For all those defending the Pierce Brosnan – Pan Bahar campaign by pointing out the publicity it’s getting, I have this to point out – it’s not a trend, it’s a joke.

The film itself – from script, to direction, to special effects, is tacky/corny beyond words.

DDB Mudra did what no villain could - killed James Bond!
I am Pained, Very Pained.

In this pic (shared publicly on Facebook by an Agency employee, probably taken during the shoot of the film), even Brosnan looks pained, as he probably realised too late what he’s gotten into!

Not surprisingly, other advertising and marketing professionals, as well as non industry people are panning the campaign and endorsement for dozens of reasons.

a) Brosnan endorsing a product category, that is known to cause cancer (this no tobacco version ad is probably just a surrogate for the killer version).

b) Pierce Brosnan probably doesn’t realise that “pan masalas” are frowned upon by modern India, especially educated urban Indians. The category reputation is nothing like what’s pitched in the Brand and Agency press releases, and probably not what was pitched to sign up Brosnan.

c) The creatives are corny, cliched and stupid – like someone really consumed a lot of Pan Bahar before writing the script!

While the professionals (?) behind the campaign spit out (pun intended) delusions of marketing, brand, and consumer understanding (read one interview here), I believe this campaign single handedly destroys the one thing that the advertising industry is fighting hard to preserve – its reputation as a serious business.

Strategically, it is clearly an over-the-top-waste-of-money (pride driven?) brand campaign. The lack of context, creativity, connect, and ironically any class in the campaign, reinforce the fact that the agency and its client have done irreparable damage to the industry and the credibility of our thinking.

The public ridicule and rejection of the campaign, which I am sure has reached the four corners of the world, will probably make international stars think twice before even speaking to Indian brands/agencies now.

If you don’t still get it, ask yourself this: will you now consume pan bahar after seeing the ad? do you like the brand now? Do you think many others are rushing out right now, looking to buy pan bahar? From any angle you see it, this PB+PB combo is nothing but a PJ.


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