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Don’t let fans down

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Advertisers pay them to capitalize on the trust invested in them by their fans. It is for public figures to weigh what they convey against the slightest risk of abusing the esteem in which they’re held

A district consumer redressal forum in Thrissur is reported to have fined Malayalam actor Anoop Menon, who endorsed a hair cream, along with its manufacturer, for making “false promises" of “lush hair growth within six weeks". The complainant, who did not see any improvement, had tried it out on Menon’s advice in an ad.

This case is noteworthy. Rarely are celebrities in India ever punished for making false claims about the products they endorse. India’s Consumer Protection Act of 2019 specified penalties for endorsers who misled consumers. This case was filed before that came into effect, but the forum still held him guilty. Menon reportedly admitted not having used the cream himself and argued that he had no knowledge of what the product claimed to do. This sort of defence no longer works, and Menon’s case should serve a cautionary note to celebrities who sign endorsement deals without adequate awareness of the consequences of what they publicly promote. Advertisers pay them to capitalize on the trust invested in them by their fans. It is for public figures to weigh what they convey against the slightest risk of abusing the esteem in which they’re held

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