Unveiling the Enigma: Akshay Kumar’s Surrogate Advertising Journey


ETimes Explainer: Here

Akshay Kumar, Bollywood’s "Khiladi," has found himself in the spotlight once again, but this time, it’s not about his citizenship. His recent involvement in an advertisement for Vimal Elaichi has stirred controversy on the internet. Despite promising to step away from the brand, Akshay’s return to the elaichi advertisement campaign has left many questioning his decision. Let’s delve into the details of this perplexing situation and understand the concept of surrogate advertising.

Why is Akshay Kumar Still Endorsing a Pan Masala Brand?

Akshay Kumar steps back from endorsing Vimal Pan masala apologies to fans

When Akshay initially decided to disassociate himself from the pan masala brand due to public pressure, he was bound by legal obligations that could not be disregarded. He clarified in a statement that the brand would continue to air the advertisements they had shot until the contract’s legal duration came to an end. Typically, endorsement deals span several years, and the recent commercial could very well be part of the same contract. In essence, Akshay has not broken his promise but continues to feature in these ads due to contractual obligations.

> "No promises broken here, only heartbreaks for fans."

The Surrogate Advertising Strategy

Akshay Kumar assured his fans that he would never endorse tobacco products. However, he found himself as the face of a brand that also produces tobacco-based items. This seemingly contradictory stance was justified through the use of surrogate advertising.

In the realm of surrogate advertising, companies devise a workaround to promote non-core products instead of their main ones, which may include items prohibited from direct marketing. In Akshay’s case, he appeared to be spreading the word about cardamom while indirectly promoting a brand that also manufactures tobacco-based products.

> "Surrogate advertising allows brands to indirectly market restricted or taboo products."

Not Alone in Surrogate Advertising

It’s worth noting that Akshay Kumar is not the only celebrity to employ surrogate advertising. Other Bollywood stars like Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, and Ranveer Singh have also been involved in similar campaigns. Some celebrities, however, have chosen to bow down to fan pressure and discontinue their endorsements. Meanwhile, others continue to operate in the gray area of surrogate advertising, especially when it comes to promoting products that are otherwise prohibited or considered taboo.

> "Surrogate advertising is a common practice in the entertainment industry to navigate marketing restrictions."


In the world of celebrity endorsements and advertising, it’s important to understand the intricacies of contractual obligations and the strategies employed to promote products indirectly. Akshay Kumar’s case sheds light on the complexities of surrogate advertising, a common practice in the entertainment industry.

So, despite the public outcry and his promise to step back, Akshay Kumar’s continued presence in elaichi advertisements can be attributed to legal constraints and the clever use of surrogate advertising by the brand.

For more insights on this topic, stay tuned to ETimes Explainer: Here’s why Akshay Kumar is still featuring in elaichi advertisements despite his public decision to ‘step back’; know all about his surrogate advertising.

Explore Related Issues

What is surrogate advertising in India?

Surrogate advertising in India serves as an alternative marketing strategy for products that are legally prohibited from direct promotion. These prohibited products typically include tobacco products, alcohol, narcotic substances, and other similar items. Surrogate advertisements act as a surrogate or stand-in for the restricted products, allowing brands to indirectly promote them by advertising related or ancillary products that are not subject to the same legal restrictions.

What is an example of surrogate advertising?

An illustrative instance of surrogate advertising is seen in Imperial Blue’s marketing approach, wherein they utilize music CDs to promote their whisky brand in India, a country where direct alcohol product advertising is prohibited. This practice extends to prominent brands such as Bagpiper Soda, cassettes & CDs, Royal Challenge, and Kingfisher, all of which fall within the surrogate advertising category. These brands creatively promote associated products to circumvent legal restrictions on promoting alcohol.

Is surrogate advertising ethical in India?

Is surrogate advertising considered ethical in India? The practice often sparks ethical debates as it may be perceived as an endeavor to circumvent legal constraints imposed on the promotion of specific products.

What is surrogate market?

What exactly is a surrogate market? Surrogate markets serve as substitutes for absent markets concerning environmental resources. These surrogate markets typically represent existing markets for resources that share certain properties with the non-marketed resources that are being evaluated. [Source: GBA]

Why is surrogacy so popular in India?

Why has surrogacy gained significant popularity in India? The rise of surrogacy in India, along with Indian surrogates, has captured the attention of intended parents from industrialized nations. This surge in popularity is primarily attributed to the comparatively affordable costs and convenient access provided by Indian surrogacy agencies.

Are pan masala ads legal in India?

Are pan masala ads legally permitted in India? Pan masala falls under the regulation of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as a food product. While it can be advertised and sold, there is a requirement to include a health warning due to its inclusion of areca nut, which is known to be harmful to health.

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