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Moving toward a sustainable future: The innovation and transformation of the food industry

Kees Kruythoff

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Sir Martin Sorrell

founder & executive chairman

Pierce Brosnan's James Bond style ad causes uproar in India

Pierce Brosnan has come under fire for appearing in an Indian advertisement in which he promotes a product commonly associated with a highly addictive form of chewing tobacco known for its addictive psychotropic effects.

The former James Bond actor fronts a new campaign for Pan Bahar mouth freshener which includes a 60 second 007-style ad in which Brosnan takes down a series of combatants, crosses paths with a woman spy and comes face-to-face with a leading antagonist.

The product featured in the ad is a traditional Indian breath freshener- known as "pan masala" or "gutka" in Hindi- and is comprised of a number of natural ingredients such as nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.

However pan masala has something of an unsavoury reputation in India because it became renowned for the presence of tobacco and the fact that it is chewed and subsequently expectorated in bright red streams.

Although the product Brosnan is endorsing does not contain either pan masala or gutka, the public misconception towards the product remains strong and has resulted in a widely negative perception.

Ashok & co, the company that produces Pan Bahar, said: " We are the oldest brand of mouth freshener in India and we don't produce either gutka or pan masala. But after the 1990s when gutka flooded the market, all mouth freshener products also got a bad name," a spokesman for the company said.

"We are trying to change that perception and this is a first step."

The spokesman added that the company had thought Brosnan was "perfect" to endorse their product because he was "suave, cool and a master-blender" - all qualities they want people to associate with Pan Bahar.