I am sure you know by now that Sachin rejected a huge ad-deal (supposedly the biggest yet!) with an alcohol manufacturer. While it’s a great gesture to me it sparks the debate of whether it’s ethical for celebrities to endorse such products.
Before coming on that, let’s try and understand why celebrities endorse ads at the first place. The answer is a no brainer MONEY!!! Well ok, at times you do see them for social causes like Polio campaigns but more or less its money. Brands benefit from celebrities in their ads and sell more, that’s the argument at least. These brand managers think that celebrities have great influence on the society and hence this impact. Hence, the argument that celebrities endorsing alcohol and tobacco, negatively impact society.
I do not buy this argument. Why?
First, I don’t think our society is that stupid that they will blindly follow the celebrity (there is some impact but no blind following) and second smoking / drinking usually are least likely to be started because of a celebrity. Also, usually performance of sportsmen is also associated with the impact so if Sachin doesn’t do too well in South Africa people would not stop drinking / smoking (assuming he did the campaign). So if Sachin rejects the ad-campaign, it’s a big deal because of Sachin and not because of the cause.
Moreover, the same celebrities also campaign for other products which are false claims. For example, Boost is a secret of nobody’s energy and drinking Cola isn’t cool! I am sure more people drink Boost and Colas because of celebrity endorsements than they do smoking or drinking. The point is the impact on society cannot be measured easily and even if it could there are 1000 different brands which impact negatively but there is no publicity around it.
Should celebrities do ad-endorsements or not? I don’t know but we should neither be too excited about their selection nor should we judge them because of their endorsements. Smoking and Alcohol are issues in the society which should be dealt with responsibility and not by celebrities.
Obviously, we are too passionate about Sachin, so I expect some push-backs here.