Actor Amitabh Bachchan has ended his contract with a pan masala brand, citing his ignorance of the fact that the promotion “falls under surrogate advertising”. The decision comes follows a national anti-tobacco organisation’s request to him to withdraw from the advertisement campaign. The organisation had pleaded that his withdrawal would prevent young people from getting addicted to tobacco.
Many fans of Bachchan have been against the advertisement.
An official statement released by the office of Bachchan said that he had dissociated himself from the brand. The statement reads:
Kamala Pasand… a few days after the commercial was aired, Mr Bachchan contacted the brand and stepped out of it last week. Upon checking why this sudden move — 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 his termination and has returned the money received for the promotion.”
Earlier, President of the National Organisation For Tobacco Eradication Shekhar Salkar had written an open letter addressed to Amitabh Bachchan, where the activist stated that pan masala impacted the health of citizens. He added that since Bachchan was the government brand ambassador for the pulse polio campaign, he should drop out of pan masala ads immediately.
“As an oncologist and member of an NGO working in the field of tobacco cessation, I am aggrieved and provoked to wage war against the dubious measures, such embellishment done by various influential and famous Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Ajay Devgn, Ranveer Singh and Hrithik Roshan, leading to increased tobacco use among students,” the letter read.
Last month, Amitabh Bachchan had responded to a fan who had asked him why he chose to endorse the brand. He had replied,
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.
Surrogate advertising is a kind of advertising where banned products, such as cigarettes and tobacco, are promoted in the guise of another product.