The government is planning to introduce a new consumer protection law, according to which a jail term of up to 5 years and a fine of Rs 50 lakh for celebrities that endorse misleading advertisements. We got in touch with Swaragini actor Namish Taneja and Karan Sharma, who was last seen in Star Plus’ show Mohi, to know their views on this matter.
As the government is aiming at hefty fine and even jail for celebrities if they found featured in misleading ads. Do you think it’s justified?
Karan: Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta were dragged to the court after mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) was found in a popular noodles brand, which they had promoted. I don’t think it’s to blame them in such cases. We actors usually do not go into all the technicalities of the product, they just check the brand and whether it harmful or not. Instead of imposing a fine on celebrities, government should ban the product.
Namish: It’s the responsibility of an actor to endorse only the genuine products, instead of doing misleading ads like, ‘Ye cream lagaane se aap 1 hafte mein gore hoo jayege’ or ‘Ye herbal tea peene se aap 10 din mein ghata sakte hai 5KGs tak vajaan’. In my opinion, asking an actor to pay hefty penalty or putting them behind the bar is not a good idea. In lieu of this, we should ban the product and ask the manufacturer to pay the fine.
What’s it that you see before signing up for endorsing a product? Are there any dos and don’ts that you have set for yourself before becoming part of a product promotion?
Karan: The first thing I check is the brand and in case if it’s an old product, I read the reviews on the internet. After the ‘two-minute’ noodles controversy I started looking at the ingredients of the product. If I feel the product genuinely don’t serve the purpose, I avoid promoting them. If possible, I try to use the product. Like I actually brought Godrej Aer Twist car air freshener before endorsing it.
Namish: To be very frank, apart from the brand, money plays an important role before I decided to endorse any product. But, my dad (who is a teacher) had always taught me, money is not everything, so usually I check the background of the manufacturer and product. I even google the ingredients of the product and if I found it has some harmful chemical then I refuse to endorse it. I also check, if the claims which the product does is practical or not.
Any bad experience that you can share.
Karan: I had a bad experience, I did a telly commercial for a product, they verbally committed that the ad will use the ad for a few months. But to my surprise, they run the ad for years. As I haven’t signed any contract with them, so I couldn’t sue them.
Namish: A couple of months ago, I received a call for print shoot of some renowned clothing. I told them to email me the details, along with the pictures of the clothes, which they want me to wear during the shoot. I almost locked the deal, but fortunately my publicist Himaanshu Shuklaa checked the email which I had received from the coordinator. With his eagle eyes he noticed, that the logos in the pictures of clothes is not genuine. I was shocked, when he told me that it was a fake copy of a well known clothing brand.