Saturday, February 6, 2016

Eye2Eye: Snapdeal bears brunt of Aamir Khan's statement : Intolerant India or flipside of celebrity endorsement? || Anil Kumar Diddy & Anjali Sharma || IIM Ahmedabad & Chandragupt Institute of Management, Patna || December 2015 edition

Snapdeal bears brunt of Aamir Khan's statement : Intolerant India

Anil Kumar Diddy
IIM Ahmedabad

Amir Khan is well-known for taking a stance. In India, most of the celebrities would refrain from making public statements about issues concerning the society. We must admire Amir for his brave acts of putting across his opinion. Recently, Aamir expressed his fear of the happening adversities in India. He played the role of an average citizen telling how they would react to such news. However, netizens started to protest by degrading or uninstalling the Snapdeal app. This behavior indeed solidifies his argument of growing intolerance in India. If you protest against a person who calls you intolerant, doesn’t it prove the former’s point?
In fact, this is disagreement, not intolerance. It’s the social media that has made easier for us to express our opinions. If a protestor believes that Amir’s statements to be detrimental to the society, they should act in a way that changes the world to a better place to live. Portraying their disagreement by uninstalling an app and doing nothing else would only lead to people staying reticent or talking only about good things. It is not desirable as it would not encourage the country to identify the important issues to resolve them.
On the other side, customers portray their adulation by using the brands endorsed by their celebrities. It develops a sense of attachment to the celebrity and the brand. It brings in customer loyalty to the brands too. However, sometimes when ‘The Idol’ remarks in an unexpected way, the customers tend to abandon the brand and the celebrity too. Thus, celebrity endorsement is a double-edged sword. However, the #AppWapsi campaign has worked well in favor of Snapdeal. News reported that the Snapdeal’s rank on Google’s Playstore had improved a few days after the campaign. It is a blessing in disguise for Snapdeal.

Snapdeal bears brunt of Aamir Khan's statement : flipside of celebrity endorsement

Anjali Sharma
Chandragupt Institute of Management, Patna

Snapdeal has been a major E-commerce player in India. In recent times, the company is facing a major turbulence after its Brand ambassador Aamir khan who was signed for a whooping amount of Rs. 15 crore, made a statement about rising intolerance in the country. Twitter is flooded with #Appwapsi campaign and people are uninstalling the Snapdeal app and downgrading Snapdeal’s app on the Google play store.
The entire episode raises the very apt point, whether Snapdeal is facing the adverse effect of the celebrity endorsement. The Celebrity endorsement is a double edge sword. Shimp (2000) said that there are four critical factors affecting celebrity endorsement namely the credibility of the celebrity (the credibility is a function of expertise and trustworthiness), Celebrity and audience match up, Celebrity and Brand match up and celebrity attractiveness. The most famous example has been the Cadbury case where Amitabh Bachchan (Famous Bollywood actor) helped the Cadbury brand in getting over the Worm episode. But sometimes the story can be very different when a strong brand gets affected because of the negative image of the celebrity or some controversy surrounding the celebrity. Whenever the celebrity gets surrounded by some negative sentiments (Just as Amir khan found himself at the centre of intolerant debate) the trustworthiness of the celebrity takes a back seat and that loss of trustworthiness gets replicated in the loss of trustworthiness for that specific brand which the celebrity is endorsing, as the target audience more often than not thinks of the celebrity as a corporate image and symbol of the specific brand. In this case the entire incident has led to loss of emotional connect between the Snapdeal and its target customer base which is clearly depicted from the tweets and facebook posts of the people. 

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