The brand’s upcoming strategy will become clearer once top brand custodians and Ogilvy’s top boss Piyush Pandey speak with Sourav Ganguly.
Adani Wilmar’s flagship cooking oil brand Fortune will retain Sourav Ganguly as its brand ambassador. The president of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and former team India captain will likely be seen reinforcing the product’s health benefits in a revamped brand campaign.
Ganguly, who became Fortune’s brand ambassador in February last year (2020), recently suffered a heart attack while at his home in Kolkata. As news broke, netizens quickly dug out an ad for Fortune’s Rice Bran oil featuring Ganguly. The ad film promotes the oil’s heart health and immunity boosting benefits. It was crafted by Ogilvy, Fortune’s creative agency on record.
Fortune faced severe trolling as netizens chose to highlight the irony of the situation and overlooked the fact that the oil was only a healthier lifestyle choice, and not a remedy for heart ailments. They also chose to ignore the fact that Ganguly had a family history of heart ailments. Ganguly underwent an emergency angioplasty in Kolkata and is currently recovering.
Following its endorser’s condition, the brand decided to temporarily halt its advertising campaign across mediums and monitor Ganguly’s progress.
“We felt that he (Ganguly) should recover first and then we can have a discussion about taking things forward. We have suspended our ads only for around a week’s time. We should be in a position to decide when to resume shortly. I have learned that he is now fit and is going home soon,” says Angshu Mallick, deputy CEO, Adani Wilmar.
As Ganguly now gets ready to move back home, Fortune is busy re-calibrating its future strategy. This may include Ganguly, or even his physicians, reinforcing the benefits of using the product.
Rice bran oil has been known for its health benefits and has reportedly been recommended by bodies like the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Heart Association.
Fortune could also choose the narrative that even a sport-star with active lifestyle can suffer from heart ailments. Apart from the narrative of reinforcing Fortune’s health benefits, Mallick hints that Ganguly could also be seen defending the brand himself.
"Strategy will become clearer once we and Ogilvy’s top boss Piyush Pandey have had a conversation with Ganguly."
Mallick reveals that he is in conversation with Ganguly himself. “Our strategy will become clearer once we and Ogilvy’s top boss Piyush Pandey have had a conversation with him (Ganguly).”
Speaking about the trend of brands frequently getting caught in the social media trollfest, Mallick says that brands will always get beaten on social media whenever there is an opportunity. “We have to live with it and that’s why we did not react immediately on Monday (a day after Ganguly suffered the heart attack).”
Mallick suggests that in such a situation, brand managers need not overreact. “From a brand custodian standpoint, we had to understand that this is related to the health of a person. He is the brand ambassador and we couldn’t just speak on his behalf until we knew more about the condition. We decided that we will suspend advertising till we have more information about his health and then react. We were just not answering the trolls...”
"There are groups of people on social media always waiting to pounce on others."
He goes on to mention that such mishaps can take place with any brand and that there are groups of people on social media always waiting to pounce on others. “They enjoy doing that. The brand custodians and those who are supposed to protect the interest of the brand don’t have to respond to everybody. But instead, respond in a manner which is appropriate, timed right and with a lot of confidence. Unless I am confident, I will not say anything,” Mallick signs off.