Does Having A Celebrity Brand Ambassador Work on Social Media? Across All Audiences?

Brands have been using celebrity brand ambassador since 30+ years. Famous actors, actresses, sports stars & now even literary figures have been used as brand ambassador drawing the persona and the appeal of the celebrity to build / strengthen the brand persona, trust & appeal.

Celebrity brand ambassadors worked great on TV as the medium was best suited for their status, personality and charm. The broad reach of TV and the lack of specific targeting necessitated choice of ambassadors with large, broad-based following. But does the same apply to social / digital media? Should brands continue to use their celebrity films /ads on social media? When brands target audiences narrowly, how does celebrity factor impact campaigns?

As part of our early #marteching experiments we were tasked with taking a celebrity ad film (for a hair oil brand) and achieve maximum coverage of target audience in specified geography. The analysis of our multiple campaigns on Facebook reveals an interesting data point / insights into how audiences engage with celebrities that may be useful to other marketers. Here is our case study – The Impact of a Gorgeous Actress on Social Media!

The Brand Ambassador

Tamannah Bhatia is a leading actress of Telugu and Tamil films. She has also appeared in a few Hindi films. Through her successful career, Tamannaah has become one of the most popular celebrities in South India. In addition to acting, she also participates in stage shows and is a prominent celebrity endorser for brands and products.

The Brand

Samvridhi Hair Oil, is a relatively new brand of hair oil introduced by Banjara’s Herbals, an upcoming consumer products company with a portfolio of herbal products sold predominantly in south India markets. Clearly, Tamannah Bhatia is a great choice for a hair oil brand given her long black hair.

The ad film

Banjara’s created an ad-film that focusses on the top USP of the product – rapid hair growth via the communication line – grow your hair 8 inches in 8 weeks. Tamannah endorses this via a hand gesture which became very popular in AP & TN via sustained TV advertising. The ad film is here

The challenge

Even after spending a fair deal on TV advertising with local channels, the brand awareness surveys showed very few target users were aware of the product / brand especially on social media. Could it be that social media users were not viewers of regional channels? Social media users, especially women in the 25-35 age bracket were the primary target customer for the company. If they were not able to recall the product or the ad, clearly the TV advertising was not reaching them. Something had to be done different.

The campaigns

Pariksha’s social media #marteching team took all the data from Banjara’s website (, the buyer data/insight from the marketing team, the analytics from the youtube channel, where some money had been spent) to understand what works, what does not and how to position the campaign.

The campaigns were created with a “teaser” communication approach – playing on the story of the ad film where college girls reveal the secret of their long hair to Tamannah. The plan was to make users curious and use a preview of Tamannah to get clicks to the video. Since the company wanted deep coverage of social media users in the target markets, the budget was appropriately calculated based on total addressable users and average cost per reach / cost per view. Multiple campaigns were designed with different creatives and different target groups so that the user behavior could be analyzed and some insights gathered – the primary being reach-to-click ratio, the cost of views, the time duration of view etc.

The results / Insights based on data
  1. Though the brand has been targeting the 18-30 female consumer as its primary end-user segment, the view-to-reach ratio (The number of end users who viewed the celebrity featured ad from the number of people who were served the ad) suggests that the highest appeal for the celebrity is in the 30-45 female segment. Of course the difference is small, 49% for the latter to 45% for the former.

    An interesting observation is that even though there is slightly higher engagement of the older audience the population of older audience on Facebook is smaller, which increases the cost per view in their case (see Table 2).

    Video Campaign View/Reach
    Samvridhi TVC Women 18-30 0.45
    Samvridhi TVC Women 30-45 0.49
  2. The appeal of the celebrity begins to go down once we increase the age range for the target audience. The hypothesis that the celebrity appeals to senior citizens and 40+ women with young kids is resting on shaky grounds.
  3. There is a dramatic reduction of cost per view if we add young men (18-25) to the audience. A top actress and celebrity is clearly a draw for this target group. But few of them are “buyers” of the product and/or even referrers for the product. Marketers may be lulled into believing that they are getting significant eye-balls but in fact the brands are burning $$$ by targeting non-consumers and providing the audience only an “entertainment” option.

    Video Campaign Cost per Result (INR)
    Samvridhi TVC Women 18-30 2.27
    Samvridhi TVC Women 30-45 3.08
    Samvridhi TVC Men & Women 18-30 1.25
    Samvridhi TVC Men 18-25 1.13
Posted On:  June 28, 2016,  By Arvind Jha