Bollywood superstar and Gujarat brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan says, he screens credentials of every product that he endorses. He said this at a panel discussion at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad Thursday, where he took questions from students on the Gujarat Tourism campaign.
“I do a lot of thinking before I take up a brand. There are many agents who work to facilitate endorsements facilities for celebrities, but I dont have one. I make my own judgement. I meet the client personally. I ask to see their economic statements, their audited books and I ask them why they want me to to endorse their brand. I don’t endorse alcohol and tobacco products because of health reasons and also because I don’t consume them myself,” said Bachchan in response to a query posed by a management student at IIM-A on his opinion on celebrities who endorse alcohol and tobacco products.
Further the actor gave the example of colamaker Pepsi and said, “I used to endorse Pepsi earlier but once I went to open a girls school in Jaipur and in one such gathering similar to this one, one of the girls stood up to ask me why I endorsing Pepsi as it contains many negative products. I felt that if this is the impression I am giving to a possible buyer then it should not be so, and so I stopped endorsing Pepsi.”
Waxing eloquent about the trials and tribulations of being a celebrity endorser, Bachchan added, “In a profession which is as bubbling as mine, if I am doing something and if the product I am endorsing is not creating the right impression then they tend to hold me responsible for it. It has happened many times that I have got letters from people saying that “a product which you said is good is not so”. And though I send it (letters) back to the manufacturer or producer, but it does leave you disturbed. I have felt that our own personal behaviour is extremely important and the way we conduct ourselves in public, should not be contrary to the impression you are creating. I may be encouraging people to do something but if my own life is percieved to be contary to what I am saying, then it affects the product one endorses. We must conduct ourselves in a manner that does not affect the product you endorse and I have told my son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter- in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan the same because they also endorse many products.”
Bachchan was speaking as a panelist at a discussion on the topic of ‘Destination Branding Strategy Using Celebrity Endorsement” at the B-school, where he alongwith the creative designer of the campaign Piyush Pandey and Vipul Mittra – the Principal Secretary of Gujarat Tourism looked at the genesis of the idea behind the tourism department’s highly successful campaign- ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’, the reasons for using a celebrity for the first time in a campaign and the creative approach behind the campaign and its implementation.