What happens to a brand when it continues with a tainted brand ambassador? Does it loose its sheen? Will the image of the brand come down with the reputation of its brand ambassador going down? These are some of the questions which always bother a marketer when such a thing happens to them. The brand in discussion here is Gitanjali Sangini Diamond brand which has got Sanjay Dutt and his wife Manyata endorsing the brand. After the Supreme Court gave a five year jail sentence to Sanjay Dutt in the infamous gun possession case, it is not only that his soon to be released movies have got affected, what has got affected are also his brand endorsements.
One brand which is strongly standing behind him at this juncture is Gitanjali Sangini Diamod Brand. Gitanjali Group had signed Sanjay Dutt and his wife as the brand ambassador for Gitanjali Sangini Group for a three year contract in 2012. Now, as Sanjay Dutt prepares to face the next three and half years in prison, the couples have got another two more years to go as part of the contract. There are conflicting views on using Dutt as the brand ambassador.
Mr. Mehul Choksi, Chairman and Managing Director of Gitanjali Group believe that when people will not stop seeing movies of Sanjay Dutt when he is jail, they why ads featuring him should stop. Dutt is famous for his Gandhigiri through his Munnabhai series movies and the brand sees a strong association of people with the actor who has also got a big fan following.
The Brand Experts have though a very different opinion on these. They believe that the use of brand ambassadors who have a tainted past will be disruptive for the brand. They are far from convinced on the strategy of Gitanjali on continuing with Dutt in their campaigns. It remains to be seen if this move of Mr. Choksi is going to be appropriate or even beneficial to the company. In the times when it is really difficult to predict consumer behaviour, it remains to be seen which side the consumer takes. Will they take a sympathetic view on Munnabhai or will it affect the brand adversely? Till a verdict is out on this move, Rs.12,500 crore Gitanjali Group would be hoping the Gandhigiri effect to have some positive rub off effect on the brand as well.