Here’s another example that demonstrates the power of social media, and how the common man can utilize it to fight their battles against the more powerful groups in India. It also highlights the need on rules and regulations on celebrity endorsements, so that celebrities do not endorse products only for money (and are probably held accountable for the products and services that they endorse).
Deepika Padukone TROLLED for Doing Coca Cola ad
Deepika Padukone was recently trolled for doing an ad film for Coca Cola. People were obviously not happy that the star actress was promoting coca cola soft drink, which is considered an unhealthy product.
“Most unhealthy drink on earth! Why is she promoting…just for money? We are trying to ban dat product in order to save farmers and you cheap actors promoting dat product,” said one of the comments.
Here’s the video.
Recently, Abhay Deol said celebrities should not endorse fairness creams as it encourages racism. And now people are objecting to Bollywood actors promoting cola ads too.
It seems, soon Bollywood celebrities may not be able to promote anything (that pays them handsomely).
Cricketer MS Dhoni Trolled for Delays in Completion of Housing project
Recently, Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni was trolled on Twitter for the delays in the completion of Amrapali Saphire housing project, forcing him to eventually quit as the brand ambassador of the Amrapali group (The # Amrapalimisusedhoni hashtag went viral on Twitter with thousands of impressions).
The buyers of Amrapali Sapphire used the social media to remind the cricketer that he had to take responsibility for the actions (say inaction) of the builder as he had endorsed the builder for years because of which several people invested in the housing project.
Maggi (Instant Noodles) Controversy
The sales of one of India’s most popular packed food (up until now) – ‘Maggi Noodles’, plummeted in India after tests conducted by a government agency found MSG and lead content far beyond permissible limits. The problem has not just impacted the sales of the product, but several Bollywood celebrities (Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri dixit, Preity zinta ) were caught in the cross-fire for endorsing the 2-minute Maggi noodle.
Cases were filed against them (before the chief judicial magistrate) for promoting the product and the Food and Drug Administration, Haridwar, even served a legal notice on Madhuri Dixit for endorsing Maggi.
Big B said that hence forth he’s going to be more cautious with the brand endorsements.
Kangana Turns Down 2 Cr. Fairness Cream Deal, Does Alia in New Boroplus TVC
Kangana Ranaut is currently the reigning ‘Queen’ of Bollywood, with the top directors and actors willing to work with her. She’s also the highest paid actress in Bollywood right now! After rejecting a lucrative offer to promote a skin-whitening product, Kanagana has done a TVC (TV commercial) for Boroplus. And there were a couple of reasons for her to do the ad.
One is that Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was also a part of the TVC, and secondly she had to play a bimbo (more like the Alia Bhatt) in the TVC which appealed to the actor inside her.
Here’s the Boroplus commercial, featuring Kangana & Big B
For quite some time now, Kanagana had been quite vocal about her dislike for products that supposedly make you ‘whiter’. She has always spoken out against skincare companies, who pay huge amounts to stars for endorsing their skin whitening creams.
But the actress won praise when she really put her money where her mouth was; she turned down a deal reportedly worth 2 crore rupees (almost USD $300,000) to promote a skin-lightening product.
The Bollywood actress says that “As a public figure, I have responsibilities.”
Kanagna Ranaut said: “My sister [Rangoli Ranaut] is dusky, yet beautiful. If I go ahead and be part of this campaign, then, in a way, I would be insulting her. If I can’t do that to my sister, then how can I do it to the entire nation?”
“As a celebrity, what kind of an example would I be setting for younger people? I have no regrets about turning this offer down.”
For those who’re not from India, and are wondering what is all the fuss about…the ‘skin-whitening’ product category is almost exclusive to Indian and Asian markets.
In this part of the world, there are many who still associate ‘white skin’ with beauty and ‘high class’ (probably because India was a British colony).
Several top brands have skin-whitening products that target don’t just women, but also men, in India. The ads of such products often feature Bollywood stars and glorify lighter/whiter skin.
For long, critics have been voicing concern saying that such ads fuel insecurity and poor self image among Indian and Asian consumers. Finally, they have something to cheer about!
Indian Celebs who Turned Down Lucrative Endorsements, that were Not Socially Relevant
Here are other Bollywood stars and Indian celebrities who have turned down lucrative endorsements because they felt the advts. were not socially relevant or the products were harmful to the public.
- Aamir Khan: Aamir tuned down an ad for a luxury car (definitely worth a few croroes) because he only wants to do socially relevant campaigns.
- Kangana Ranaut: The ‘queen who’s set the box-office afire with her recent films, rejected a 2-crore deal with a fairness cream brand as she firmly believes that people should feel comfortable under their own skin.
- John Abraham: A fitness freak, John has never endorsed tobacco or alcohol related products
- Pullela Gopichand: Gopichand, a great badminton player, and the man responsible for coaching the finest Indian badminton players, turned down a commercial for a cola giant as he believes colas fall in the category of unhealthy food.
- Amitabh Bachchan: He once turned down a TVC as the content was related to dowry. On another occasion, he stopped endorsing a cola brand after a young girl came to him and asked why he was promoting a soft-drink that her teacher deemed as ‘slow poison’.
In an age where news spreads thick and fast, celebrities are going to be more cautious when it comes to endorsements, so that they don’t get in the cross-fire if the product is not deemed as safe. Nevertheless, its a good idea for celebrities to do some due-diligence, especially when millions of people are going to believe in the products they endorse. Besides, due-diligence is a small job to do, if you’re going to be paid crores of rupees.