Saturday, February 22, 2014

Celebrity Branding by Micromax Sensible Strategy or Over the Top Advertising?

Akshay Modi, IIFT Delhi

Micromax has enjoyed great successes of late – now the second-largest selling smartphone maker in India. So far, it has ridden the wave of being a “cheap” alternative to the Samsungs, Nokias and Apples of the world, thereby capturing twenty-two percent of the market. However in October, it pulled off a stunner - by roping in Hugh Jackman, the face of many Hollywood blockbusters, as its latest brand ambassador.

With the company looking to shift gears and increase its presence internationally, a lot of it does seem to fall in place. From Micromax’s perspective, its target audience can be categorized into those who know who the Wolverine star is, and those who don’t. It has a significant presence in the latter category. Now with Jackman, they are now looking to build expand in the former too. Thus, it looks to be changing its positioning from a “cheap” phone-maker to a “value-for-money” company.

More importantly, the company harbours ambitions of making it big internationally, and is looking to expand into Russian, European and US markets. This necessitated the need for an international face with whom the audience could connect with, given that the brand shall be introduced to them for the first time. Also, with the “Made in India” tag not exactly a competitive advantage in the consumer electronics space, Jackman’s association would help it gather credibility.

In this regard, Micromax would do well to focus on its products along with its communication. Even Jackman would not be able a trashy product which does not conform to international standards, without multitasking features as highlighted in its TVC. But pulling off one of the most ambitious endorsement deals in India should give it confidence going forward.
The move is indeed an audacious one. Given its upsides, it makes sense to be bullish on Micromax.

Mukul Chandra, IMT Ghaziabad

The “Hugh Jackman Micromax “ advertisement by Lowe Lintas depicts how a child allays his fear and finds his hero ‘the juggler’ and when he grows young he inspires him to juggle his many lives – friends, work , passion and how Micromax Canvas Turbo assists him.

The success of a brand promotion depends upon how the product and the brand fit and resonate with each other. Hugh Jackman is an international figure with his versatile flair as an actor, dancer and singer with his superior performances in X-men trilogy, Van helsing, Swordfish and multiple such flicks. The sexiest man alive in the world is adored for his brawny body and his Australian accent. The fearless desi brand Micromax has well established itself in the small towns and rural India , Srilanka and Bangladesh with its low-cost innovative offerings which started with a month long battery backup mobile phone Xli in 2007 and association with brands such as Akshay Kumar and M.S. Dhoni.

But Micromax has been tagged as a cheap phone or as an affordable alternate to Samsung or Apple, a tag it wants to shed now to penetrate into urban market. With 22 % market share in the Indian smart phone segment (IDC report) Micromax has plans to dive into international markets starting from Russia and Romania and it is here that Wolverine will act as its global face. The thumb rule of celebrity endorsements says that celebrity should be well known . The advertisement may not work out fully for the Indian market as Hollywood stars still don’t have a strong appeal in India. The brand may appeal to opinion-makers as the advertisement has been successful in creating the buzz. It can’t give a long-term leeway unless micromax smart Phones are backed with high performance superior technologies and a huge product line-up.


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