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Amitabh Bachchan (one of the most popular Bollywood faces in advertisements) has decided to end his endorsement contract with Kamla Pasand, which is a pan-mamala brand. Big B, who appears in an ad alongside Ranveer Singh for Kamla Pasand Elaichi, received some criticism on social media last month for endorsing this brand in what is being seen as a surrogate advertisement for a tobacco-based item.

His office, through his blog, released a statement saying that he didn’t know about the. “deal falls under surrogate advertising”When he was associated with the brand. “Mr Bachchan has terminated the contract with the brand, has written to them his termination and has returned the money received for the promotion,”The statement was also added.

Mixed response

His move has been met with mixed reactions in brand circles. Lloyd Mathias, Angel Investor and Business Strategist, praised the move as a great one. He said that “I think it’s a positive step that a well-known public figure is ready to relook at his endorsement deals on moral grounds. Bachchan’s decision to pull out of the deal is a mature step. It also sends a signal to all other brand ambassadors that they need to be accountable for the choices they make in terms of endorsing brands as this influences the choices of their fans. Brand ambassadors need to own accountability for their decisions which influence many.”

Others, however, suggested that the decision could have been prompted in part by public criticism, particularly over social media. Sandeep Goyal is the Chief Mentor at Indian Institute of Human Brands and has been vocal about surrogate advertisement trends in the country. “ All celebrities know fully well what they are doing. Only when the consequences outweigh the monetary gains do they decide it is perhaps not worth the bother.”

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“Brand endorsers are under a wider and deeper degree of scrutiny than ever before. I do believe stars are wary of this as they refuse consumer-contentious categories,”Harish Bijoor, a brand strategy expert, said:

Actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn and Hrithik Rosshan have not hesitated to endorse pan masala products in recent times.

This is not the second time celebrities have had to cancel endorsement deals with pan masala brands. In 2018, Hollywood star Pierce Brosnan’s endorsement of Pan Bahar met with ridicule and he was quick to end his association.

ASCI Guidelines

According to the Advertising Standards Council of India guidelines, celebrities should not be featured on advertisements for products that require health warnings in their packaging.

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ASCI has recently tightened its guidelines regarding surrogate advertising. The guidelines state that brand extensions of products such as alcohol and tobacco which have been present in the market for less than two years need to have net sales turnover of ₹20 lakh per month from launch or demonstrate fixed asset investments of not less than ₹10 crore.

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