#AppWapsi: Here’s what Aamir Khan’s association with Snapdeal tells us about brands and brand ambassadors!
The recent backlash that etailer Snapdeal faced because of the comments on ‘intolerance’ made by its brand ambassador and actor Aamir Khan in his personal capacity has definitely left many wondering--Is this backlash a heads up for a new trend on the way brands connect with their consumers?
Brands in India have traditionally relied on popular faces – Bollywood actors and cricketers for connecting with their audiences. However, they probably had never faced such severe criticism for the actions of their brand ambassadors.
So what changed this time? It isn’t the first time that a popular Bollywood actor was in news for the ‘wrong’ reasons. Well, the explanation is simple! This time, actor Aamir Khan made a direct remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime. And this did not go down well at all with his fellow Indians, who believe superstar PM Modi is the only one who can salvage the country’s future.
Khan was criticized for shaming the country in a public forum and was looked upon as a traitor, who did not value the love and honour that supposedly given by the country. So anything and everything that was associated with him became a taboo.
It further added, “Everyday we are positively impacting thousands of small businesses and millions of consumers in India. We will continue towards our mission of creating one million successful online entrepreneurs in India.”
But does the recent controversy over Aamir Khan’s remark on intolerance mark an end of the love affair between brands and brand
Well, we don’t think so! Bollywood’s bhai, Salman Khan probably ended up with a larger fan base than ever, with brands still lining up to sign him as their brand ambassador following his conviction in the decade long hit-and-run case.
“I don’t see the brands dumping Salman Khan immediately, for all of them signed him up knowing fully well that he has cases pending against him. His equity will be impacted in long term, as the news of his sentencing starts to build up. He would have a small phase of sympathy, but it will start to peter out. Long term his equity will definitely take a knock This is not the only case pending, the blackbuck one too is pending,” Naresh Gupta, managing partner of creative agency Bang in the Midde had said sometime back.
Nor it seems actor Sanjay Dutt, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 blasts, would be looked upon as a ‘traitor’ once he is out of jail next year. One movie and his role in the 1993 blasts would be forgotten.
Similarly, Shahrukh Khan too faced flak sometime back when he too commented on the growing intolerance in the country. Nevertheless, the brands associated with him were not adversely impacted by the comments, which were later clarified by the actor on social media.
So, what did Aamir do that irked consumers so much that they directed their anger at the brand he endorses?
While some say that it was his ‘blatant disregard for his nation’ that invited the wrath of his fans, we feel the fact that the actor’s comments were more personal in nature (involving his wife Kiran Rao) that did the damage. This was further worsened by media’s misinterpretation of it. Hence, his brands too felt the heat.
However, to say that the marriage between brands and brand ambassadors has come to an end would be a gross misrepresentation of the facts. This is definitely one-off cases. And unless, consumers in India mature and realise that the brands are separate from the endorser’s identity, we will continue to see the Khans rule our idiot box as well!