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Dear Brands please boycott #Bollywood


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Dear Brands who use Bollywood actors as models/brand ambassadors,

Pl seek inspiration from AMUL – whose products and mascot have captivated generations of Indians. In an Indian home from the grandparent to grandchild all love Amul and relate with it.

Why does India love AMUL? Because it delivers great quality – consistently. We know that it has transformed lives of millions of Indians in rural India. We trust the product and respect the impact Amul makes by the way it makes it’s products.

Using a random celeb to promote a brand / product is –

  • Laziness on part of the ad agency. Using the celeb as an expensive substitute for quality, creative work that touches the minds and hearts of consumers.
  • A nexus between agencies and representatives of celebs with generous kickbacks flowing between them.

What else explains the usage of Hrithik Roshan for a Nirma washing powder?

If Nirma had used even 50% of the money they paid to Hrithik to give washing powder to poor people the brand would have earned enormous goodwill and business.

Alia Bhatt for Vicco makes lesser sense than the speeches of Rahul Gandhi. The brand is a household name trusted for decades by millions. They hire a person whose family is alleged to have been pals with David Headley. One fully accepts that a family member is not accountable for the actions of other. Do we know if Alia Bhatt condemned the actions of her brother? No. What we do know is that she has had a history of being snooty on TV and running down people who do not come from a filmi family.

Snapdeal had to snap the deal with Amir Khan when citizens were outraged by his unwarranted comments on India. That experience taught Khan to keep his views to himself. Until recently when he visited Turkey and got cosy with the family of a despot. PhonePe – be prepared for India to snap the deal with your service. The unimaginative police station ad with Amir Khan and Alia Bhat does nothing for your service. Besides sacking your models – please sack your lazy and clueless ad agency.

Knorr noodles – the sight of Karan Johar being his pretentious self in your ad makes one lose appetite for your noodles. After the ads I have stopped the occasional purchase of your soupy noodles.

There was a time when ICICI Bank ran a promo offering a watch with Shahrukh Khan’s face printed on the dial as a gift to NRI’s who open an account with the bank. At that point I did a quick poll with friends and associated. NO ONE thought of that watch as an incentive. Yet ICICI Bank purchased thousands of such watches, printed flex banners and put them in each branch. Clearly the Chanda Kochhar era. If ICICI had put that money into training it’s staff then millions of consumers would have received something better than the apathy that used to masquerade as service by the bank.

A liquor brand whose management and ad agency possibly make decisions when drunk have taken on Sanjay Dutt as the model.

STOP using models/brand ambassadors from Bollywood. Create mascots or get models who have character and credibility. Demand your ad agency to deliver creative ads without using a famous person.

Businesses operate in a society. Whether you recognize and act upon it or not you have a responsibility towards the society. What kind of role models are you furthering via your modeling contracts? People who don’t find it in them to support the nation even when it faces external threats. But the same people have words of sympathy for Pakis. Since you folks chase Bollywood and work closely with them – help us understand their anti Hindu bias. A Anushka Sharma will post messages of all kinds of exotic meat through the year. But Diwali poses a big problem for puppies. Dia Mirza did films with water being wasted as rainfall. She has nothing to say on the painful killing of animals during Eid but would come out and try to speak negatively about Holi. When they have a movie release they make placards and stand without bothering to wait for investigation agencies to put out the facts. In doing so they use their impact irresponsibly and even dangerously. Impact – part of which you enabled for them via your modeling contracts. If flakiness, fluff, hypocrisy are the founding values of your organization – go ahead and use Bollywood as your brand model.

Let’s assume here for a moment that you don’t quite understand the role model angle. Hopefully you will understand the language of economics?

Your company spent years – maybe decades – to build your brand and business. Why would you put it in the risk of consumer backlash with people as models who may end up on the list of drug mafia of Bollywood? By using Bollywood actors in your ads you are somewhere in the spectrum of stupidity to self sabotage.

Use the money you would have poured down the drain (i.e. paid the Bollywood actor) to ensure all employees, vendors and service providers get paid on time. Put out an ad stating that – consumers will be inclined to patronize your product/service.

These are unprecedented times. Millions are facing challenges due to reduced income / no income. Food, health care – basics are a problem.

Use your Bollywood ad budget to support micro lending, small businesses, help schools for under privileged communities with digital solutions, plant trees, support nutrition projects.

Maybe many of the people you impact itself may be part of your customer base. In which case you will have struck gold with your good karma.

Do good karma and communicate it creatively.

You’ll have our attention, appreciation and our business.


An Indian Citizen

p.s – Send an Amul hamper to your ad agency with a letter that you are now hitting reset on expectations.


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