rupika Raman, General Manager, Garnier, feels that the brands always go for right mix of both - the product and the face they choose for their product. “Even we at Garnier also choose some lesser known faces in our advertisements because for that particular ad, those faces are appealing for the product we are promoting and do not need a celebrity or a glamorous face", she added.

Vikramaditya Motwane, a well-known ad-film and Hindi film - maker feels the advertising space itself is quite big and has evolved. “I personally feel that if a common and a not-so-preferred face like Nawazuddin are taken in a commercial, it adds much deeper value with the approach such faces has. Also at the same time I am personally in favour of common people as advertising is something that is meant for common people and the kind of target audience that the product caters to. No doubt about the fact that the stardom has more impact but at the same time Ranjeet Sahab and Nana Patekar have their own set of impact on the audience”, he said.

Nitesh Tiwari, National Creative Director, Leo Burnett and Film Director second’s Motwane’s opinion that advertising world is evolving every single day and so is becoming more and more competitive as well making everyone wishing to stand ahead of the curve. 

  “However, what is important is to understand the fact that we as the agency personnel have no role to play in terms of deciding who will be the face of the campaign, it is the client who decides. Our role in the picture is to create a campaign around these faces. The face chosen has to be synonymous to the brand and yes undoubtedly advertisers are keenly picking up not the usual faces”. 

Guneet Monga, Film Producer said, “I believe the changes in choices began from Irrfan Khan about 2-3 years back. I feel choosing such faces adds a complete different meaning and may sometimes have a makeover brands doing it. Also, being simple and real is much tougher and challenging. We in the advertising industry sometimes hide behind glitz and glamour as it is tough to pull off something simple. Hence with names like Nawaaz, Irfan, Nana Patekar etc on board, devising concepts of a campaign is also challenging as they are actors par excellence and hence would lay a strong impact on the audience”. 

Is literally the ‘face’ of Advertising changing?

Raman said, "No I don’t think so as undoubtedly celebrities connect to audience in a much bigger and better way and bring their own set of values and personality with the product; but sometimes you can also have a communication with non-celeb / unknown face. Finally, the consumer wants to see the product, what the brand is offering to them and what is the value is he / she going to get out of the product. Quintessential or not, faces on TVC’s add ability to break through clutter and simplifies the code of communicating. More than the (television) ‘Face’ of advertising being changed it is about adding strong connect in the advertising approach. Yes, the above mentioned faces are not-so-preferred by the brands and ad-agencies but such faces do add value to a campaign in terms of approach and reach.”

Monga opined that it is too early to say that the ‘Face’ of TV advertising is changing as today even big players are trying to play ordinary. In terms of whether the ‘Face’ is changing or not, Tiwari believes that it is a welcome sign. 

“The entire communication way is changing day by day and it is not only reflected in the ad-world but in the movie industry too. More than the above mentioned faces, I feel the new faces are getting accepted and praised in the ad-industry. Advertising personals are focusing towards connecting with their consumers in a much deeper and impactful way and hence such choices are made but it is too early to say that; the face of television commercial / advertising is changing”, he added. 

While fewer brands may join the bandwagon of unusual faces for their television commercial and may believe, its just a handful of players who are doing it, in the race to stay ahead of the ‘innovation’ and ‘differentiated’ curves.


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