While actor Aamir Khan expressed his views as an individual about the growing intolerance in the country, the brunt was borne by brands that he endorses, especially Snapdeal. #AppWapsi even trended on Twitter, which encouraged customers to delete the app.
On Wednesday, Snapdeal issued a statement saying they are not responsible for Aamir’s comments.
Industry experts say stars cannot keep their brand committments in mind while expressing an opinion. Actor Raveena Tandon says that while actors have a clause in their endorsement contracts to make sure that they do not say anything which hampers the brand’s image, what you believe in eventually comes out. “When you are talking, you are not thinking about the brands that you endorse, you are thinking as a celebrity and of your responsibility. You want to set a certain moral standard. However when we come on board with a brand, we also sign a clause saying that we will not say anything which will affect the brand’s image,” she says.
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta says that people and the brands which they endorse have always been linked. “It’s an unfair situation. Madhuri (Dixit) was targeted for Maggi and this situation is a reverse of that. People will link brands to actors who endorse it, it’s just the times we live in,” he says.
Ad guru Prahlad Kakar says that this is often the price one pays for associating with a big star. “There will be collateral damage in this situation. The benefit of having a big star on board is huge, but it also has a flip side. The most a brand can do is to release a statement, which they did,” he says.
Ad-man Alyque Padamsee sees this as the handiwork of the brand’s competitors. “Competitors instigate the public. The tweets, too, might be from rivals. It seems politically motivated,” he says.
Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt raises another point. He says had Aamir had a film releasing now, that would have been banned as well. “When your sentiments are hurt, you will go for the low laying products to hurt the person,” says the filmmaker.