Pierce Brosnan Slammed for Controversial Indian Breath Freshener Ad
Pierce Brosnan’s endorsement for a controversial breath freshener has left a bad taste in the mouths of many Indian consumers.
The former James Bond star appears in a new advertising campaign for Pan Bahar, or “pan masala” in Hindi, which is a traditional Indian breath freshener made from a mixture of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.
However, the use of pan masala has been associated with bad health, as some studies suggest it may include ingredients that cause cancer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The product is also blamed for the red-colored spit stains visible in public areas across India.
According to Advertising Age India, the Delhi government requested Bollywood stars not to endorse pan masala. “Even if these pan masalas do not contain tobacco or nicotine, they surely contain areca nuts [known as “supari” in Hindi] and now there are a lot of scientific evidences, which prove that supari causes cancer,” it quoted the directive as saying, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
While other Bollywood stars have endorsed the product, Twitter has become shaken and stirred by Brosnan’s high-profile endorsement. Some users have digitally added red spit stains to the ads, while others have questioned whether Brosnan’s endorsement is a result of economic desperation caused by Brexit.
The commercial is an homage to Brosnan’s 007 days, and features the actor wearing a crisp tux, driving a sports car and impressing a would-be Bond girl as he rids a mansion of bad guys — all with the help of his only weapon: a Pan Bahar tin.
At the end of the ad, Brosnan takes his place in a throne room, and with a tin in hand says: “Pan Bahar — Class never goes out of style.”
Brosnan and Pan Bahar have yet to comment on the backlash.