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.
Pierce Brosnan, the most famous James Bond is coming up with his new movie - James Bond - License to Spit. pic.twitter.com/wd9NuhrKho
— Gब्बR (@imAbhishek_J) October 7, 2016
You know that the empire has really fallen when James Bond stars endorsing Pan Bahar. Pierce Brosnan the sexiest bond and gutka poster boy — Vinisha Valsan (@WildChildVini) October 7, 2016
Can advertising and brand experts tell us if going viral but becoming a laughing stock is good brand strategy? #PanBahar
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) October 7, 2016
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.