What is Surrogate Advertising? Strategies, Pros & Cons, Examples 

The advertisement industry has a great impact both on society and its people, especially in today’s era of technology. Businesses and companies employ various media channels for the marketing & promotion of their products and services. Those campaigns impact the lives of customers both directly and indirectly. Sometimes, companies employ such strategies that violate the laws of advertising. Today, we’ll discuss what is surrogate advertising; its reasons, strategies, benefits, limitations, and examples.

What is Surrogate Advertising? 

Surrogate advertising is a type of advertising strategy that replicates the branding image of one product for the promotion of the other product of a similar brand. The term “surrogate” means substitute. Usually, businesses and companies employ surrogate ads for the marketing and promotion of banned products under the disguise of substitute products and services.

Surrogates products could be in the form of a completely new item or the new reassembling of the same product. It means that businesses and companies market their products and services under the veil of some other product by using the same brand name.

A very popular example of surrogate advertising is the marketing of liquor products under the veil of soda drinks or some other product name like music DVDs by using the same brand name.

Reasons for Surrogate Advertising 

We have come to realize that businesses and companies employ surrogate advertising for the marketing of banned products and indirect promotion. Some of the other reasons are as follows;

  • Promotion of highly profitable and revenue-generating products like Tobacco, Cigarettes, Alcohol, etc
  • Marketing of either socially unacceptable or less acceptable products through secondary products or brands
  • Developing the brand image as a socially responsible enterprise
  • Keeping brand name alive in the minds of your target customers
  • Avoiding the ban on the direct marketing and promotion of particular products

Strategies of Surrogate Advertising 

Surrogate advertising employs a collaboration strategy to achieve rapid and exponential growth and publicity in the market. Some of the top five strategies of surrogates advertising are as follows;

Promotion by Association

The focus of promotion by association is on the value proposition of the company and it establishes the perception in the minds of customers that the brand is for brave people. Usually, celebrities and public figures endorse such brands to show the values that they want to portray.

For instance, Shatrugan Sinha, a very famous Bollywood actor promoted the Bagpiper Club Soda in an advertisement.

By Extension

Promotion by extension is when companies promote their new products under a familiar and recognized brand name. Even today, different companies employ brand extension strategies in response to the ban on the marketing and promotion of certain product categories.

For example, Kingfisher has marketed all of its products and services under the same brand name ranging from Airlines to Calendar and Soda.  

Promotion via TV Commercial

Many companies market their products directly through a TV commercials. But they can’t advertise certain product items like Tobacco and Alcohol. In such cases, they launch such TV commercials under the veil of normal products of the brand. You can say that they employ Surrogate TV advertising.

For instance, Heineken is a well-known alcohol beverage manufacturing brand, it has launched a TV commercial advertising a soda drink.

Through Events & Sponsorship

It is a form of surrogate advertising strategy that promotes the company’s products and services through sponsorships and conducting events. Here, the sponsoring company promotes its brand name by leaving the logo on the outside door or the outside perimeter of the company. The notion behind this advertisement strategy is to leave a brand name in the minds of customers.

For example, Royal Stag is the owner of the IPL cricket team and also marketing coke studio performance to promote their brand name.

Via Public Service Announcement

Promotion through PSA (public service announcement) is a strategy for marketing and promotion of products. Surrogate advertising laws and regulations have banned many products that may cause health risks. PSA advertisement is a strategy that allows companies to launch an awareness campaign about the risks of alcohol and smoking by using colorful text and designs.

For instance, Cigarette manufacturing companies inform the public about the risks of smoking, but they also promote their brand name product at the same time.

Benefits of Surrogate Advertising 

Safety and health regulations have banned the promotion and marketing of some products like tobacco and alcoholic beverages. It left companies with no other choice but to employ the surrogates ads campaign. Some of the main benefits of surrogates advertisement are as follows;

  • The threat of new entrance or competitors in the market would be lower if other companies aren’t doing surrogates marketing
  • Reminding target customers about the banned products indirectly
  • Helping businesses and companies amplify their profitability from the banned products

Limitations of Surrogate Advertising 

Some of the main drawbacks of surrogates advertisement campaigns are as follows;

  • Posses negative impact on society by promoting hazardous products
  • Awareness and knowledge of surrogates ads campaign is very low among public
  • Undermine the objective and purpose of the ban on the advertisement of harmful products set by the government

Examples of Surrogate Advertising 

Cannabis Industry

The surrogates’ marketing and promotion of cannabis are growing and proliferating. Many marijuana-providing companies market and sell their weed-infused products under the disguise of medicine. However, GW pharmaceuticals and ArcView are the two big brands that fall in its category.

Tobacco Industry

Many companies have started to market and sell their tobacco products under the substitute of hookah substitute and pan masala in recent years. For instance, Pierce Brosnan (James Bond actor) agreed to become the brand ambassador and promoted the Pan Bahar brand.

Conclusion: What is Surrogate Advertising? Strategies, Pros & Cons, Examples 

After an in-depth study of what is surrogate advertising; its reasons, strategies, benefits, limitations, and examples; we have realized that a surrogates ads campaign requires a lot of brainstorming to come up with the right idea. If you’re planning to launch it for your products or services, then you should keep in mind the abovementioned strategies, benefits, and limitations.

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