Comic Strip Characters Pitch in India
The Wall Street Journal notes that comic strip characters are increasingly being hired in India as spokesmen for products such as Dilbert shilling for cell phone manufacturer Nokia.
“Using such characters as ad faces or endorsers is infinitely cheaper than using real-life celebrities, experts say, and also helps connect with consumers on a note of humor in an increasingly grim economic milieu,” the WSJ’s Live Mint blog noted.
Snoopy, the perennial Peanuts Pitchdog, continues to push insurance products overseas as well as for MetLife here in America while Mowgli, from the Jungle Book, can be seen in holiday-themed ads for Coca-Cola.
R.K. Laxman’s Common Man can be found pushing consumer loans for Asset Reconstruction Co. and Air Deccan.
“The premise for using popular comic-strip characters, experts say, is essentially the same as that for a brand picking a celebrity endorser,” the site notes. “There is an instant recognition, a familiar character connects better with consumers, and the values of that celebrity could have a positive rub-off on the brand.”
“Most comic-strip characters or cartoon characters are very well established,” says K.V. Sridhar, national creative director of Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd. “When you see them on screen, you know what’s going to happen. So in that sense, they telegraphically communicate what they are and what they stand for.”
Comic strip characters play better to consumers in India given their superior readership while the WSJ says comic book heroes resonate better for consumers in the United Kingdom and Japan. They’re also cheaper to obtain than living spokesmen. “In some cases, the amount could be a hundredth of what it costs to hire a C-grade celebrity,” Leo Burnett India’s Sridhar said.
“India is a very fragmented media market,” Patil of Amar Chitra Katha told WSJ.
“The creative objective was to visually depict people’s working environments and unique habits to show that Nokia works in the same way as they do,” Devinder Kishore, director (marketing) for Nokia India said. “Dilbert’s character has helped consumers connect with the devices in an engaging and ‘fun’ manner…it is unique and cool, and also a great clutter-breaking tool.”