Big B cuts ties with 'pan masala' brand on birthday
On his 79th birthday, veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan revealed he has terminated his endorsement contract with a popular pan masala brand after realizing it was "surrogate advertising." In a statement, the megastar said he also returned his fees to the brand. This comes after he received a letter from the national anti-tobacco organization and online flak for his association with the company. Here's more.
Announcing the move on Monday, a statement from Bachchan's office said, "Kamala Pasand...a few days after the commercial was aired, Mr. Bachchan contacted the brand and stepped out of it last week." Apparently, when "Bachchan became associated with the brand, he wasn't aware that it falls under surrogate advertising." Now, he has terminated the contract, written to them, and returned the money he received.
Surrogate advertising is the promotion of a banned product under the veil of substitute goods. Thus, advertisers can promote alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, and other such intoxicants in the garb of soda, fruit juice, pan masala, or even music CDs.
Big B's move to take a stand against surrogate advertising has been praised online. Also, many Twitter users have drawn comparisons with other top actors who continue to endorse such brands. However, Bachchan had previously held his ground and defended his ad with the pan masala brand when it first aired last month amid wide criticism on social media.
Earlier, replying to a fan, the actor said, "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." In September, National Organization for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) President, Dr. Shekhar Salkar, addressed an open letter to him, requesting Bachchan to withdraw the ad.
At one hand @SrBachchan ji being the brand ambassador for national health polices like Pulse Polio Program talk about saving children but in other hand he’s promoting substances posing health hazard in them. #saynototobacco #paanmasala #tobacco #youth #AmitabhBachchan— Dr Shekhar Salkar (@dr_salkar) September 23, 2021
Dr. Salkar celebrated Bachchan's endorsement termination news, too. Calling it a return gift on the legendary actor's birthday, the surgeon said, "You're a youth icon and supporting such initiatives would have led to a massive change in the mindset of the young generation." Recently, Shah Rukh Khan was also criticized for promoting Vimal Pan Masala amid his son Aryan's arrest in a drugs case.