This is one reason Madhuri Dixit wouldn’t have wanted to be in news for. The actor recently received a notice from the Haridwar Food and Drug Administration for endorsing the nutritional value of Maggi, when the brand has been under fire of late, after the UP government found dangerously high levels of lead in a batch of the noodles.
The notice, that requires the actor to respond within 15 days has triggered a debate about whether brand ­ambassadors can be held ­liable for lack of ­promised quality in products.
Veteran advertising ­professional Alyque Padamsee says, “A government body can’t send a legal notice to any brand ambassador, they have to send it to the company. It is the company that makes the product. And if the company said that the product is safe and good, then the ambassador has to accept that they can’t go around being a scientist and finding if it’s true or not.”
Actor Sana Khan, who got embroiled in controversy a few years back when she endorsed a men’s underwear brand, says that such controversies make it scary for celebs to endorse brands. “The way people react gets scary. When the ­controversy happened with my ad, protesters took out morchas in my name and burnt my hoardings in Dadar (Mumbai). Thank God I wasn’t famous then, because with A-list actors, it is easy to send a notice and tarnish their reputation,” she says.
Actor Shah Rukh Khan, who endorses several brands, spoke about the dilemma faced by celeb brand ­ambassadors at the launch of a real estate project last month. When asked how he can ensure the quality of ­construction, SRK had said, “Whenever I endorse a ­product, I try to understand as much as I can about it. Obviously, I’m not an expert on cars, watches or ­construction work... My first question to a brand is what they have utilised. I am sure there is a system which takes care of the construction of the highest quality. But, if you ask me whether I’ve checked it, neither you nor I can check it. But I can assure you that I have been given this assurance by the promoters of the brand. I think if we don’t offer quality then these people will only suffer”
Madhuri Dixit, meanwhile, remained unavailable for comment. Her manager, ­however, denied that she has received any notice thus far, refusing to comment any ­further.
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