Virat and Anushka look engaged... in an ad: Here’s how celeb couples pep up campaigns | movie reviews | Hindustan Times
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Virat and Anushka look engaged... in an ad: Here’s how celeb couples pep up campaigns

Real-life celebrity couples, such as cricketer Virat Kohli and actor Anushka Sharma, starring in ads together works so well, say film and veterans, when the campaigns are aligned with the stars’ lives.

movie reviews Updated: Oct 27, 2017 18:55 IST
Naina Arora
Several celebrity couples — actor Anushka Sharma and cricketer Virat Kohli (above); actors Rajkummar Rao and Patralekhaa; and actors Bipashu Basu and Karan Singh Grover — are starring in ad campaigns together. The real-life chemistry makes the ads sizzle.
Several celebrity couples — actor Anushka Sharma and cricketer Virat Kohli (above); actors Rajkummar Rao and Patralekhaa; and actors Bipashu Basu and Karan Singh Grover — are starring in ad campaigns together. The real-life chemistry makes the ads sizzle. (Yogen Shah)

That Virushka is a couple is no secret — there have been public appearances, and social media photos. But it’s only with a brand new ad campaign that the world sees cricketer Virat Kohli and actor Anushka Sharma gaze into each other’s eyes. Their clothes, the usual Indian wedding season finery, make it look even more intimate; the word ‘engaged’ sort of floats in the air. Fans are thrilled — views of the commercial have touched 4 million — and the ad gurus must be patting themselves on the back.

Celeb couple mojo always comes in handy when selling products, especially when there’s sizzling chemistry between the couple. Actors Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh Grover have endorsed a condom brand; actors Rajkummar Rao and Patralekhaa have done it for a furniture brand.

It’s a clever idea, says filmmaker-writer Pritish Nandy, because “advertisements are contextual”. He says, “If there’s an inherent logic to the ad, people would like to see [well] known couples out there. In the case of Manyavar and Mohey, who have two separate brands for men and women, it’s perfectly valid for Anushka and Virat to do it together. For Playgard, it made sense for Bipasha and Karan to pose for it, as it deals with condoms, and they are husband and wife. Rajkummar Rao and Patralekhaa are planning to get married [so] they’d be looking for a flat, and furniture for it.” In other words, their lives are just like ours, or aligned with ours, only much more desirable — and that rubs off on the product.

Filmmaker and former ad professional R Balki suggests that more than fame, it’s the concept that’s important. “It works beautifully for the brand if the couple is used right, with the right idea that does justice to them,” he says. “[Otherwise] just roping in celebrity couples alone would not be enough. Popularity of the ad and effectiveness of the ad are not the same. [People] may talk about an ad but never be motivated to look at the product.”

Actors Rajkummar Rao and Patralekhaa recently starred in a furniture ad by Pepperfry. (Yogen Shah)

Vivek Das Chaudhary, who directed the Pepperfry ad, featuring Rajkummar and Patralekhaa, says, “I thought they’re young and very much into each other. You get a very homely vibe [from them].” He adds that “freshness in casting” is a big deal for ads, if they want to stand out amid the noise of media content. “When people know about a real life couple, it becomes more believable, and it generates curiosity in the audience,” says Chaudhary.

The condom commercial, with Bipasha and Karan, got “great chemistry out of them”, because of their real-life relationship, says Prasad Naik, ad director. “We live in an open society right now. And it’s very liberal to do something [such as this]. It’s very cool that this young couple is doing this. It feels natural and so believable, and it makes our job easy,” says Naik, who has also directed the print version of the Manyavar ad with Virat and Anushka.

Advertising guru Prahlad Kakkar feels that getting real-life couples to endorse ads makes both creative and financial sense. “You get traction [from the relationship] and you’re not spending individually [if they come as a couple], depending on the deal,” says Kakkar. “I’m sure people would want to see Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh [in an ad], too. Let’s see.”

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