Sanjaya Malakar, the most talked about contestant in last year's edition of "American Idol", has signed up with Nationwide to star in the latest spots of the insurance company's popular "Life Comes At You Fast" ad campaign targeting the South Asian community.
In the ad, the 18-year-old Indian American, known for his lack of singing talent and wild hairstyles, seeks guidance from a swami in a monastery in India. The swami tells him to get a retirement plan and a haircut!
Saying that he was thrilled to feature in Nationwide's ad campaign, Sanjaya was quoted as saying in a press release: "My experience on 'American Idol' was a great example of how life really does come at you fast. The ad is a funny take on the serious subject of planning for retirement."
Sanjaya, as he is known, follows in the footsteps of other entertainers who have made fun of themselves in Nationwide spots. For instance, in a spot that debuted during last year's Super Bowl, Britney Spears' ex-husband Kevin Federline played a onetime rapper reduced to flipping burgers at a fast food joint.
Sanjaya's spot is one of six new spots that will specifically target the South Asian market in the US. This is the third year Nationwide, the Columbus, Ohio based large diversified insurance and financial services organisation, created advertising specifically targeting the community.
"The rapidly growing South Asian market is very important to us," said Tariq Khan, Nationwide's vice-president for Market Development and Diversity. "The creative work in these print ads and TV spots reflects traditions and situations that South Asians can relate to."
Steven Schreibman, vice president of advertising and brand management for Nationwide, added: "Sanjaya's ad reminds consumers that they need to be prepared for life to change, because change is inevitable."
Sanjaya is the son of a Hare Krishna priest who came to the US from India and an Italian American mother.