5 PR Fails by Indian celebrities in 2011


S R Kidding..?

1.    Here is a slight ad-on to Neha Dhupia’s controversially clever adage; In India, the only things that sell are sex, Shah Rukh Khan, and the occasional Swayamvar. With a lot riding on her upcoming reality show Veena Ka Vivaah, Pakistani siren Veena Mallik decided to put two of those ingredients together in the most in-your-face manner possible, and get everyone talking. Here’s what happened. In chronological order, she did a topless photo-shoot, the magazine published the cover, after which Veena sued the magazine for the picture being too ‘risque’. The magazine in-turn sued Veena – for aimlessly suing them in the first place; and made her the most discussed topic of the day. Plain and simple – it was a publicity-gimmick, so bland and unimaginative, that Veena, who could’ve been the next Rani was immediately caste as just another Rakhi.

2.    Our next pointless PR parade involves the main ingredient in Neha Dhupia’s witty quip. Shah Rukh Khan’s far-from-spontaneous bike-ride with his daughter, a couple of days ago, evoked mixed feelings amongst his legions of fans. The stunt earned further rebuke for involving his little daughter as well. Personal outings that just “happen” to be covered by the media aren’t uncommon before the launch of a big movie/sequel, but this was just trying too hard. There is a reason Kolaveri di is so popular. It isn’t the great lyrics or music, it went viral in the way it was meant to. Not forced, just a few friends hanging out, recording a song, being silly and having fun.

3.    Verbal abuse took on a new meaning when the cute, and rather rolly-polly looking Dolly Bindra, fought like a crazy woman with everybody on the reality show Bigg Boss. The audience having seen her in comic roles before was stunned and she was brought back into the show (after being eliminated) to keep up the soaring TRPs! Once again, a risky image makeover that did not end well. Viewer enthusiasm faded fast after a few episodes and soon the public began to brand the show as just ‘noise’. The last season of Bigg Boss apparently received such a low viewership that they had to cancel their surprise of bringing Dolly back to the house, for a few days.

4.    A case of mistaken identity. A mistake on luxury Swiss watch manufacture – Hublot’s part, in choosing a worthy brand identity in India.  Hublot is a brand that has defied every convention since 1980. Today it has become the inspiration for a watch making style famous everywhere. Fusion through the traditional art of watch making, bringing together unexpected materials such as gold and ceramics, Kevlar, pink gold or tantalum, and rubber– and the fusion of movements marrying Swiss traditions with an XXI century art – while retaining the unique, timeless Hublot feeling for watch design.  Does this brand sound like it has anything in common with Harbhajan Singh, their new brand ambassador?

5.    There are small lies you tell, to respect someone’s feelings and then there are Sayali Bhagat’s molestation accusations that disregard everyone else’s feelings. This makes it to our list of five, because how ridiculous, baseless and ultimately pointless the publicity stunt was. Her allegation that Amitabh Bachchan felt her up when she touched his feet as a mark of respect, just takes the cake. The others accused include Emraan Hashmi, Arya Babber, Sajid Khan and Shiney Ahuja (She ‘maid’ sure to include the last one).

Written by Suhail Bhandari for Image Management.

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