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Jos Alukkas: Three in One

The jewellery brand’s latest campaign features Tamil superstar Vijay along with Malayalee actor Fahad Fazil and Kannada actor Diganth Manchale. It will be dubbed and aired in all three states.

Gold jewellery is much sought after in southern India and jewellery brands, one of the highest advertisers in this region. Since everyone talks about purity, trust and craftsmanship, brands try to distinguish themselves by using a bouquet of regional actors from across the states. Jos Alukkas, one of the leading jewellery brands from Kerala, is no different. In 2010, the brand rebranded itself and signed up Tamil superstar Vijay as its brand endorser. It also adopted its communication theme as ‘Thangamana uravu’ (relationships like gold).

In continuation of its ‘relationships’ theme, Jos Alukkas’ current television commercial (TVC) features Tamil actor Vijay, together with emerging actors from Kerala and Karnataka – Fahad Fazil and Diganth Manchale, respectively.

In a way, the campaign is unique because this is the first time the three actors have come together. While the brand’s competitors have an equally enviable range of regional actors as endorsers, the brands have never clubbed the actors together in a television commercial to be dubbed and aired in all the three states to connect with the larger audience.

The film shows Vijay and Diganth, who are interns, contemplating what to gift their friend Fahad’s sister on her wedding. Dejected with their low budget, Vijay sells his prized guitar to buy a gold necklace as a gift. While presenting it to the bride, Fahad comes to know about Vijay’s sacrifice and is overcome with emotion. The TVC concludes with the message that true relationships defy differences, be it languages or communities.

Conceptualised by Dentsu Communications, the TVC was shot at Ramoji Rao Film City in Hyderabad. The film was directed by Manoj Pillai of Thinkpot Productions. It took about two months for execution, primarily to suit the actors’ dates.

Jeejo PP, corporate marketing manager, Jos Alukkas Group, says that the campaign’s objective was to strengthen the brand platform and reach out to more people. “All our brand films post re-branding has worked well in building Jos Alukkas. This campaign is another milestone for us,” he says. He adds that the campaign has already started creating a lot of buzz for the brand with people visiting the stores talking about it. “It has helped us to strengthen the bond with our customers. The feedback on social media has been overwhelming,” he further adds.

Why did the Kerala-based brand take a Tamil superstar as its main brand endorser? According to Jeejo, Tamil Nadu is a key market for the brand. “As far as the brand is considered, our entry into the state propelled the brand’s growth story. Today, we are present in 10 towns across the length and breadth of the state. Besides, Vijay is a superstar in the South and has a huge fan base in Kerala, too,” he explains.

Agreeing with him, Saji Jayakumar, vice-president and Kochi head, Dentsu Communications, says that for the current campaign, the brand wanted endorsers in Kerala and Karnataka. “We wanted young stars from these two regions, who would be around Vijay’s age and would do cameo roles as the focus would mainly be on Vijay,” Jayakumar says. He adds that while the audience in Kerala might not be familiar with Diganth and the audience in Karnataka may not know Fahad, both the sets of audiences recognise Vijay, who has an appeal in both states due to the immense popularity of Tamil movies. Besides, the viewers in both the states would recognise one of cameo actors.

In fact, the trend of having male actors endorsing jewellery brands is peculiar to the southern states. While Jos Alukkas does have Malayalee actor Shobhana as an endorser, it is for its sub brand. However, unlike the female actors of Bollywood, their southern counterparts don’t have as much of an appeal or stature as the male actors in the South. As a result, jewellery brands here prefer male actors, says Jayakumar.

Jeejo explains that the nature of the market in Andhra Pradesh is completely different from the other three states; thus, the brand will come out with a separate campaign for the state, led by actor Mahesh Babu.

Interestingly, Thums Up had picked up Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu for its national campaign, last year. It was a surprise move by the brand as Babu, a regional actor, had replaced Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar.

In a market that is already cluttered with celebrity endorsers, how does Jos Alukkas differentiate itself? “Communication is the key in gold retail, today. We’ve differentiated ourselves on our brand theme of relationships in all our campaigns. Just as the consumer identifies our brand ambassadors, they also identify us for what we are and what we stand for,” Jeejo adds.

Sridhar Pillai, a senior film journalist, says that Vijay has a phenomenal reach in the South, especially Kerala. Hence, it is not surprising that Jos Alukkas has taken him as its brand ambassador. “If you are a jewellery shop, the best way to attract customers is by having Kollywood stars endorse your brand with an added local connect like Fahad. Besides, there is also this one-upmanship game going on among brands in terms of celebrity endorsers,” Pillai explains, adding that Bollywood stars are also slowly making inroads with brand endorsements.

The campaign will be aired till the end of the year. It will be majorly led by TV, followed by print and OOH across Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

(This article was published in afaqs on Nov 15. 2013)


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