Actor Pierce Brosnan says he is “distressed” to learn of Pan Bahar’s “unauthorized and deceptive use” of his image in a pan masala ad.
“I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one’s health,” Brosnan said in an exclusive statement to People magazine.
Pan Bahar is made from a mixture of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and is believed to cause cancer and other health problems.
Brosnan claimed to been deceived and that the contract details stated that he was to advertise a “breath freshener/tooth whitener”.
The veteran actor had kicked off the ad campaign a day after Union consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government is considering a ban on celebrity endorsements if advertisements are found to be misleading.
“Having endured, in my own personal life, the loss of my first wife and daughter as well as numerous friends to cancer, I am fully committed to supporting women’s healthcare and research programs that improve human health and alleviate suffering,” the statement said.
"Class never goes out of style."— Madhu Menon (@madmanweb) 7 October 2016
Until you appear in a Pan Bahar ad. pic.twitter.com/L5Q72saFaN
Before the James Bond actor, Saif Ali Khan endorsed Pan Bahar.
“When Saif did it, he had to be doubly careful about what he says, not use his signature etc. One slip and he could be hauled up by the government for promoting a habit that risks consumers’ health,” according to a senior advertising executive with one of India’s biggest ad agencies.
“With Brosnan, it is different. If something goes wrong, who is going to haul Brosnan to the court here?”
Brosnan’s response comes amid public outrage over his endorsement, which could potentially turn into a media nightmare for the brand custodians.