Thursday, 29th June, 2017

Varun Dhavan, Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha amongst 11 brand ambassadors sued

31, Jul 2014 By Simantini Kishore

In a sudden new development lawyer Mr Krishna Jha has filed a lawsuit against 11 Bollywood celebrities of fraud , breach of trust and misleading the public on behalf of 30 plaintiffs in his first Mass Action lawsuit.

Jha, who is also the lawyer for the plaintiff in the case of Radha Sha vs 16 fairness cream manufacturers, is representing the mass action lawsuit on behalf of the thirty plaintiffs which includes two consumer protection groups.

Jha, on 26th July, in the press conference regarding Sha’s case had offered his services to other potential plaintiffs to come forward to expand the case into Class Actions for Cosmetic Product Injuries into a mass action lawsuit. Instead he was approached by the sub-committee of the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) on regulation of advertisements.

Sued
Sued

“Individual cases of fans who follow celebrities blindly and treat them with God like reverence also approached our law firm feeling cheated by the claims made by their icons in advertisements that sell products based only on celebrity endorsement and claims, not virtues of the product itself, claims that our research and evidence will prove to be completely false, have to be held accountable for fraud against consumers and their fan base,” stated Mrs Seesh Nanda of CCPC.

According to Jha summons have to be served to actors Varun Dhawan (for Pond’s Men range); Kareena Kapur Khan (for Naturals Salon & Lakme’s Gold Radience); Madhuri Dixit Nene, Sonakshi Sinha and Ali Zafar (for OxyLife bleach of Dabur); Sonakshi Sinha (for Fem Fairness Bleach); Madhuri Dixit Nene (for Olay) and Deepika Padukone (for Neutrogena Fine Fairness) to name a few.

Celebrity endorsement has been identified to be one of the most viable methods of advertising not to mention obscenely lucrative for the celebrities in the past few years.

“It is the moral, ethical as well as duty of celebrities as brand ambassadors to their fans not to mislead them into using cosmetics that have harmful toxic and heavy metals. as well as they are knowingly or unknowingly unduly influencing the customer by making false claims,” stated Marketing Guru Ghalib Singhal.

In layman’s terms the lawsuit states that when a celebrity is used for their influence on the public as well as their celebrity cult status they are responsible for the claims they make and the celebrity uses credibility and influences the buying behaviour of a consumer.

Dr Bahadur Singh of the Parda Faash Research Group is said to be an expert witness for the plaintiff who will prove that the claims of the products advertised by the brand ambassadors are completely false. “Hence the brand ambassadors are also responsible for perpetuating fraud for using their influence as a celebrity to mislead the public,” claims the lawsuit.

Black Eagle Investigative firm has also submitted documentation that is “concrete proof that none of the celebrities actually buy or use the products they endorse” stated private investigator Mr. Jasoos Danger.

Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha , Shilpa Shetty, Bipasha Basu, Saif Ali Khan, salman Khan, Shah Ruk kahan, Amitabh Bacchan and many more are brand ambassadors for products like Pond’s Men, The Body Shop, Naturals, Garnier Men, Pantene, OxyLife Men Crème Bleach, Fem Bleach, Fair & Handsome to name a few.

They are on our TV screens, print media as well as the internet telling us the secrets of their flawless skin, fairness, reduced wrinkles and soft beautiful skin and attributing them to various products.

“As soon as we have concrete proof of more claims by other celebrities made in advertisements to be false in due course of our ongoing investigation, defendants will be added to the case,” Jha added.

This lawsuit , if successful will have as statements made by Dabur India Ltd spokesperson, “While celebrity endorsement, be it from the world of sports or cinema, helps in creating top-of-the-mind recall, the fact also remains that celebrity endorsements is a means to an end and not an end in itself” will suddenly come under scrutiny.

Varun Dhawan, actor, who is one of the accused in the lawsuit will be under the legal scanner for statements he made in the media like “I love the new Pond’s Men range of face washes and moisturisers because they are an effective and no-fuss solution to my skin’s needs. Pond’s is amongst the most reputed skin care brands in the world. It is exciting to be the face of this product range for men.”

Lawyer Krishna Jha, is maverick who is famous for his Rs 29 crore damages verdict in the iconic Mr & Mrs Singhal VS the producers of ‘Kuiki saas bhi kabhu bahu thi” case of 2012 wherein he proved successfully how viewing the popular soap opera cased marital strife, emotional as well as psychological trauma for the plaintiffs and the producers of the show were forced take the show off the air and pay the plaintiffs damanges.

He took Radha Sha case on pro bono, on a “no win no fee basis” and has done the same for this case.

The defendants were contacted for their comments on the development and the only response they offered was a “no comment”.

For more of Simantini’s writings go to www.wgaw.in