Signing high-profile celebrities is a sword that cuts both ways. It can either take the brands to new, soaring heights or it can plunge them to the lowest of lows. However, signing Social Justice Warrior and a hobby actor Aamir Khan surely falls in the latter category. The man with the reverse Midas touch who turns everything into controversy and eventually hurts the brands has a long, illustrious history of taking brands and their fortunes down the drain with him.
As reported by TFI, in a recent CEAT tyres advertisement, Aamir Khan was seen sermonising Hindus for the umpteenth time on how to celebrate a Hindu festival. In the ad, Aamir Khan is shown as the supporter of the Indian Cricket team who remarks, “Anar, sutli bomb, chakarghini – today if our team hits sixes, we will also burst crackers. But where? Inside the society. Roads are not for bursting crackers. It’s for traffic.”
Switch to CEAT SecuraDrive | Aamir Khan- Cricket
In another ad, Aamir is seen giving a pep talk to the baarati’s at a wedding. He remarks, “No one will become a Naagin on the street. This is a country of brave soldiers. Today is my friends’ wedding. Whatever will happen, will happen on the footpath. The issue is about safety. The road is only for traffic. “
Aamir Khan in his 'CEAT TYRES' Ad says that Hindus block roads during their marriage ceremonies & create traffic jam
But we all know who blocks road to offer prayers! pic.twitter.com/Km4jNsS1WC
— Mahesh Vikram Hegde 🇮🇳 (@mvmeet) October 2, 2021
In both ads, after Aamir’s monologue, a voice in the background remarks in a mocking tone, “…one day we will become wiser, but until then…” and it cuts to Aamir bursting crackers on the road and dancing in front of a car on the road.
Naturally, the netizens were not impressed by Aamir and the company’s poorly executed ad campaign and hashtag like ‘#Boycott_Hinduphobic_CEAT’ trended on Twitter.
One of the netizens remarked during the outrage, “@CEATtyres your new series of ads and choosing jihadi amir khan has made me to throw your tyres and switch to other company. Thanks for your gyaan. Next time dare to make something about any other religion.@KirenRijiju @ianuragthakur action should be taken”
@CEATtyres your new series of ads and choosing jihadi amir khan has made me to throw your tyres and switch to other company.
— Jai Shivaji Jai Bhawani (@wizardashish) October 2, 2021
Not Aamir’s first rodeo
However, this wasn’t Aamir’s first rodeo with brands and negative publicity. Reportedly, when the intolerance saga was at its peak, Aamir had remarked that he feared for his children’s lives and he and his estranged wife, Kiran Rao contemplated leaving India.
At the time, Snapdeal was heavily promoting itself through advertisements with Aamir as its face and unfortunately, it became the unlikely target for the netizens and the public alike. A massive social media outrage followed where netizens extorted Snapdeal to drop Aamir Khan as their brand ambassador. A call was made to boycott him and the products that he endorsed.
Hashtags like #BootOutSnapdeal & #Appwapsi became the top trends on Twitter and such was the backlash against Snapdeal, that the company hasn’t been able to snap out of it. The drop in sales due to this economic boycott, mass deletion of the app by users, and negative reviews directly hits the finances of Snapdeal as well as affected its goodwill (intangible asset).
It was during this period that Aamir disappeared from the ads of Tata Sky as well, which he had been promoting since 2015.
As Reported by TFI, in 2020, Aamir Khan found himself at the centre of controversy once again, and for all the bad reasons. The Bollywood actor was in Turkey to finish the shooting of his movie ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’-a copy of Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump. However, his visit to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s wife Emine Erdogan on India’s Independence Day ignited clamour amongst the public and drew the ire of Indians from all quarters.
Once again, it was another brand that Aamir was endorsing at the time, viz. PhonePe that found the pitfalls of having a polarising figure like Aamir as its face. Aamir and Alia Bhatt had signed up to be the brand ambassador of the brand but seeing the former warming up to an anti-India Islamist leader who has been funding terrorist operations in India — people called for the boycott of the actor and the app he was promoting.
Your App is good but I am uninstalling you, not because of your service or features. But your brand ambassadorz R amir khan and alia bhatt. We can't support Inhumanity Thanks. #UninstallPhonePay @PhonePe_ @PhonePeSupport @arnabofficial7 https://t.co/Jw7HrhgQsW
— HITENDER (@hitender1977) August 23, 2020
After the border conflict between Indian troops and the Chinese minnows in Galwan valley of Eastern Ladakh, the government of India had brought out the sledgehammer and banned 59 Chinese apps, inflicting heavy damage on their revenues.
However, Aamir continued to endorse Vivo, even amidst the kerfuffle. When netizens pointed out the fact and called out Aamir Khan for putting his profits above the nation, another social media boycott campaign of the actor and the brand started.
Eventually, Vivo dropped Aamir, suggesting it was much more feasible for the brand to not have a polarizing figure like Aamir on its roster.
If people boycott someone once, the fault is with the audience, but if people are forced to boycott and the brands you endorse every single time you appear on television screens, then it is perfectly clear that the problem lies with the person. The brands should take note and make a careful risk assessment if signing Aamir is worth the trouble and gambling the company’s fortunes over.