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How good are celebrity endorsed housing projects?

The trust factor While celebrity endorsements of housing projects are not new, the number of A-list celebs signing up with developers has grown significantly in recent years. With the real estate market witnessing a downturn, builders have been turning to ...

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Editor | December 4, 2017 @ 02:49 PM Article Comment Email Print Read More: India property news Featured Today Government announces next nine Smart Cities Property tax recovery drive fills Vadodara civic body's coffers When five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova launched a luxury residentialcomplex in Gurgaon in 2013, several homebuyers lined up, lured by the tennis star’s association with the project

Developed by Homestead Infrastructure, Ballet by Sharapova promised the good life—complete with a tennis academy, a clubhouse and a helipad

However, after collecting millions from prospective buyers, the developer abandoned construction work

Over the past few years, several high-profile personalities from the worlds of cinema and sports have lent their name and image to mega residential projects, charming hundreds into parting with their money for the home of their dreams

But like the Sharapova episode shows, celebrity endorsements do not mean you cannot be left in the lurch by the promoters

The trust factorWhile celebrity endorsements of housing projects are not new, the number of A-list celebs signing up with developers has grown significantly in recent years

With the real estate market witnessing a downturn, builders have been turning to household names to attract homebuyers

From Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to Akshay Kumar, and M.S

Dhoni to Sachin Tendulkar, the credibility afforded by the celebrities often helps developers convert buyers much quicker

"Given the image that most celebrities enjoy, it is assumed that their endorsement can turn the trick and convert buyers, especially in a slow market," says Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants

Such endorsements help the project stand out from the clutter and ensure better ad recall

"A project is placed at a much higher pedestal than others in the market because it gets the celebrity’s sanctity," agrees Parveen Jain, Vice Chairman, National Real Estate Development Council (Naredco)

The adverts featuring the celebs are enticing

They showcase the stars gallivanting in the lap of luxury and comfort, enough to make you pine for the experience

Take for instance actress Deepika Padukone, who features in an ad campaign for Lodha’s premium weekend home project Belmondo, off the Mumbai-Pune expressway, which boasts a riverside gold course designed by none other than Greg Norman

Deepika Padukone Realtor: Lodha Group Project: Belmondo Location: Pune Launched: December 2012 Initial Deadline: Q3 2017 New Deadline: December 2017 Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is regal in the advert for another premium Lodha project, The Park in central Mumbai, built around a landscaped garden spread over 7 acres

Apart from being associated with the project, the former Miss World even bought a 4-bedroom apartment in the same complex for more than Rs 5 crore

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Realtor: Lodha Group Project: The Park Location: Mumbai Launch: April 2013 Initial Deadline: End 2018 New Deadline: December 2021 Branded residences, where a celebrity designs the interiors or even lives next door, is another fast emerging concept

A few years ago, Gauri Khan tied up with Pune-based Kolte Patil Developers to design and style luxury residences and penthouses for their project Glitterati in the same city

Global celebrities seem to be the newest high-profile crowd pullers in the high-end residential property arena

Developer Homestead Infra also claims a tie-up with Formula One great Michael Schumacher for a lavish branded residential complex named Michael Schumacher World Tower in Gurgaon

Michael Schumacher Realtor: Homestead Project: Michael Schumacher World Tower Location: Gurgaon Launch: June 2012 Initial Deadline: End 2018 New Deadline: December 2019 Last year, former French football player and current Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidanewas roped in as ambassador for the Mumbai based luxury project Kanakia Paris, which aims to recreate a Parisian experience for homebuyers

Zinedine Zidane Realtor: Kanakia Spaces Project: Paris Location: Mumbai Launch: October 2014 Initial Deadline: End 2018 New Deadline: September 2019 Dreams crushedWhile the endorsements and high-decibel ad campaigns are helping a few developers ensure their projects are a success, some homebuyers have been left rueing their decision to sign on the dotted line

Several families who had moved into M.S

Dhoni endorsed Amrapali group's delayed Sapphire project in Noida complained about incomplete civil and electrical work in many towers

The unhappy residents took to Twitter demanding Dhoni either disassociate himself from the builder or force it to ensure completion of pending work

The World Cup winning captain ultimately resigned as brand ambassador

Launched amid much fanfare in 2008, the Shah Rukh Khan Boulevard residential towers in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, were subsequently scrapped as the ensuing global financial crisis took its toll on the residential market

In 2012, homebuyers of a project by real estate firm Anjaniputra dragged brand ambassador Genelia D’Souza to court along with the builder when they were not handed over the homes they had booked, supposedly after taking comfort in her association with the project

Shah Rukh Khan Realtor: Mahagun India Project: The M Collection Location: Noida Launch: March 2015 Initial Deadline: NA Expected to be completed by: June 2020 Don't fall for the nameWhat such incidents clearly show is that endorsement from a celeb is no guarantee that the home will be delivered as promised

The face of a mega star behind a project only lulls some into a misplaced sense of security

One would imagine that a high-profile public figure would associate with a housing project only after a thorough background check of the builder

Some may also figure that having a celeb’s name tied to a project would ensure that the developer stays committed to the promises

However, celebrities themselves are mostly flying blind with such associations, experts contend

"It was assumed in the past that celebrities invariably do their own due diligence before lending their name to a product

Recent events have put paid to that assumption," says Puri

According to him, most celebrities do not understand real estate at all, and therefore lack the credibility to endorse it

Sameer Jasuja, MD & Founder, PropEquity, adds, "Celebrities who endorse a particular project are paid to lend their name

By no means can the celebrity lending their name influence the timely construction, delivery or quality of the project." Akshay Kumar, Twinkle Khanna Realtor: Lodha Group Project: Amara Location: Thane Launch: March 2016 Initial Deadline: End 2019 Expected to be completed by: November 2019 Other high-profile celebrity associations include Anushka Sharma for Ruparel Realty and Priyanka Chopra for Unnati Fortune Group

Besides, while mega star endorsements have helped some projects get initial traction and attract buyers, it may not necessarily translate into sustained sales

Since the endorsements typically come at huge costs for the builder, they translate into higher prices for the homes, which turns away many buyers

Saurabh Mehrotra, National Director-Advisory, Knight Frank India, says, "Celebrity endorsements help break the clutter and catapult the project in the minds of the target audience, thereby creating a 'push strategy' and increase in footfalls

This can only be sustained if the buyers see value in the product." This is not to suggest that one should be circumspect about celebrity endorsements

Many of these associations are with builders with years of strong execution track record

Likewise, projects not endorsed by any celeb should not be seen in a different light

But industry experts maintain that celebrity endorsements are no substitute for examining the project thoroughly

Unlike other items promoted by celebs such as cosmetics, clothing or cars, real estate is a lifetime investment

The size of the investment demands that one carries out the necessary due diligence

Endorsement by a celebrity should not overshadow good judgment, insists Puri

"Regardless of what marketing cards are played, there should be no deviation of focus on the basic fundamentals that give value to a home—RERA compliance, good location, sufficient and appropriate amenities, the right price, and the brand of the developer, which has a lot to do with construction quality and reliability of pre and post-sales service." Anshuman Magazine, Chairman, India & South East Asia, CBRE, emphasises, "Before investing in a house, one needs to conduct a complete due diligence of the project." This includes checking the developer’s profile and track record, delivery timelines, construction quality and so on

It is also important to look at the surrounding infrastructure to understand the long term benefits of investing in the property

If the developer does not meet the critical yardsticks of quality and timely execution, no celebrity is going to help improve these aspects

Mehrotra stresses that homebuyers realise that the celebrity is only a communication medium being used by the developer to position his product

"The perceived attributes of a celebrity do not get transferred to a product just because he or she has endorsed it," he points out. Sanket Dhanorkar, Economic Times Do you like this story? Post a Comment Comment Email Print Font Reduce Font Large Follow @timesofindia window.twttr = (function (d, s, id) { var t, js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src= ""; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); return window.twttr || (t = { _e: [], ready: function (f) { t._e.push(f) } }); }(document, "script", "twitter-wjs")); Related Articles Gagan Developers - A journey of 17 years towards Building Experiences Investors Planner: A benchmark in Real Estate Brokerage 'Enquiries, sales picking up slowly yet steadily' KEF Infra crosses 1000 crores revenue in FY 2017 Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects to design new campus complex for the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute Have something to say? Post your comment Comments are moderated and will be allowed if they are about the topic and not abusive. Characters remaining (3000) To post this comment you must log in. Log In/Connect with: Powered by Quarks Technosoft Pvt

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