Celeb-couple endorsement usually means twice the fire power for a brand. While newly-weds Sania and Shoaib’s entry into the couple-endorsement bandwagon as brand ambassadors for Pakistan Population Welfare Ministry is far from glamorous, pundits are on a wait-and-watch to gauge whether the controversies preceding their wedding will affect their commercial value. Ad gurus believe that the duo will ‘sell’ as Brand Shoania, if they perform well in their respective fields.
Big daddy of advertising, Prahlad Kakkar reminds us that brand value is inextricably linked to performance in a celebrity’s field, “Neither of them are doing well. Sania’s injured and Shoaib, I believe, is under a ban. But controversies apart, the two are very young, are sport icons and have the potential to click as a brand together.”
Renowned ad maker Alyquee Padamsee agrees, “Like in the case of any player, the duo’s brand value goes up only if they play well. For example, Sachin Tendulkar’s brand value only goes higher as he plays better. Even in the case of Tiger Woods, if he plays well, in spite of the controversies he’ll sell.”
However, the power-of-two trend is losing its novelty value Padamsee observes, so it’s important to actually grab eyeballs, “Bips and John started the trend which was new hence many sponsors came forward. Sania and Shoaib don’t command news value. Sponsors will stay away and may approach the duo if they play well and stay out of controversies.”
Sandeep Kumar, a graduate of Bhavan’s college brings up a couple-coup from off the playing field, “Remember, they do have the Indo-Pak alliance advantage. They may be approached by organisations trying to foster peace. But nothing soon, as people don’t believe the marriage will last long. Only time will tell.”
And there are those who feel that even notoriety can bring fame. Smita Chowdhary, an employee of Google, says, “Branding works on face value, not on controversies. Take for instance Rahul Mahajan’s Swayamvar. His show was a hit despite the controversies. I think Shoania will sign good deals.” But what if the couple does split after they’ve signed endorsements together? “Then companies will replace one of them with someone else just as Kareena-Shahid were replaced by John and Bips after they split.”