Experts Review: Airbnb and Saifeena – Do celebrity influencers sail through?

Airbnb Saifeena

Airbnb roped in Bollywood power couple Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor Khan and ace choreographemr Farah Khan to endorse some of its’ exotic properties overseas as perfect vacay options. Does it make sense for Airbnb to rope in celebrity influencers – Industry experts share their views on the Airbnb Campaign.

‘Sailing in Windsor’ was one of Mitt’s top tips for Saif & Kareena while they were on a trip to California recently Wonder who is Mitt? Well, the man is no-one but the Airbnb host at the service of the celebrity couple. 

Director Farah Khan followed suite and embarked on a journey to Spain accompanied by her triplets, choosing a Airbnb listing in Barcelona as her home away from home. The other Khan who brilliantly utilized her social media accounts to promote the luxurious offerings Airbnb offers. The choreographer also shared some tips to help families plan their next vacation.

Meanwhile, with this campaign, the debate on celebrities using the brands they endorse catches spice simultaneously among people as we see twitterati still not getting over the story of Nawab and his begum downloading an app to book their stay abroad. As soon as the videos were released, comments started pouring in ripping the company and the power couple. 

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Recently Virat Kohli too received flak for endorsing Uber where users argued- why would a high stature personality like Kohli hail the cab service which he is urging others to take?

However the home-sharing app is not attempting something like this for the first time. As a part of its global campaign, ‘Live There’ it had roped in Bollywood celebs like Twinkle Khanna and Shahrukh Khan to spread the word in India. Now in a bid to widen its horizon and expand consumer base, Airbnb is yet again betting on the BTown glamour to let its shine span the country.

Also Read: Can Virat drive Uber towards success with #BadhteChalein?

The question here is, was it necessary? Are Saif Ali Khan- Kareena Kapoor Khan, Farah Khan and other celebs who have been a part of the endorsement deal, a perfect fit for the home-sharing service? Do celebrity brand influencers bring the desired returns for a brand like Airbnb and is it the right route in the first place? 

Views on the campaign

praaneshPraanesh Bhuvaneswar, CEO, Qoruz feels that it is always exciting to see brands taking celeb endorsements from traditional media to digital. “The story telling that Airbnb has taken, is all the more natural while keeping the brand plug is subtle. Brands seek celebrities to bring an engagement waterfall and Airbnb’s campaign keeping it simple and to the point is very commendable,” he added.  

Considering the monetary aspects, Bhuvaneswar thinks that celeb collaborations can be looked at as a method to build the initial momentum while building long tails on the campaign and keeping the conversation on is critical to derive a longer top of mind recall, and that’s where a sustained engagement with relevant KOLs can prove more effective.

pranayAccording to Pranay Swarup, Co-Founder and CEO, Chtrbox almost every brand campaign can be criticized, especially when looked at in isolation, but Airbnb has got it pretty right with this campaign.

Let’s clarify a big myth first, celebrities are also influencers, and they’re definitely active on social media too. Here, Saif-Kareena in the ad-campaigns hosted on YouTube play themselves, and probably not characters, since the captions actually mention them as Saif & Kareena. They talk about how they leverage authentic reviews to help them decide on which home to choose. Farah goes ahead and hashtags #airbnb while talking about her homes in exotic locations. That’s really what airbnb is about – aspirational homes in every city.”

 

Execution is what defines the impact of the campaigns and so thinks Govind Mahadevan, Founder & CEO, Look Who’s Talking, who feels that the videos and communication have been well captured and shot, they seem warm and have that romantic appeal which makes them worth the watch.

 

 

Prince Khanna, Founder – Eleve Media echoed similar views stating that the videos have a lot of relatable things when it comes to capturing the thought people put into looking for the right AirBnB for them. The posts on Instagram miss the mark though. Neither does the property not the brand come through.

The Celebrity Factor

princeNo doubt, celebrities have played a pivotal role in making advertisers reach their consumers. But many a times we have seen an unusual celebrity-brand fit which fails to strike a chord with the consumers. Is Airbnb one of them? “Yes, celebrity associations offer a great platform to any brand, and coupled with good storytelling, the impact is always worth it,” elucidates Khanna

On the other hand, Mahadevan observed that Airbnb managed to zero-in on a good influential couple in Saif and Kareena, which will certainly help them get recognised by the Indian audience. Also, they will be able to influence both of their TG, youngsters as well as people above 35. If you consider other brands like Oyo, Treebo, etc., Airbnb needed this campaign to become mainstream – a household name.

The Follow Up

From his experience in the Influencer Marketing industry, Mahadevan believes this is a good launch strategy, but should be supported with the non-celeb influencers, who can contribute with their real experiences with Airbnb. This will help the brand in gaining trust, more than any celeb couple will do in this day and age, for the internet savvy consumers. Also, more online media content should be created for customer education showcasing how easy and convenient Airbnb is through the run of the mill Influencer Marketing strategies.

Swarup’s biggest recommendation to brands is to go for relevance & authenticity in their storytelling, even when they’re going after Tier 2& 3 India. Of course it’s important to lure India with larger than life storytelling/advertising, but it’s also important to not lose trust. It takes years of good work to build that, especially for a digital shared-economy brand like Airbnb. 

 

Buenoss Dias, Madrid! ☀️You’ve been good so far ♥️🙏🏻 Also, this was my first ever AirBnb experience and definitely a good one! And No, this isn’t a sponsored post at all. 😄 We wanted an apartment in the city centre (close to Plaza Mayor) so we didn’t have to walk or spend on commute, and this seemed perfect. We cooked most of the times to save on food outside, so my super-chef @siddharthkerkar suggested we get one with a kitchen. I have a video on my Spain highlights incase you’d want to check the place out. It’s extremely cozy and I was instantly in love the moment I stepped in ♥️ I’m putting the link to the apartment in my highlights so you can book your stay if you’re planning a stay in Madrid. Also putting my referral code, make sure you use that to earn ₹2,200 travel credit which you can use for your next trips! It’s a perfect deal! . . . . #larsatravels #larsainmadrid #madridlife #visitspain #travelstoke #condenasttraveler #cntraveler #madridframes #madridstreets #madrid2018 #indiantravelvlogger #travelvlogger #travelvlog #europetravel #indianvlogger #larissapresets #cozy #interiors #airbnb #madrid #cntgiveitashot #madridairbnb

A post shared by Larissa Dsa🌴Travel•Lifestyle (@larissa_wlc) on

 

Sometimes all you need is peace and quiet. I enjoyed some quality time in my gorgeous @airbnb home. Watch everything we did in London right away on @mtvindia Airbnb LiveThere Powered by MTV #InLondon #ad

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Do influencers actually use the products they endorse? Answers Swarup noting that now we’ve seen it time & time again that the smarter audiences see through the BS, and seek & prefer authentic endorsements. In Airbnb’s case, sure a Saifeena could very much use Airbnb to find interesting options, but they through this advertisement are also telling a very price sensitive India that their properties could be expensive, just be virtue of using successful celebrities.

From his experience in the Influencer Marketing industry, Mahadevan believes this is a good launch strategy, but should be supported with the non-celeb influencers, who can contribute with their real experiences with Airbnb. This will help the brand in gaining trust, more than any celeb couple will do in this day and age, for the internet savvy consumers. Also, more online media content should be created for customer education showcasing how easy and convenient Airbnb is through the run of the mill Influencer Marketing strategies.

Swarup’s biggest recommendation to brands is to go for relevance & authenticity in their storytelling, even when they’re going after Tier 2& 3 India. Of course it’s important to lure India with larger than life storytelling/advertising, but it’s also important to not lose trust. It takes years of good work to build that, especially for a digital shared-economy brand like Airbnb. 


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