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Aamir Khan's ‘Intolerance’ Comments: Limits to Celebrity Endorsers’ Personal Freedom?

CASE STUDY, BRAND MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 15 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : A. J. Swapna and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Aamir Khan’s ‘Intolerance’ Comments: Limits to Celebrity Endorsers’ Personal Freedom?

 

Snapdeal, endorsed by, the famous Bollywood actor, Aamir Khan (Aamir) faced criticism for the latter’s statement on intolerance. Brand consultants debated on, should a brand suffer because of its brand ambassador and vice versa. Experts, however, remarked that in the era of social media, where the difference between personal and public opinion is muddling, brands should include stringent clauses or go for watertight endorsement contracts to protect themselves. While analysts agree that celebrities could land a successful brand in trouble with their personal comments or behavior, they also opine that such incidents make little or no difference to  consumer preferences for a brand. Will the brand value/brand association of celebrities, such as Aamir, get affected with such controversies? Are brand ambassadors forfeiting their personal freedom against building business associations? Should celebrity brand endorsers not voice their personal opinion once they endorse a  product?

“First let me state categorically that neither I, nor my wife Kiran, have any intention of leaving the country. We never did, and nor would we like to in the future. Anyone  implying the opposite has either not seen my interview or is deliberately trying to distort what I have said. India is my country, I love it, I feel fortunate for being born  here, and this is where I am staying. Secondly, I stand by everything that I have said in my interview. To all those people who are calling me anti-national, I would like to say that I am proud to be Indian, and I do not need anyone’s permission nor endorsement for that. To all the people shouting obscenities at me for speaking my heart  out, it saddens me to say you are only proving my point. To all the people who have stood by me, thank you. We have to protect what this beautiful and unique country of ours  really stands for. We have to protect its integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, its many languages, its culture, its history, its tolerance, it’s concept of ekantavada, it’s love,  sensitivity and its emotional strength, I would like to end my statement with a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, it’s a prayer really:

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Teaching Note Preview

Aamir Khan’s ‘Intolerance’ Comments: Limits to Celebrity Endorsers’ Personal Freedom?

 

Synopsis

This case study deals with the criticism faced by Aamir Khan (Aamir) and the online marketplace, Snapdeal for his statement on intolerance. Brand consultants debated ‘should a brand suffer because of its brand ambassador and vice versa’. Where the difference between personal and public opinions is muddling in the era of social media, experts remarked that the brands and its brand ambassadors should include stringent clauses or go for water-tight endorsement contracts  to protect themselves during a crisis.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding (PCU)/Before the Classroom Discussion

This case study’s discussion would be more effective if the participants understand the concept of leveraging secondary brand associations to build brand equity. A preliminary understanding of this concept can be had from the following suggested chapters:

  • -Kevin Lane Keller, et al., “Leveraging Secondary Brand Associations to Build Brand Equity”, Strategic Brand Management, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education Inc., 2011 – To understand how secondary brand associations help in leveraging a brands equity and the potential problems of linking a celebrity endorser to a brand
  • -Kevin Lane Keller, et al., “Brands and Brand Management”, Strategic Brand Management, 3rdEdition, Pearson Education Inc., 2011 – To understand the various functions and components of a brand from the perspective of both consumers and companies

 

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for the following:

  • -In MBA Program: This case study can be used for Brand Management course to understand the role of celebrity endorsements in enhancing brands equity and its potential problems
  • -In MDPs/EDPs: This case study can also be used in Management and Executive Development programs to demonstrate how brands build brand equity  leveraging on secondary brand associations

 

Case Study Analysis and Classroom Discussion

Preamble to this Case Study Analysis

This case study is meant to introduce the participants/students to the idea of how brands can build brand equity leveraging on secondary brand associations  and celebrity endorsements. Although this case study highlights the brand Aamir, who faced criticism for his statement on intolerance, the participants should be directed towards the roles and responsibilities of celebrity endorsers. The bigger questions are, can celebrity endorsers be absolved for tainting the image of the brand? What would happen to the brand equity as a result of such crisis? Will the brand value/brand association of Aamir, impact with such  controversies?

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Product code: BM-1-0014, BM-1-0014A

Abstract

Snapdeal, endorsed by Aamir Khan (Aamir) faced criticism for Aamir’s statement on intolerance. Brand consultants debated – should a brand suffer because of its  brand ambassador and vice versa. Where the difference between personal and public opinion is muddling in the era of social media, experts remarked that the brands and its brand ambassadors should include stringent clauses or go for water-tight endorsement contracts to protect themselves. While analysts agreed that celebrities could land a successful brand in trouble with their personal comments or behavior, they also opined that such incidents make little or no difference to consumer  preferences for a brand. Will the brand value/brand association of celebrities, such as Aamir, get affected with such controversies? Are such brand ambassadors  forfeiting their personal freedom as against building business associations? Should celebrity brand endorsers not voice their personal opinion once they endorse a product? Can celebrity endorsers be absolved for tainting the image of a brand?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand and examine the factors that made Aamir a strong brand and to understand how brands build brand equity leveraging on secondary brand associations
  • To debate on the sources of brand equity, in the light of Aamir’s brand performance after the intolerance comments and brands’ resentment
  • To examine the after-effects of a crisis on a celebrity endorser and the brand equity, in the light of Aamir’s intolerance comments – personal, professional and national effects

Case Positioning and Setting
This case study can be used for either of the following:

  • MBA Program – Brand Management course – Brands and Brand Management Chapter – To understand how a celebrity endorses a brand and creates customer value and customer equity
  • MBA Program – Brand Management course – Leveraging Secondary Brand Associations to Build Brand Equity Chapter – To understand the role of celebrity endorsements in enhancing brand equity and to demonstrate how brands build brand equity leveraging on secondary brand associations



This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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