or celebrity brand endorsement is a sensitive issue. And now it is being
realized the world over to the extent of enacting legislations. Countries from
America to Europe, even China are coming with stringent norms of who can
endorse a brand. Even India is moving ahead in this direction positively.
thrust behind such moves is to safeguard the consumer from misleading
advertisements and thus products. On a larger canvas, it is about breach of
trust because a consumer decides to buy a product a celebrity endorses based on
his trust on the person that he believes reflects in everything associated with
is the underlying common sense wisdom - the commonsense wisdom, that forces
global brands to dissociate with brand ambassadors of global fame if something
'not as per the norms' happens - be it Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong or Oscar
Pistorius or even Amitabh Bachchan back home.
all had negatives happening in their lives when sponsors shunned them - because
it would portray their brand in negative hue.
commonsense wisdom applies on every branding exercise - especially when you are
speaking for communities, societies, places or countries - in social spheres -
in cultural spheres - in political spheres.
when India chooses an Amitabh Bachchan (though Bachchan has denied it now) or a
Salman Khan to represent the country (and not some tangible brand) globally,
you can only rue about it.
doubt, Amitabh Bachchan are larger than life film stars in India and they have
a sizeable following overseas, even if limited to the Diaspora Indians.
they have their fair share of controversies.
Amitabh Bachchan has had controversies like episodes of his political career
and Bofors row, his claim to be a farmer to get farming land to tax evasion
allegations against him and his name coming up as director in companies in tax
havens, as the leaked Panama Papers suggest - Salman Khan is deeply entangled
in court cases - ranging from hit and
run killing and maiming people to kill animals to rowdy behaviour on display
many times in personal and public life.
that makes them imperfect for any branding exercise to represent India
internationally. It is true that for Indian film industry, there will be no
Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan and that is uniqueness of their respective
brand appeals. But this appeal is restricted to commercial products only.
it comes to representing India globally through an advertising campaign like
the Incredible India, Aamir Khan should come first and not Amitabh Bachchan. Aamir
Khan, the previous Incredible India brand ambassador who didn't charge for the
campaign, so far has had an impeccable personal and professional life and he is
known as a socially conscious fellow.
denial that has come from Amitabh Bachchan now, after the Panama Papers
controversy, should have come earlier, when his names started doing rounds for
the next brand ambassador of the Incredible India campaign. That would have
enhanced his credibility. But he chosen to remain silent then, for reasons,
though we can gauge, only he can clarify.
it comes to representing India at the Rio Olympics this year, any sporting
legend like PT Usha should be considered and not Salman Khan. Appeals like
Salman Khan would compensate for popular appeal and youth connect do not hold
any ground. Salman Khan was chosen as AIFF (Football) brand ambassador in 2009
but we know nothing has moved on the ground as far as Football's popularity in
India is concerned.