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SRK-Jaago Re tie-up: Do topical associations work?

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srk-jaago-reOn International Women’s Day, on March 8, the king of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), screamed through front pages of national newspapers, “Women should not be equal to men.”
That was the headline of the ad of Tata Tea’s long time social campaign – Jaago Re. The body copy however clarified, “In fact they should always be ahead of men.”

The campaign has for long taken up social issues like corruption. However, mired in the controversy following the ‘Radia Tapes’, Tata had lied low with the campaign and was amiss during the Anna movement. Many brand experts thought that Tata had let go off a good opportunity to be associated with the movement. Probably Tata didn’t want to be seen politically aligned and let the phase pass through. However, lately, it revived the campaign, and this time urging to make a “Choti Shuruaat’ like exercising the right to vote and being a law-abiding citizen – like wearing a helmet while riding a bike and not triple-riding.

The campaign featuring SRK was an extension of ‘Choti Shuruat’ and as per company sources was a topical and one-time campaign. As a small beginning, SRK will always put his female co-stars’ names before his in all his films. However, the bigger question is how effective these one-off campaigns are and how much do they add to the brand value?

Santosh Desai, MD & CEO, Future Brands

Santosh Desai, MD & CEO, Future Brands

Marketing expert, and MD and CEO, Future Brands, Santosh Desai, feels that brands should refrain from associating themselves with topical issues. “These kinds of campaigns are based on topical issues – something that has been happening and even though they might look powerful in the beginning, they lose their sheen over some time.”

In his opinion, topical events are best left to be marketed at popularised by retailers and “big brands like Tata should not follow such an approach.”

Banking on topical issues might just be a short-cut for lack of creative thinking. “Tata should look out for more creative concepts rather than banking on already existing issues,” says Desai.

V Rajesh, Retail Subject Matter Expert

V Rajesh, Retail Subject Matter Expert

In contrast to Desai’s view, retail expert and former head of Retail Solution at TCS, V Rajesh feels that SRK’s association will only “add value to the Jaago Re campaign.”

While Jaago Re might be a long-term commitment, Tata Tea, according to Rajesh, is looking to bring “periodic excitement” by looking out for occasions to reach out to the target audience “with specialised messages.”

Some experts feel that the SRK and the “Jaago Re’ campaign was a clever association. On the surface, while it could seen as an association with the ‘Jaago Re’ campaign, indirectly, Khan has been used to the endorse the product itself. In the ad, Khan is seen holding a Tata Tea, branded cup. The campaign had a TVC version too, directed by film-maker, R Balki.

Sanjiv Sarin, Regional President – South Asia, Tata Global Beverages

Sanjiv Sarin, Regional President – South Asia, Tata Global Beverages

Meanwhile, Tata Global Beverages, is “excited” about its “partnership with India’s leading superstar.” Sanjiv Sarin, Regional President – South Asia, Tata Global Beverages, says, “To spread a powerful social message like this one, a personality like Khan whose views resonate with our philosophy was the best choice. Through this campaign, we want every individual in his own way to recognise the painful reality of our society, which is its attitude towards women and change his actions. The power to actually make this change in societal attitude towards women actually lies within.”

Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder CEO, brand-comm

Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder & CEO, brand-comm

Being associated with a topical issue, according to Ramanujam Sridhar, founder & CEO, brand-comm, works for Tata to show it as a ‘socially conscious brand’. “The imagery of Tata Group that people have in their minds is of ‘patriotism’ and ‘dutifulness’ and that’s exactly what the brand has sustained all these years through the campaigns that it has been rolling out.” And this campaign just adds to that.

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