Why Vivo chose Aamir Khan over Ranveer Singh?

It is not usual for a brand to replace a younger celebrity with an older celebrity. So, when Vivo, the mobile brand, and title sponsor of the IPL, chose to dump current heart-throb Ranveer Singh and replace him with Aamir Khan, I was a bit surprised. I was told Ranveer had helped ‘massify’ the brand but with ambitions now to sell products slotted at higher prices, and models that are more feature rich, Vivo felt the need for an ambassador who was older, more sophisticated and could appeal to older (by inference richer) audiences. Hence, Ranveer went out and Aamir came in.

Vivo is today the third largest mobile brand in India, with about 10% market share. It trails Xiaomi and Samsung, but is ahead of Oppo and Lenovo in the market rankings. Vivo has invested large sums in the IPL, but the general feeling is that it is still a Johnny-come-lately Chinese brand with little credibility.   

One thing is for sure, Aamir brings gravitas and credibility to any brand he endorses. He has that aura, and that appeal. But is Vivo really his kind of brand? Methinks, no. The Aamir image would have better suited an iPhone or, perhaps, Samsung. It could well be true that the Chinese brand managers at Vivo fell in love with him after the spectacular success of ‘Dangal’, but Aamir is just too urbane for Vivo.

To make matters worse, the three new TV commercials released during the IPL with Aamir, a dog and a cat, are far too cerebral for common folks. It is nice to have a dog and a cat in the ads, and for Aamir to look like a family man babysitting the pets at home, but I think the ads look more like ads for a camera rather than a mobile. One could of course argue that the camera is the main feature of the phone, but then all through the commercial, the mobile phone Vivo V9 is hardly visible. 

Also, I wonder if Vivo had not used Aamir in these commercials, and instead used me or any other commoner? Aamir does not utter a word through the commercials. He is almost invisible. To me, Vivo has gone a bit over board with the subtlety and sophistication, so much so that the brand endorsee has really no role in the commercial. 

Actually, these days very few celebrity commercials actually manage to use their brand ambassadors optimally. I see the Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli wasted in the 20-odd brand ads he features in. There is very little thought that seems to go into utilising the brand value and brand of the celebrity. All of Kohli’s endorsements look almost the same. I frankly cannot recall any of his ads, and in any case cannot remember the content of any of the commercials. 

Gone are the days when a Kapil Dev featured in a ‘Palmolive da jawaab nahin’ ad and always evinced a chuckle, and an indelible message in your mind; or Aamir Khan in the famous Coke campaign playing different roles. Each ad was strong on ideation, and great on recall. 

I doubt if Aamir Khan will push up Vivo V9 sales. The current campaign lacks the punch and provides no real bait to customers. Aamir is totally wasted. His acting abilities and screen presence could have been utilised. The dog and the cat are equally wasted. Their kinship as well as their rivalry could have been far better depicted. 

Minus Ranveer, and plus Aamir, Vivo is no better off. It lacks credibility. It is not for me. Sorry Vivo. Better luck next time. Only don’t go for an even older celebrity, and sign on Mr. Bachchan!
(Sandeep Goyal is an advertising veteran. He has worked at leading ad agencies like JWT, Grey, DDB, Rediffusion and Dentsu for over 30 years.)     


image source:https://www.indiatoday.in

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