Amitabh Bachchan has reportedly scrapped an endorsement deal with Kamla Pasand Pan Masala after a number of citizens questioned the star for endorsing a product that is deemed harmful to health.
According to an official statement from the actor’s office, the actor has scrapped the deal because he was not aware that it falls under surrogate advertising.
“It was revealed that when Mr Bachchan became associated with the brand, he wasn’t aware that it falls under surrogate advertising. Mr Bachchan has terminated the contract with the brand, has written to them about his termination and has returned the money received for the promotion,” said the actor’s blog post.
While netizens had been calling out the senior actor on Twitter, Shekhar Salkar, President, National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication, had also written to him about the impact of pan masala on health.
The ad film:
Ranveer Singh is also a brand ambassador for the same brand and featured with Amitabh Bachchan in a recent commercial for the brand. It remains to be seen what his move will be.
When the film was released, people questioned the actor for endorsing the product. The actor also replied to a comment on Facebook saying, “If some people are getting benefits from an industry, we should not think as to ‘why am I getting associated with it?’ If it is an industry, then we too should think of it as our industry. Now, you may think that I should not be doing it, but I get paid for it,” on Facebook.
According to Manisha Kapoor, Secretary-General, ASCI (Advertising Standards Council India), “By law, tobacco advertising is not allowed. The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003 is an Act of Parliament of India enacted in 2003 to prohibit advertisement of, and to provide for the regulation of trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India.”
“The ASCI code also has clear guidelines in place for advertising of brand extensions of products whose advertising is prohibited by law. ASCI’s guidelines also state that celebrities should not participate in advertisements of products which by law require a health warning in their ads or packaging,” she added.
Lately, actors such as Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn have also been trolled for endorsing pan masala brands, which are often surrogate advertising.