Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Brand Update : Kent RO

Kent RO has landed its brand ambassador in deep trouble. Today Hema Malini who also is a Rajyasabha MP asked a seemingly innocent question in Parliament. " Whether government has any plans to reduce the excise duty of RO purifiers ? " This question has created a controversy which may snow ball into a terrible headache for Hema Malini.

According to the Parliamentary ethics, a member should not raise a debate or an issue which has a conflict of interest ( personal interest). Since Hema Malini is the brand ambassador of Kent which manufactures Reverse Osmosis (RO) based water purifiers, the war cry has already began.

Politics apart, I was aghast when I watched Hema Malini sweating in front of a seemingly soft journalist in Headlines Today. If the interviewer was Karan Thapar, Hema Malini would have got a heart attack. The actress is not a politician for sure and she messed up the entire interview

This brand ambassador was asked the following question.

Journalist : Madam, Can you please explain to us what RO system means ?
Hema Malini : mmmmm........ Helloo
Journalist : Madam, Can you please explain to us what RO system means ?
Hema Malini : I don't know the technical details.
Journalist : Madam , You endorse this brand and can you explain..?
Hema Malini : See the advertisement for more details...

( this is not a verbatim transcript)

The scrolling now says : Hema does not know about Reverse Osmosis.


When I write about brands and celebrity endorsements, many readers and students ask for my opinion about the importance of celebrity endorsement in a marketing strategy. This episode highlights one of the pitfalls of celebrity endorsements. These occurrences can be rare. But it can happen.
In this case , Reverse Osmosis is the differentiation that Kent tries to project with the brand ambassador and now in a high profile controversy, the brand ambassador admits that she knows little about what she says ( along with her daughters) in the advertisement .

Embarrassing for the brand and for the brand ambassador.

Will it create any problems for the brand?
Only for the short term . Because customers are wise enough to understand that a brand ambassador does not know any thing about the product which he/she endorses. This episode is just another proof.

Will this create problem for Hema Malini ?
I think so. She may have a lot of explanations to do before the ethics committee.

This celebrity goof up is just a warning signal for all marketers. Make sure that your brand ambassador knows a little bit about your product. Atleast the Meaning and Spelling......

Related Brand
Kent RO

Source : Headlines Today