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The problem in Amitabh Bachchan's problem with Pepsi

The problem with Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan's admission to dropping Pepsi as an endorser is that it smacks both of irresponsibility and hypocrisy.

Sure, Amitabh may or may not want to endorse brands based on his judgement, but when he singles out the one he dropped, he doesn't just do the brand disservice, but also to the way we form perceptions about brands and their impact on our lives.

A li'l girl may have gotten Amitabh to think, but she sure didn't get him to think well. For starters, should teachers be branding Pepsi as poison? How irresponsible is that? Again, for argument's sake, lets assume teachers in classrooms may want to present Pepsi as unhealthy, but whose responsibility is it to refrain from consuming such unhealthy stuff? It almost seems as if the brand is at fault for consumers doing the consumption act. Meaning the reason why people are unhealthy based on their eating habits shouldn't be blamed on their poor choices, but on brands in sheep's (formerly Amitabh) clothing. How dumb is that?

I am not suggesting celebrities not consider their own sense of what's appropriate to make judgement calls on endorsements. All I am saying is people in glass houses mustn't throw stones. Plus the stones they throw mustn't take away responsibility from the real culprits (read, consumers). If Amitabh is really concerned about people being swayed by celebrity endorsements, then he should gather his energies and focus it on Bollywood and movie roles celebrities like him don on the silver screen. Much of the nonsense on Indian screens does more in fashioning attitudes than celebrity endorsements of Pepsi or Coca Cola.

Now don't for a moment think movies don't have an impact on people's attitudes. They do. Read about one such study here.


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