Ian Callum Jaguar Design Director

It seems to be a old tried and tested formula, call a celebrity to the launch of any product and you are bound to get more press. Well, there is no denying that a celebrity attracts a whole lot of people to any event as most often people tend to rank them on too high a scale. But there are drawbacks too. Celebrities have their own tantrums, they usually arrive late and since everyone wants a piece of them, they have quite a lot of security as well. This in turn results in the job of the journalist getting compromised because he/she can no longer come close to the vehicle.

However the bigger problem is that due to a celebrity coming to the event, the number of journalists at that particular occasion happens to far exceed the total number of journalists in the world. Yes, that’s right, everyone becomes a journalist when a celebrity is around. The result is a jam packed place and forget getting pictures of the vehicle, you don’t even get pictures of the security guards around the celeb. While manufacturers think they are doing a great job by spending money and getting a star to unveil their latest vehicle, the truth to be told, it doesn’t work in the long run.

When a celebrity comes, the attention is on him/her and not on the product and you would have read tons of news coverage in mainstream media talking about Kareena Kapoor at the Auto Expo and not about DC’s Tia. Besides the amount of havoc caused is just something unexpected. It happened at the 2012 Auto Expo when Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, etc. had come to the biennial event and even after the sour memories of that encounter, manufacturers are still not learning. At the 2014 Auto Expo, there were still quite a few celebs and they were not of the brand ambassador kind.

No offence to any manufacturer but I am honestly telling you that most people who know a jack about cars would still look at a 2-door coupe with the same love and respect, irrespective of whether Priyanka Chopra is flashing her cosmetically enhanced smile or not. The BMW i8 is such a stunning car that it can attract people on its own merits, no cricket maestro can change that. In spite of celebs at the Jaguar, Audi and BMW stalls, the Mercedes S-Class will remain the best car in the whole world because it’s just a step above its rivals.

I can rant on for like eternity but one small incident will clearly put a nice end to this perspective. The most attractive girls at the whole Auto Expo were at the Piaggio stall, they were Italian models but not many people were seen there, nobody cared much about the Vespa Sport or the out of reach of almost everyone Vespa 946. Right opposite the Piaggio stall was another stall where the footfalls were extremely high and not a single model (of the human kind) was to be seen. This stall was of Bajaj Auto and the Pulsar CS400 and Pulsar SS400 were attracting crowds in hordes. Clearly most sensible people who visit an automobile event come to see vehicles and if they have other thoughts, they should probably head to a film-fare function or a ramp show.

Shah Rukh Khan KTM Duke