Jewellers use male stars to sell gold

18 Oct,2012


By Sanjay Vijayakumar & Sangeetha Kandavel


Even though gold ornaments are ostensibly bought as accessories for the fairer sex, many jewellers are now using male celebrities as brand ambassadors.


Since gold prices began skyrocketing in the past decade, jewellers from Kerala, which has the highest per capita consumption of gold in the country, have moved away from female brand ambassadors and signed on male celebrities, supposedly to underline the quality of the product.


Kalyan Jewellers, Joy Alukkas, Jos Alukkas and Malabar Gold, all based out of Kerala, have deployed film stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Mohanlal, R Madhavan, Vijay, Prabhu and Suriya for their TV commercials.


Even some Chennai-based jewellers such as Sri Kumaran Thanga Maligai and Saravana Stores Thanga Nagai Maligai use Tamil actors to endorse products.


“Gold is always considered a high-value gift article. Reliability and trust play a major role while purchasing gold jewellery,” said MP Ahammed, chairman of Malabar Gold. “Since most of the decisions are made by the patriarch of the family, we make sure that all our brand ambassadors have a good acceptance.”


Malabar Gold has roped in Mohanlal in Kerala, Puneeth Rajkumar in Karnataka, Junior NTR in Andhra Pradesh and Suriya and music director Illaiyaraja in Tamil Nadu.


India accounts for almost a third of the global jewellery demand, according to the World Gold Council. India’s annual jewellery demand in value terms is Rs 1.34 lakh crore, half of what it spends on healthcare and about 2% of the gross domestic product. The south, which has 11 of the top 20 jewellery retailers in India, accounts for almost 40% of sales.


Gold touched Rs 32,500 per 10 grams earlier this year because of a weak rupee.Though international prices were low, gold became costly in India as the rupee sank to the 57 mark against the dollar.


Men Make Buying Decisions

Indian gold prices are generally determined by international prices. After the UPA government announced a fresh round of reforms, the rupee has recovered some of its lost ground, helping reduce the price of gold, which now trades at about Rs 31,500. “What we see is men make buying decisions on jewellery.


They are better informed about quality and purity, while women look at designs,” said Anil Cheriyedath, business director at Maxus Global, the media agency that handles the creative account for Kalyan Jewellers. “Also, most of the purchase happens in the wedding season and it is a collective family decision.”


PP Jose, executive director of Joy Alukkas India, believes male celebrities enjoy more recognition and stature than female celebrities. “So, strategically it makes more sense to use male celebrities for brand endorsement. This has also proved to be an effective strategy in jewellery retailing.”


Advertising industry veteran Suguna Swamy points out that the even if the “man of the house” doesn’t actually go along with the women to shop for jewellery, he usually foots the bill. “So, brands that are positioned on value address the man with facts on quality, purity and authenticity. Brands that score on design speak to women.”


There is also a dichotomy between the television and print advertising strategies. Malabar Gold’s Ahammed said his firm generally uses female brand ambassadors in print to highlight the designs.


“The biggest of celebrity endorsements in India are not done by cars, soft drinks, mobile phones or cosmetics, but by Kerala’s small jewellery and textile brands,” said Dominic Savio, vice-president of DDB Mudra.”


Celebrities are often used for breaking a communication clutter to get immediate attention, but the jewellery and saree advertising space is a celebrity-cluttered world.


Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2012, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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