The biggest celebrities in India are the film stars. Film stars mean glamour and therefore, it is natural that one of the first known endorsements by an Indian celebrity is recorded in early 1940s, by actress Leela Chitnis, for the beauty soap called Lux.
Lux has been one of the biggest and the most recalled brands for its celebrity affiliation, as it has been endorsed by almost all the leading ladies of Bollywood and still counting.
Over the history of Indian advertising brands have been endorsed by celebrities. But, many a times, there have been instances when the actor in the advertisement has become a celebrity after that commercial has become popular.
Strangely, two of the most popular non actor celebrities in Indian commercials have been one ad wonders….. The Murphy baby and the Liril waterfall girl Karen Lunel who both remain the face of the brand they advertised even after many decades.
Many of the modern day actors like Deepika Padukone, Yami Gautam, John Abraham Bipasha Basu, Shahid Kapoor and many others in the past, as well, were models who turned film actors later, owing to the popularity they earned with their ads.
A few others like Maya Alag with her “offoh” in the Promise toothpaste ad, and Savita Chaudhary for saying “Samjhe na” in the Surf washing powder ad, became celebrities for getting that unique recall value for those commercials.
There were also macho men like Karan Kapoor and Shekhar Kapur who did commercials for suiting and apparels, became quite famous, but never achieved the Bollywood star status.
There have also been, but no small matter, of little children most notably a girl called Ankita Jhaveri, who captured the affection of the Indian masses with her “i love you rasna” innocence in a series of endearing advertisements for this make at home soft drink mix.
Besides the obviously and easily recognisable personalities of the film world, classical musicians, sports persons and other artists have also been used for their celebrity status to create mass appeal commercials
I will continue this tale of wonderful world of Indian advertising and the celebrities and their mutual love affair.