Poor Pierce Brosnan’s face is being used to sell eerie, unhealthy, dangerous Pan Masalas through advertisements. These products are tobacco related and known cancer causing sweets! When a canny consumer complained to the Advertising Standards Council of India it had to intervene and say that this was wrong and misleading.
Ashok & Co. Pan Bahar Ltd. (Pan Bahar Masala): The advertiser has shown the celebrity (Pierce Brosnan) for all their product range of Pan Bahar that includes Pan Masala category (Pan Bahar Crystal & Pan Bahar Heritage) in various advertisements. The Pan Masala advertisement has a health warning “Pan Masala is injurious to health”. It was concluded that minors are very likely to be exposed to the advertisements in various media such as print, hoarding and TVC, etc. The celebrity in the advertisement would have a significant influence on minors who are likely to emulate the celebrity in using the product. The advertisement showing the celebrity contravened Chapter III.2 (e) of the ASCI Code, which specifically states that Advertisements “Should not feature personalities from the field of sports and entertainment for products which, by law, require a health warning “Panmasala is injurious to health” in their advertising or packaging.” The CCC also noted that the advertisement for Pan Bahar Crystal & Pan Bahar Heritage is misleading by implication and contravened Chapters I.4 and III.6(b) of the ASCI Code (“Whether there exists in the advertisement under complaint any direct or indirect clues or cues which could suggest to consumers that it is a direct or indirect advertisement for the product whose advertising is restricted or prohibited by law or by this Code.”). Also, the advertisements did not meet the requirements as per ASCI’s Guidelines for Qualification of Brand Extension Product or Service and thereby contravened Chapter III.6 (a) of the ASCI Code (“Whether the unrestricted product which is purportedly sought to be promoted through the advertisement under the complaint is produced and distributed in reasonable quantities, having regard to the scale of the advertising in question, the media used and the markets targeted.”).