Are digital influencers the new ad celebs?

BySanchita Kalra
Jun 23, 2022 12:11 PM IST

Brand experts feel that having social media influencer on board is a cost effective move to connect with the youth

From walking down the ramp at fashion weeks to now being featured in TV commercials, digital influencers have gone beyond just social media. Colgate’s new campaign featured digital creator Dolly Singh, influencer Kareema Barry was seen in an ad for Sprite while Shayan Roy did an ad for Cadbury Fuse. Awez Darbar and Nagma Mirajkar were seen in an ad for McDonalds for its 25th anniversary campaign. Other brands that had web-born personalities in ads include Godrej Aer, Uber Eats, Amazon Pay etc.

Nagma Mirajkar and Awez Darbar in a fast food ad
Nagma Mirajkar and Awez Darbar in a fast food ad

Dolly Singh in a toothpaste ad
Dolly Singh in a toothpaste ad

Ad filmmakers and brand strategists feel that getting a popular face from social media is an innovative way to connect with millennials and Gen Z, who are big spenders. It’s also a cost-effective move. “I would call it ‘influence without affluence’ because without spending crores on Bollywood celebs in commercials or getting them as ambassadors, a brand can still influence the masses,” says brand expert Jagdeep Kapoor. He adds, “Audience is familiar with influencers. There’s also the advantage of targeting regional consumers with their reach.”

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Shayan Roy(centre) in a chocolate ad with Yuvraj Singh and Rishabh Pant
Shayan Roy(centre) in a chocolate ad with Yuvraj Singh and Rishabh Pant
Kareema Barry
Kareema Barry

As per a report about influencer marketing industry, while celebs account for 27% of influencer marketing spends, social media influencers account for 73%. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of the Indian population follow an influencer.

For some, the definition of an influencer is an ever-changing concept. “Influencers are now well-known smaller celebrities. They’ve created a niche for fashion, tech or automobile, and masses know that they have a credibility factor,” says ad filmmaker Ajay Gahlaut. He also elaborates that a Bollywood celeb is famous for being famous, but digi influencers have a niche and a set target audience base. He adds, “It’s a win-win situation, as an advertiser wants the campaign to stand out and engage with masses, and having a digital influencer on board serves both purposes.”

Pinaki Bose, ad maker says, “There is an instant connection [with Gen Z] when there’s a digital influencer on board. However, it also comes down to brand identity and strategy. Targeting middle-aged audience with a commercial that features web-born influencers wouldn’t work the same way.”

The author tweets @sanchita_kalra

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