They say that the devil lies in the details. In 1995, the commercials for Onida televisions played on the not-so-fine sentiments of consumers. A horned-and-tailed devil tempted the viewers with a colour TV, and the tagline gleefully announced: Neighbour's envy, owner's pride.
The campaign was a thumping hit. At a time when many Indians did not even own a TV, Onida managed to grab eyeballs, attention, and market share.
But in today's world, with its glut of images and brands vying for the consumer's short attention span, are advertising campaigns really that effective?
For Nidhi Rastogi, an HR manager who just moved to Delhi, her first choice for an air-conditioner was Hitachi. "I had seen the advertisement where the A/C vent swings, following the maid's every move. That stayed in my head. If an ad tells me about some new feature or product offering, then I pay attention, otherwise, one commercial featuring a Bollywood celebrity is much like another," she says.
Yet, if you look at advertisements for most white goods, you would see the familiar faces of Bollywood actors and cricket stars, endorsing every kind of home appliance and electronic goods.
Here's a sample: Makers of rival digital cameras have signed on rival B-town starlets as brand ambassadors. While Deepika Padukone dons several avatars for the Sony cybershot, Priyanka Chopra does a bubbly act for Nikon and Anushka Sharma goes click-happy for the Canon Powershot.
Shah Rukh Khan plays mascot for Videocon, Katrina Kaif endorses Panasonic , Priyanka Chopra is the star of Samsung commercials and Akshay Kumar showcases the many charms of LG TV. And the list goes on.
But more than star power, it is the message associated with them that is important.
"The characterisation of the Whirlpool mum in its advertising broke the stereotype of the traditional Indian housewife, making the brand highly aspirational," says Shantanu Das Gupta, VP, Corporate Affairs & Strategy at Whirlpool India, which is now endorsed by Kajol and Ajay Devgn.
"We have been sharply focussed on the modern Indian woman, someone who is confident and successful but with strong family values, committed to ensuring the well-being of her family. Ajay and Kajol embody these traits," he added.