by Graham Pierrepoint
Celebrity endorsements are nothing new. If anything, many actors, singers and stars of other calibers find themselves signing up to front brands and commercials so that they can effectively top up their income – or, in some cases, if they genuinely get behind a product or its ethos. Who can blame them in either sense? Many celebrities from the West often found their way out East, too – you only have to see a series of bizarre advertisements Hulk Hogan made for the Asian market to understand this – but in some cases, things may not end too smoothly for either the brand or the star involved.
Actor Pierce Brosnan has recently fronted TV advertising for an Indian product known as Pan Bahar, which is a chewing concoction made from various spices and tobacco – and it seems that Indian courts aren’t too happy that he chose to promote such a product. The problems arise from the fact that areca nut, one of the ingredients of the chewing mixture, is considered by the World Health Organisation to be carcinogenic – and, as a result, it has been banned in various states, including those across India. Brosnan’s involvement in advertising the controversial product has resulted in the Delhi health department getting in touch with him to explain his involvement – otherwise, he could face consequences.
Watch: ▶ Pierce Brosnan threatened with jail time over ad in India
It’s been stated that failure to respond to the notice within 10 days could result in the actor being forced to pay 5000 Indian Rupees (around $78) – or that he could even face up to two years’ jail time. Brosnan himself has publicly stated that he was ‘deeply shocked and saddened’ with regard to news surrounding the true ingredients of the product – as he has stated he was under the impression that he was helping to promote an all natural product that acted as a breath freshener – and that no harmful ingredients were involved. “I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one’s health,” the actor stated. “I shall endeavour to rectify this matter.” Apologising publicly, the actor made reference to having lost both his wife and daughter as well as friends to cancer – adding that he is ‘fully committed’ to supporting various healthcare programs.
With Brosnan having been so public about his involvement in the commercial – what will happen next? It seems that not all foreign endorsements go as smoothly as planned.