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Bubbly burst

Post pesticide-in-cola episode, most star endorsers have adopted a wait-and-watch attitude, writes Princy Jain.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2006 13:43 IST

This is a fuzzy story. Now that colas are tasting flat with the pesticide issue, most of the stars endorsing them have switched to a wait-and-watch mode.

It’s hard to believe th at these are the same stars who not only come knocking with bytes just when their film is about to be released but even adopt some or the other social cause to further their own ‘cause’.

And they are their vo cal best when talking about the product they endorse, with statements like — “I connect with the product.” Where are they now?

Endorsing exceptions

After the pesticide controversy broke out afresh, Aamir Khan was quoted as saying on a news channel: “If the reports are found to be true then I would talk to Coke. If there are health hazards involved I wouldn’t continue the contract.”

When contacted, Priyanka Chopra’s publicist Chand Mishra spoke on the star’s behalf: “If there are any findings, they have to be proved before any action is taken.” Priyanka endorses Pepsi TV.

The rest -- Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukerji, Mallika Sherawat and John Abraham, who smile for some or the other fizz drink on TV, have all been silent -- either they have no time to talk or they feel it’s too early to comment.

While publicists of SRK and Aish warya Rai maintained a “no stand” status, that of Mallika Sherawat said: “She is shooting in a remote location and is not reachable.”

Money speaks

Is endorsing a product only about hefty cheques these stars get or is there any social responsibility? After all, they make crores per endorsement -- SRK (Rs 5 cr), Aamir Khan (Rs 4-5 cr), Priyanka Chopra (Rs 3 cr), Kareena Kapoor (Rs 2-3 cr) and Mallika Sherawat (Rs 1-2 cr).

Ajay Devgan, who endorses a liquor brand, says, “By publicising a liquor brand, I’m, in no manner, instigating a non-alcoholic person to inculcate the habit of drinking. It’s just a product which people consume anyway and I’m making them aware of it.”

However, Chandrabhushan of Centre for Science and Environment (which brought out the report) says, “In 2003, we had sent letters to all the stars but never received any response.” Adds a publicist of a leading star on condition of anonymity; “It’s just a commercial venture for them.

But there are certain people who understand their responsibility and adhere to it.” So, the next time a star comes selling something, think twice.

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