Rocky road ahead for brands associating with Sadak 2?

With the uproar against Sadak 2 trailer, experts say that brands may hesitate to connect themselves with controversies, especially in the pandemic where positive ROI matters for every penny spent

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Aug 21, 2020 9:49 AM

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Sadak 2

Social Media presence is key for brands. If a consumer feels that a brand is associated with a negative sentiment, they will go against it and voice their opinion online. With all the negative publicity on social media, advertising experts share that brands would not want to invest in being associated with the film Sadak 2. Especially in the current global pandemic market where every ad dollar spent should have a positive ROI. 

After the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput, the hot button topic has been ‘Nepotism’. The movie Sadak 2, directed by Mahesh Bhatt and starring Sanjay Dutt, Alia Bhatt and Aditya Roy Kapur, has run into trouble due to the nepotism debate. The trailer of the movie has been at the receiving end of the backlash from viewers on digital media, who have been calling for a ban on the film. 

Ever since the trailer released on 12th August 2020, netizens have been trolling the movie as it supposedly poses a shiny example of Nepotism. Fans of the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput have been campaigning actively against Sadak 2 on social media. The alleged "flag bearers of nepotism" like Mahesh Bhatt and Karan Johar have been in the limelight and with this trailer the tensions have only amplified.

The trailer for the movie is now ranked as the most disliked video on YouTube in India and third worldwide. As of now, the trailer has 11 million dislikes on YouTube. . 

e4m asked industry experts to share their insights on the repercussions of this negative criticism and how that will affect the brands associated with the movie Sadak-2. 

With regards to the impact on brand endorsements for the film, Aniket Sharma, Co-founder and head strategic planning of 121XP shared, “These are sensitive times for consumers. Brands have already been tip-toeing with their communication and associations. One wrong step can invite tremendous backlash. In my opinion, brands would be wary to associate with Sadak 2 promotions and could even cause already on-boarded brands to back off at the last minute. In these already tough times for Bollywood, associating brands backing off could be a big morale blow. More so for a platform like Hotstar, the unfortunate backlash of the movie may see significant projected revenue drop from their original estimates. We hope the movie can redeem itself back from the trailer in terms of its ratings and reviews.” 

Prashant Deorah, MD and CEO, Puretech Digital commented, “Brands, when working with a celebrity, are buying into their voice, their opinions. When Deepika Padukone attended a protest at JNU, it was her stand on the topic – which caused brands to re-evaluate their deals with her. In this case, it’s a public reproach – nothing that could be controlled by the celebrities. Voicing their opinions on the SSR case, for example, is when brands really would care about re-evaluating their endorsements.” 

Raghu Bhat, Founder Director, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi remarked, “Many brands are fighting for relevance in the new world. And I'm not only talking about products alone. That's because people are questioning everything that was considered ok. Only brands that can survive a 'moral scanner' are emerging unscathed. Naturally, every brand wants to play it right and not make a mistake. But sitting on the fence is also not an option. So brands will have to either come out in support of an issue or steer away from celebs who are being trolled.” 

Chandramouli concluded saying, “I think that a brand would hesitate to connect with any controversy. Such backlashes tend to permeate to anyone seen to be associated with the moviemakers, and by extension being against this pervasive sentiment.”

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