After a brief pause, it is business as usual for Byju’s as it airs ads featuring its ambassador Shah Rukh Khan across platforms, which includes Kaun Banega Crorepati 13 and the upcoming T20 World Cup.
In fact, the last leg of the Indian Premier League cricket matches also had Byju’s commercials featuring the actor. The ed-tech major resumed its campaign after hitting the pause button in the aftermath of a controversy surrounding Khan's son.
“It was a business decision to take the ads off air but the contract was very much valid and it continues to be so. The ads will be aired during the T20 World Cup as per original plans,” a source close to the matter tells Storyboard.
“The ads were stopped for a brief period of 4-5 days,” the source added.
Following Shah Rukh Khan's son's alleged involvement in a drug-related case earlier this month, Byju's had decided to take all ads featuring the actor off air. The decision was taken soon after ‘Boycott Byju’s’ started trending on Twitter and other social media platforms.
But as soon as the ads were taken off air, Khan's fans took to social media to criticize the decision.
Whether it was the trolling from fans or the T20 World Cup 2021 where Byju’s is one of the sponsors, it looks like the edtech company was prompted to bring back the ads due to backlash against the ad pause.
“The schedule of ads has been shared with Star for the T20 World Cup and its business as usual,” sources tell Storyboard.
No wonder the opening match of the season between Sri Lanka and Ireland also saw Bjyu’s ads featuring the actor, leaving fans pleasantly surprised.
According to brand experts, unpausing SRK ads is backed by strong business sense.
“It was wise of Byju’s to get the ads back especially before the T20 World Cup where they are one of the largest sponsors because the ads were already shot and investments were made both on the production and the ambassador. Dropping the ads would add up to a huge monetary loss for the brand,” said N. Chandramouli, CEO of TRA Research, a consumer analytics and brand insights company.
Dr Sandeep Goyal, chief mentor, Indian Institute of Human Brands, and MD, Rediffusion agrees with Chandramouli. According to him, the brand SRK is bigger than issues surrounding his son.
“Trolls do not represent the sentiment of the entire country. The decision to pause ads was out of fear of public backlash but then what Aryan Khan does doesn’t impact his father’s brand value in the industry,” he said.
Interestingly, most other brands in Khan's endorsement kitty have remained silent on the issue. The likes of Vimal Pan Masala, Hyundai, D'décor and others have continued with their advertising.
Explaining how such temporary dissociations between brands and their ambassadors impact business, a popular Hindi network channel business head said, “It generally doesn’t impact the channel if the brand discontinues the ad or suddenly decides to take it off the air. The same slot is sold to other players sometimes at a premium rate as these slots fall under last-minute inventory. This happens especially if the ad slot is for a big-ticket event like IPL or T20 World Cup.”
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)
First Published: IST