• kewal sethi

brand ambassador - why and who

brand ambassador - why and who


sania mirza has been appointed as brand ambassador by telengana government and paid Rs. one crore for the privilege. it has attracted attention because a bjp mla called her a pakistani bahu and hence not qualified to be brand ambassador. this has prompted the self styled secularists and intellectuals to rush in to condemn the bjp mla and  to praise sania mirza. in one letter to the newspaper, she was called the greatest sportsperson produced by india. (sachin tendulkar – take notice). (it would be recalled same persons or the persons of same bent of mind would root for an 'indian' bahu in not so distant past).

all this led me to read about what brand ambassador is and what does (s)he do. the best place to start such a search is wikipedia. this is what it says about brand ambassador. "brand ambassador (celebrity spokesman) is a marketing term for a person employed by an organization or company to promote its products or services within the activity known as branding. the brand ambassador is meant to embody the corporate identity in appearance, demeanor, values and ethics. the key element of brand ambassadors lies in their ability to use promotional strategies that will strengthen the customer-product/ service relationship and influence a large audience to buy and consume more. predominantly, a brand ambassador is known as a positive spokesperson appointed as an internal or external agent to boost product/service sales and create brand awareness.

obvious sania mirza does not fill any of these criteria. telengana government is not in business, or sale of products. it can be described as the service oriented organization at best. so which services will sania mirza espouse the cause of? does she have the time, ability and appeal to do that. she can promote the telengana government as people's government. reading on in wikipedia, it talks about goodwill ambassador which sania mirza can be. the wikipedia describes goodwill ambassador as ". a goodwill ambassador is an honorary title and often linked with non-profit related causes. their primary function is to help non-profit organizations spread their message across. predominantly, goodwill ambassadors are celebrity advocates or known personalities, who use their fame and talent to get funding, donations, encourage volunteers to participate and raise awareness towards the organization's cause". for example, the united nations goodwill ambassadors include famous celebrities like angelina jolie for UNHCR, david beckham, shakira for UNICEF, christina aguilera for WFP and nicole kidman for UN Women. does sania mirza come in this category. which non profit business is telengana government engaged in. what message do they want to spread. it is clear that they don't have any. when gujarat appointed amitabh bachan as ambassador, they said that we did it to promote tourism. it is doubtful if it helped but at least the pretext was there. in telengana, even the pretext is missing.

but it sounds good. that is the only reason it has been done. does it justify an expenditure of rs. one crore? is it not a waste of taxpayers' money? what do the ordinary voters of telengana think about it? none of the newspapers or organization gone in to ascertain their views. it is only the comments from someone known which is important. it is a pity that no one cares to know about the views of the common person. the party in power does not have to go to the voters for the next five years. so it does not care about their views, hostile or otherwise. if they protest, it can be ignored. if they protest more vigorously, there is police to take care of them. in the din about the pakistani cricketer to whom sania mirza is married, the real objections which could be levied against the branding has been lost sight of. that, to my mind, is the tragedy.


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