A look at the pan masala’s latest spot created by DDB Mudra Amit Bapna | ETBrandEquity | Updated: October 07, 2016, 09:24 IST
Hollywood star, Pierce Brosnan aka James Bond, has been given the rather unbelievable task of convincing Indians about the power of Pan Bahar, a pan masala brand. The brand film, created by DDB Mudra, that launches today shows Brosnan doing Bond-sque stunts, except that this time all the manoeuvres are performed using one low-tech device - a weaponised Pan Bahar tin-pack.
As per the company communique, the campaign links success to a man who is a personification of perfection, and hopes to thus pitch itself as the bond of all pan masalas. The brand has a history of hiring Bollywood stars and previous endorsers such as father-son duo, Feroz Khan - Fardeen Khan and more recently Saif Ali Khan.
Interestingly, this is not the first time the former Bond-man has endorsed an Indian brand – having flaunted his famous moves previously for the Indian suiting brand Reid & Taylor. Some of Brosnan’s global brand associations over the years include Kia, Visa, beer brand Sagres, Omega watches, Ferrero Rocher, Diet Coke and Spar, a supermarket chain. He recently was signed on as the face of the Swiss boutique watchmaker brand Speake-Marin.
In an environment where tobacco and pan masala receives a lot of flak on health-related issues, Brosnan lending his celebrity to the brand is an interesting move. Pan Bahar’s very own company website must, by law, carry health warnings like ‘Chewing of Pan Masala is injurious to health’ up front. Nevertheless, it is indeed a coup to get a Hollywood A-lister like Brosnan as the endorser and equally interesting would be to see what it does for the brand’s fortunes.
"Pan masala category suffers from baggage of gutka players": Pan Bahar CEO on why Pierce Brosnan ads got trolled
By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | October 10, 2016
Akhil Jain, CEO of the company that markets Pan Bahar, spoke to us about his new ads and the flak they've fetched.This new ad campaign, that broke on Friday (October 7, a play on James Bond's 007 code), featuring Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan, has become the talk of the town - in and outside ad-land.
'Class never goes out of style - Pan Bahar. Pehchan Kamyabi Ki' goes the copy. It's also what Brosnan says at the end of the ad film. DDB Mudra has created this campaign; it falls under the 'Pehchaan Kamyabi ki' umbrella thought. The TVC, in which Brosnan - who plays an agent, of course - wields a dabba of Pan Bahar, like he would a deadly weapon. The ad film was shot in Austin, USA.
The identity of this new brand ambassador was unveiled after a brief teaser campaign.
Sambit Mohanty, creative head, DDB Mudra Group (North), said about the ad on his Facebook page, "...We, at DDB Mudra (North) are chuffed at having pulled off this coup! You may rave & rant, foam & froth...but there's no denying this endorsement has changed the rules of the game. Who needs the dreary old Kapoors, Khans & Kumars when an international star is up for grabs? To hell with your self-righteousness! And to quote from our recent Adidas campaign, we'll feel the love & use the hate. Because success, er Kamyaabi, is the child of audacity."
Akhil Jain, CEO, Ashok & Co. Pan Bahar, parent company of the brand (Pan Bahar), told afaqs!, during the course of a telephonic interview, "We were scouting for someone masculine, someone who can tell a story without saying anything. We also had some lesser known models in mind, and did not begin the process by thinking of Hollywood names, but finally thought Brosnan lent a certain authenticity to the character. We wanted someone stylish... and stylish does not mean Rajinikanth." (Never mind that Brosnan is doing some dangerously Rajinikanth-like stunts in the TVC).
Jain added about the need to 'premium-ise' the pan masala segment, "When I joined, around four to five years back, we repositioned the brand. Consumer behavior is changing - everyone wants to consume a premium brand, to show his/her status. We wanted to modernise our brand and fit it into the consumer's lifestyle. We wanted to associate our brand with success. If you hold/carry our dabba of Pan Bahar, people should immediately think you are a successful guy - and not just in terms of money."
About the flak the new campaign has attracted, Jain says, "See, criticism is coming and we expected that. People are shocked... it is a new kind of brand endorsement. It has shock value. After 15-20 days people will start accepting it, definitely. Criticism is coming from marketing gurus right now, because this is all a problem of perception - the perception that it is gutka (tobacco). We believe it will gain acceptance. This negative excitement will die off soon."
The trolling, he reasons, comes from the erroneous perception that pan masala is the same as gutka. Clarifies Jain, "Previously, gutka used to be a mix of pan masala and tobacco."
Today, though branded gutka sachets/boxes have more or less vacated retail shelves, consumers frequently put all similar looking products in one cognitive bracket, goes the explanation. "The pan masala category suffers from the baggage that gutka players have created in the market," Jain rues, adding, "And because the packaging is similar, people think this is gutka. We want people to shed this baggage - that's the biggest challenge in this category. People like Brosnan endorsing our products will help the process."
His TG comprises the 20-30 year old "corporate" guy from SECs A and B, in the Hindi speaking belt and Eastern region. He's not concentrating much on Southern regions "because the trend (of consuming Pan Bahar-like products) is not popular there... We want to break the reservations people have about this product."
The media plan includes leading news, movie and niche TV channels, mainline print publications (Hindi, English), outdoor and digital platforms. The campaign will extend across Tier I and II markets.
Previously, Bollywood actors like Feroz Khan, Fardeen Khan and Saif Ali Khan have endorsed Pan Bahar.
The company's 'masala portfolio' includes names like Pan Bahar Crystal (launched in 2012 and positioned as the 'World's most expensive pan masala'), Begum, Dilruba, Natkhat and Wah, among others.
Recall that earlier this year, Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Sunny Leone, Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Govinda were issued letters, by the health department of the Delhi Government, requesting them to stop endorsing pan masala brands.
At the time, Shweta Purandare, secretary general, ASCI, said, "At this juncture, we would like to educate consumers and advertisers that while products like pan masala and supari are not banned for sale or from advertising by law, the ASCI code does not permit the use of celebrities in advertisements of products which by law require a health warning on their packaging or those that cannot be purchased or used by minors."
Defends Jain, "See, ASCI's rule says one cannot get a celebrity to endorse a pan masala brand. But we're talking about Pan Bahar mouth freshener here."
Meanwhile, categories Jain is looking to diversify into include candy and gum. "We're at the product development level at the moment," he says.
Other high profile overseas brand associations in this market, that come to mind readily, include Hugh Jackman-Micromax, Lionel Messi-Tata Tiago and Zinedine Zidane-Kanakia Paris.
Last Edit: Oct 9, 2016 22:49:08 GMT -5 by eaz35173
Story behind the coup: How Pierce Brosnan was convinced to chew paan on national TV By Kusumita Das
Pierce Brosnan, who played James Bond between 1994 and 2005, on set for the Pan Bahar ad in Austin, Texas. Pics/Andrew Eccles
It may be outlandish, but the Pierce Brosnan paan masala ad (for Pan Bahar) was borne out of some deep calculation. The team's mission was to make pan masala seem classy and take it a notch above where the previous brand ambassador, Saif Ali Khan, left it.
So, Agent 007 took over from Agent Vinod, it seems. But, what the nation wants to know, is that how did they go from Bollywood to Hollywood, with a product that the Wall Street Journal describes as 'a concoction of areca nut, a stimulant, and spices often chewed along with tobacco or betel leaf by millions in South Asians'?
More than Brosnan, it was James Bond that the makers wanted to bring to the brand. Says Sambit Mohanty, creative head of DDB Mudra North, the agency that created the commercial that raked up a storm on social media last week, "Nobody said you cannot use an international icon to sell paan masala. The rulebook went out of the window and only after that, did we begin brainstorming." Mohanty says the idea was to look beyond 'the Kumars and the Kapoors'.
"We wanted to create disruption. When we thought global, James Bond was the first name that came up, because of his timeless, universal appeal. Why Pierce? We realised that our target audience — men aged between 20 to 35 — is more familiar with Brosnan, than Daniel Craig. Also, Craig is more rough and gritty, someone who wouldn't shy away from rolling in the mud. Pierce is more the epitome of suaveness and style, which is what we wanted for our campaign. He's a throwback to the sophisticated charm of Sean Connery," Mohanty adds.
That the erstwhile Bond, who had somewhat faded away from pop-culture memory, would be more affordable than Craig, further cemented the choice. "The needle pointed towards him. Initially, the client was taken aback by the idea. But eventually, they warmed up. We took a creative leap of faith and it was a game changer for us," says the 39-year-old. But, having the client on board was only step one. The more important part was getting Brosnan on board.
The next step was to sell the concept of "paan masala" to Pierce, which surprisingly, proved to be a smooth ride. The Hollywood superstar, we are told, readily warmed up to the idea. The first few briefings and narrations happened over the phone and, in no time, they were good to go. Mohanty says that this Bond is as everyman as it gets. On the day of the shoot, he tasted the paan masala too. "He opened the can, tasted it, liked the whole mouth freshening feel and then, even kept a few cans aside to carry back home to share with friends," Sambit recalls.
When the script was shared with Brosnan, he had a few suggestions. "There's a Ninja sequence in the commercial, where he tosses the can up in the air — that was his idea. I remember he, very politely, asked if we could add some piazzas to that particular shot. Even when he kisses the can after, as a mark of his fondness for the weapon of choice, it was again his impromptu touch. He was just having fun." And is he as open to suggestions as well? "Completely. He does retakes without a murmur. He is as cool as his onscreen persona and extremely approachable."
And that, as we learn, was not just on the sets. The team along with Brosnan was staying at the same hotel where they were shooting, in Austin, Texas. The actor, we are told, would never take his meals in his room. "He would stand in queue for both breakfast and lunch. In the evenings, he would come down to the bar and have a drink or two with the other crew members. And it's not like his entourage would always stick to him. He didn't have more than four or five people with him. No chip on his shoulder," Sambit says. "I told him how I grew up on Remington Steele. He was surprised and pleased that someone from India knew him outside his Bond persona. He said to me laughing, 'I'm at an age where people have grown up watching me!'"
Until Bob Dylan bagged the Nobel Prize on Thursday, Pierce's paan masala avatar was social media's most favourite rant. Sambit, however, says that the backlash the ad has received, was not something they had expected. "We thought it would raise a few eyebrows, but we did not expect this tsunami of attention.
An idea goes viral on its own merit, becomes meme-worthy — these are not things you can control or pre-plan. But when that happens, the brand has to just let go. Now that these memes are breaking the Internet, it is the brand that's having the last laugh. This at an age, when people have trouble remembering the front page ad in a newspaper, is quite a coup, if you ask me."
Last Edit: Oct 16, 2016 1:50:26 GMT -5 by eaz35173
Pierce Brosnan is “deeply shocked and saddened” about the events following his controversial participation in the endorsement of Pan Bahar breath freshener, which may include ingredients that cause cancer.
Brosnan explained that he has the “greatest love and affection for India and its people,” in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.
“As a man who has spent decades championing women’s healthcare and environmental protection, I was distressed to learn of Pan Bahar’s unauthorized and deceptive use of my image to endorse their range of pan masala products,” the statement read. “I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one’s health.”
Pan Bahar, known as pan masala in Hindi, is made from a mixture of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. It’s been associated with bad health and is also blamed for the red-colored spit stains visible in public areas in India.
Brosnan’s contract details that he was to advertise a “breath freshener/tooth whitener,” which wouldn’t include an ingredient that turns saliva red.
Brosnan said he agreed to advertise a single product only, and that it was presented as “all-natural containing neither tobacco, supari, nor any other harmful ingredient.”
“Having endured, in my own personal life, the loss of my first wife and daughter as well as numerous friends to cancer, I am fully committed to supporting women’s healthcare and research programs that improve human health and alleviate suffering,” the statement continued.
The James Bond actor said he demanded that the company remove his image from all their products, and assured that he had no knowledge that he was endorsing items that would have a negative or painful reaction in India.
He added that Pan Bahar “grossly manipulated” media outlets to falsely present him as a brand ambassador for their entire line of products, something he writes is “in violation of my contract.”
“I shall endeavor to rectify this matter,” the statement concluded. “In the meantime, please accept my sincerest and heartfelt apologies to all whom I have offended.”