If you thought Zinedine Zidane on a billboard for Kanakia Paris, a residential project in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex, was funny then sample this new ad - James 'Pan Bahar' Bond on the front page of newspapers like The Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar, sporting a Piyush Pandey-esque moustache.
'Class never goes out of style - Pan Bahar. Pehchan Kamyabi Ki' goes the copy. DDB Mudra has created this campaign.
It's the sort of image that got adman Ajay Gahlaut to write "The name is Bahar. Pan Bahar" on Facebook at 7:30 am today.
Meanwhile, Naresh Gupta writes, "Guess even a Pierce Brosnan needed Pan Bahar to prove he is successful. The world is not enough" on his FB page.
The TVC, in which Brosnan - who plays an agent, of course - wields a dabba of Pan Bahar like he would a deadly weapon, goes on air today. The ad film has been shot in Austin, USA.
Sambit Mohanty, creative head, DDB Mudra Group (North), says about the ad on his FB page, "...We, at DDB Mudra (North) are chuffed at having pulled off this coup! You may rave & rant, foam & froth...but there's no denying this endorsement has changed the rules of the game. Who needs the dreary old Kapoors, Khans & Kumars when an international star is up for grabs? To hell with your self-righteousness! And to quote from our recent Adidas campaign, we'll feel the love & use the hate. Because success, er Kamyaabi, is the child of audacity."
While the premiumisation of pan masala is all very well, will Indians really believe James Bond has a red, pan masala-stained tongue behind that smile?
Previously, Bollywood actors like Feroz Khan, Fardeen Khan and Saif Ali Khan have endorsed Pan Bahar.
Recall that earlier this year, Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Sunny Leone, Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Govinda were issued letters, by the health department of the Delhi Government, requesting them to stop endorsing pan masala brands.
At the time, Shweta Purandare, secretary general, ASCI, said, "At this juncture, we would like to educate the consumers and the advertisers that while products like pan masala and supari are not banned for sale or from advertising by law, the ASCI code does not permit the use of celebrities in advertisements of products which by law require a health warning on their packaging or those that cannot be purchased or used by minors."