From soap to sodas, fashion to food and water to watches, Indian stars have made their way to our billboards and it seems are here to stay. To see Indian stars on our billboards is perhaps the biggest bone of contention for local artists but truth be told, it’s the public demand that urges corporations to bring them in. Simply put, Bollywood stars outweigh local artists in popularity.

The other angle is economic. Believe it or not, industry insiders bemoan the fact that a reputed Pakistani playback singer will charge three times as much as a Shreya Ghosal, for example, to record a single jingle.

Also, most multinational campaigns featuring Indian celebrities are not financed here, which saves them the hassle (and budget) of shooting a campaign with a local celebrity.

The rage as summer swings in, of course, is the lawn hysteria and the celebrity endorsements that come with it. Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor have modeled for Firdous, Sushmita Sen and Karisma Kapoor for Crescent and this year we see Nargis Fakhri for Elan and Priyanka Chopra for Ittehad (Fahad Hussayn).

“We worked with Aamina Sheikh last year but have shot this year’s campaign with Nargis Fakhri,” says Khadijah Shah of Elan, one designer who’s using an Indian celebrity in her campaign.

“We would have loved working with Aamina again but she was part of Kamal Lawn and since we’re collaborating with another mill this year, we couldn’t use the same face. Kamal will be working with Aamina. Honestly speaking, I’m not a Bollywood fan but there are very few people who can represent our brand in Pakistan. The options are very limited. We almost hired Mahira, who would have been perfect, but that didn’t work out. Then we made a conscious decision to use Nargis Fakhri because she is recognised here and in India, where we will be exporting. Simply put, she has wider appeal.”

It’s a no brainer: Indian stars in lawn campaigns guarantee maximum impact. The best way to attract the average housewife is to pitch her favourite celebrity to her. How many women would buy lawn that featured Veena Malik, Reema or Meera? — AHI


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