Dabur ropes in Ravi Kishan to promote Chyawanprash

MUMBAI: Move over Shilpa Shetty, it will now be Bhojpuri film star Ravi Kishan who will dance to the tune of Mein aaya hoon UP, Bihar lootne, courtesy Dabur.

In a first-of-its-kind marketing initiative by a consumer products company, Dabur India has roped in Ravi Kishan to endorse its Chyawanprash brand exclusively for localised promotional activities through direct interaction with consumers, dealers and stockists, particularly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

“We have signed him exclusively for below-the-line activities,” said Praveen Jaipuriar, category head-health supplements at Dabur India.

This means while bigger celebrities like Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will feature in television commercials and other national campaigns for Chyawanprash, Ravi Kishan will engage with consumers through local events in schools and elsewhere.

Dabur plans a slew of localised activities to connect with consumers better, especially in Hindi belts Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where Ravi Kishan is popular, said Mr Jaipuriar.

While there have been a few instances where companies have hired celebrities for specific promotions and events to attract regional consumers, using a star throughout the year only for below-the-line activities is new, say marketing experts. And they think it’s a smart idea. “The cost will be much lower and it’s a great way to attract the right target group,” said Alpana Parida, CEO of brand consultancy firm DMA Yellow Works.

Arvind Sharma, chairman of Leo Burnett India, feels that the strategy would help the brand stand apart in a market where there are several competitors. “How do you get dealers to see a launch as a special one is always an issue, and getting a celebrity can signal motivation and even word-of-mouth promotion for Dabur,” Mr Sharma said.

Is there any likely pitfall? Ms Parida thinks the strategy may confuse consumers about the real brand ambassador for Chyawanprash. “Both Amitabh Bachchan and MS Dhoni enjoy high popularity in these regions and the risk of overlapping always remains,” she said.

A couple of years ago, television star Smriti Irani had endorsed jewellery brand Tanishq through below-the-line activities in select markets.