Maggi controversy should bring guidelines on celebrity endorsement and ethics of advertisements
Prahlad Rao | June 2, 2015
Credibility comes with a burden, a burden of honesty and that of sincerity. And whatever they are worth intrinsically, the celebrities acquire credibility, real or assumed.
They are expected to cash this credibility tag with caution as their utterances have tendency to generate mass hysteria. Being a brand ambassador for a product certainly calls for greater caution.
The government has announced that any brand ambassador or celebrity endorsing products or services is liable for action if an advertisement is found misleading. This was the most needed action, and finally the authorities have woken up.
The government has said celebrities like Madhuri Dixit and Preity Zinta are legally responsible, if the advertisements for the popular Maggi noodles were found to be misleading consumers.
Endorsing a brand is like investment as lending face or voice fetches celebrities millions. When people invest their money, they do go through lot of paper work and due diligence of account books. If they can be careful about where and how to invest, why they can’t they be careful about the products and brands that they endorse.
According to the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) Act, anyone who is a party to a misleading advertisement or its publication can be fined up to Rs 10 lakh.
The celebrities endorse many products that are socially irrelevant and medically harmful. They operate with no clear guidelines and lot of grey areas. Like media the celebrities seem to extend boundaries of mass entrapment and a public announcement of their endorsement ethics is the least they can do under the circumstances.
Misleading communication should not go unpunished.
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