DELHI: Deepika Padukone endorsing realty firm Ace Group is the latest entrant in the long list of celebrities and cricketers becoming brand ambassadors for developers, who are all out to attract buyers this festive season.
Aishwarya Rai made news recently with her Lodha group ad for its Mumbai luxury residential project. Shah Rukh Khan, too has been all over on Mahagun billboards. Many industry watchers see this just as another marketing gimmick by developers. But, others think the exercise could add value to realty brands.
Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director, CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd, says, "It is a brand building exercise. Developers want to draw attention towards their projects and celebrities give confidence to consumers."
However, he is quite skeptical of such marketing tools generating sales for developers. "These will have only marginal impact on sales, but people will be able to recall brands immediately."
"The trend of real estate developers going for celebrities to endorse their projects is picking up very fast because it gives them (developers) a direct connect with the people all across. It is a great driver for brand building. Besides, this marketing tool gives small developers visibility which is difficult to generate otherwise," an executive with a leading realty firm said.
Santosh Desai, CEO, Future Brands, says since the real estate market is down and there is general doubt over builders, endorsement by celebrities is a way of assuring consumers about their products. "It is ultimately a marketing gimmick. Beyond a point, consumers get jaded very quickly. What kind of impact, it (celebrity endorsement) would have on the sector, it is difficult to say. There is suspicion in the mind of consumers, we need more transparent regulations as this sector is under regulated from consumers' point of view."
The other Bollywood stars associated with real estate companies include Kareena Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, Kangana Ranaut, Rajeev Khandelwal, Prachi Desai, Sushmita Sen, Neetu and Rishi Kapoor. Cricketers such as M S Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag amongst others, have also endorsed developers.
Even international stars - Maria Sharapova and Formula One star Michael Schumacher - have been roped in by Homestead to promote their projects
Magazine adds, with overall budget on advertisement coming down in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), the real estate sector is offering good endorsement opportunity to celebrities.
Shweta Jain, executive director - residential services Cushman and Wakefield, agreed that endorsement by celebrities in realty segment creates additional level of identity for a product. "It is easier for a common man to relate to a celebrity. It also creates an additional outreach for developers to their audience. Ultimately, it is a brand building exercise and a marketing mechanism."
Developers battling slowdown are determined to make a success of the festive season, and star endorsement is an easy route they have chosen.