Of course congratulations are in order. #DeepVeerKiShaadi is a reality. Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh (DeeVeer is also a popular name for the new couple on Twitter and Instagram) are tying the knot next month. In a Twitter post last week, the two stars wrote, “With the blessings of our families, (it) gives us immense joy in sharing that our wedding is set to take place on the 14th and 15th of November, 2018. We thank you for all the love you have showered upon us over the years and seek your blessings as we embark on this incredible journey of love, loyalty, friendship and togetherness.” Deepika and Ranveer’s wedding will take place at Villa del Balbianello at Lake Como, Italy. Just like Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli, the wedding of Deepika and Ranveer will be attended by only their family and close friends.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee is expected to design Deepika’s outfits for the wedding. It is not clear, however, whose clothes (surely not Siyaram!) the flamboyant Ranveer Singh will favour, given the sort of dress sense he has been displaying. After seeing all his outfits in Padmaavat, Bajirao Mastani and Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela, social media thinks he too could be wearing a lehnga at the wedding, also designed by Sabyasachi!!!
But the biggest worry being voiced on social media is who will book the baraatis to Europe? Goibibo or MakeMyTrip? After all Deepika Padukone endorses Goibibo while Ranveer is the face of MakeMyTrip.
The conflict of interest does not end here. Deepika endorses Axis Bank. Ranveer has been pushing ‘811’ for Kotak Mahindra Bank. She has been the face of Oppo mobiles since 2017; he is the brand ambassador for Vivo mobiles for the past couple of years. Deepika endorses Coca Cola. Ranveer is the Thums Up man. Deepika endorses Myntra’s ‘all about you’ range of readywear; Ranveer is the spokesperson for Jack and Jones. Deepika’s first ever ad was for Close-Up toothpaste. Mr. Singh favours Colgate. Deepika endorses Nike, Ranveer endorses Adidas. Deepika washes her hair with L’Oreal and Fiama Di Wills while Ranveer proclaims his preference for Head and Shoulders. The good news is that one brand that both the new couple agree on is Kellogg’s breakfast cereals. At least on the breakfast table, there will be no unpleasantness.
So, are the soon-to-be-wed couple headed into marital conflict because of the competing brands that they endorse? The charitable view is that all this does not matter. Celebrities, as it is, never use the brands they endorse. Their endorsements are just a get-paid-lend-face commercial transaction and none of the brands currently using either Deepika or Ranveer need to worry or reconsider options. Hence, all is fine for Asian-Nerolac, Goibibo-MakeMyTrip, Axis-Kotak, Coke-Thums Up, Nike-Adidas and Oppo-Vivo. As it is where the categories are purely male and female, conflict may not really matter: ‘all about you’ and Jack and Jones are not really in the same bracket. Also, L’Oreal and Head and Shoulders may not consider each other as head-to-head competitors.
The not-so-charitable view is that the star couple will have to make some choices. It will look and sound both awkward, and somewhat stupid, to have the wife endorsing one brand, while the husband publicly pushes a rival brand. It may not create discord in the Padukone-Singh home but it could well be embarrassing for the brands themselves. Which is not to say that in any marital home, it is necessary for both partners to patronise the same brand; in a democratic world, either partner can opt for the brand that he or she likes. However, while that may well be the practical reality, on a TV screen, having the wife say their home has Asian Royale Atmos followed a few seconds later by the husband contradicting her by saying that their home has been made beautiful by Kansai Nerolac emulsion, will surely create doubts in the minds of consumers.
Another area of conflict is that in Oppo, for example, Deepika is paired with Siddharth Malhotra. A soon-to-be-married Deepika may now have to be unpaired, which may mean the exit of Siddharth? Similarly, in MakeMyTrip, while Ranveer and Alia are strictly not a ‘pair’, the travel brand may need to re-evaluate whether Alia who is rumoured to be dating Ranveer’s bête noire Ranbir Kapoor is actually a good fit opposite Singh going forward.
I was actually quite a bit ahead of the curve when I started to research ‘couple brands’ way back in 2012 for my PhD on Celebrities as Human Brands. My research covered Virat-Anushka, Aishwarya-Abhishek, Saif-Kareena and Ranbir-Katrina though I had to drop the last pair after they parted ways. The Deepika-Ranveer romance had still not started way back then; hence they were not part of my research. In the Manyavar ad, though it was shot just before they tied the knot, Virat-Anushka (Virushka) look beautiful together. Saif-Kareena (Saifeena) have been seen together in the Airbnb commercials recently. Abhi-Ash too have done an ad together for TTK Prestige cooker. Older pairs, Amitabh-Jaya, Akshay-Twinkle and Ajay-Kajol have also been doing some ads together. So the ‘couple’ celebrity brand is becoming a reality. The first ad that Deepika-Ranveer (DeeVeer) do together will surely garner huge amounts of media coverage and PR. The first brand to pair them together in an ad will surely garner a bonanza.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how the marketing teams at Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank view the situation created by the impending wedding of the superstars. And, how the brand managers at Asian Paints, Kansai Nerolac and other possibly conflicted companies either choose to ignore the new reality and bash on regardless, or the brands (also the newly wedded couple) decide to make an open choice. Of course, if the winner brand manages to rope in the endorser of the rival brand, it will be a double coup. I am keenly looking forward to see how marketing minds work herefrom on a situation Indian brands had never to face before. Look. Wait. See.
(Dr. Sandeep Goyal has been researching Celebrities as Human Brands for almost 15 years now. He started his PhD on the subject in 2012, and finished his doctorate earlier this year.)