Bottom Line: Tennis player Sania Mirza’s endorsement to Supertech Sports Village has yet again raised the issue of brand ambassador’s accountability when builder fails to fulfill promises to buyers.
It has been like any other much-publicized event by a developer amidst glittering photo shoot of a celebrity endorsing the project. However, when tennis player Sania Mirza on a Sunday afternoon was endorsing Supertech Sports Village at Greater Noida West, the whisper around the media gallery has been on her role and accountability.
After all, the builder Supertech is one of the developers of Delhi-NCR with mounting consumer grievances and backlash. And hence, in the quest to erase the consumer grievances from the public memory the builder left no stones unturned to make the event look like first of its kind.
However, what has not been erased from the public memory is the fact that it is only recently that FIR was ordered against Maria Sharapova for lending name to ‘shady’ Gurugram project.
These celebrities do lend not only their names to the otherwise questionable brands but also shield these brands because of their own image in society at large. The gullible homebuyers trust these builders when a celebrity is endorsing it.
This has been clearly stated in the case of Sharapova where the complainant made it a point. “Sharapova not only aggressively promoted the fraudulent activities of the accused, but also supported the project in the eyes of the general public and is, therefore, a part of this criminal conspiracy,” the complainant said.
Similarly, the former Indian cricket captain Mahender Singh Dhoni too had to take flak by the aggrieved homebuyers for endorsing and promoting real estate projects of Amrapali in the same Noida market where Supertech has been flaunting the association and endorsement of Sania Mirza.
The issue is no longer about the celebrity appeal of the brand ambassadors. The larger issue in arguably India’s most notorious real estate market of Noida-Greater Noida today is that to what extent the celebrities who endorse the projects of builders like Amrapali or Supertech with scores of consumer complaints are themselves accountable.
The FIR order against Maria Sharapova definitely calls for a reality check. After all, the celebrities are being roped by the erring developers as an umbrella to cover their growing dissatisfaction of homebuyers.
It is noteworthy that Supertech has not only hit by the dissatisfied homebuyers but also been at the receiving end of government agencies and the law for two of its most ambitious projects, Emerald Court and Czar.
Supertech, of course, has its reasons to project as if they have done something iconic for the society. R K Arora, Chairman, Supertech, said, “It is a great honour to have an association with eminent Indian tennis player Sania Mirza. Endorsement of the Sports Village from an international sports personality of her stature is a testament of our endeavour to provide best in class infrastructure, greatest of the living spaces, and best of guidance to these aspirants. We wish that this infrastructure will help hundreds of sports aspirants to practice and excel into future sporting stars.”
Is Sania Mirza aware of the market reputation of the builder that she is endorsing now? Is she aware that the project located at the Sector-27, Knowledge Park at Greater Noida (West) is one of the most notorious property markets in terms of builders’ collective poor track record.
Efforts by Track2Realty to reach out to Sania Mirza to question this failed. However, her statement at the Supertech press conference clearly shows she is either ignorant or just not bothered with the market reputation of the builder.
Announcing the engagement, Sania Mirza, has this to say, “I am happy to be associated with Supertech for this initiative of bringing health and wellness through sports to the region. This will also help and enable sports aspirants with a platform to undertake world-class training and pursue career in various sports that the Sports Village offers as the institute taps the latent talent in neighbourhood region. Such initiatives from industry players in every region are a step further in line with the government’s mission on making the country a Sports Superpower and will go a long way in developing the field of sports in the country.”
Legal experts believe that the issue is more ethical than legal when a celebrity endorses a product where the company is otherwise facing the buyers’ wrath.
However, the buyers believe the celebrities should be more sensitive on the issue and must not promote a brand where the satisfaction level of buyer is not only low but critical issues are there in the public domain.
By: Ravi Sinha