Vijay Sethupathi recently endorsed an online app called Mandee and it has caused him a bit of embarrassment. The Mandee app advertisement with VSP explaining the advantage of using the app was aired on all television channels.
A user can apparently buy and sell essential food commodities in bulk through the app and get the products delivered at your shop front. This has irked the representatives of small-scale industries and owners of small retail shops in Tamil Nadu. They are objecting to Vijay Sethupathi appearing in the ad and endorsing the process. They claim that the online application would eventually overthrow their businesses and affect their livelihood.
They said they had not received a reply from Makkal Selvan. The Mandee app developers maintain that the technology is actually helpful to farmers as there will not be multiple middlemen but the protesters seemed to be in no mood to listen.
The members of Tamil Nadu Traders Association Federation began protesting in front of VSP office in the city on Tuesday morning, asking him to cancel his endorsement contract with the controversial app.
Speaking to media, the traders said, “We have tried to meet Vijay Sethupathi many times, but in vain. He refused to give us time. Hence, as a first step, as traders in Chennai we are protesting in front of his office. We have nothing against the actor as we hear that he is genuine and helpful person belonging to a farmer's family. Our fear is that when a popular actor like him endorses a product, its reach is very high, which eventually will affect us. So, we hope that he would understand it would affect the livelihood of 20 lakh families in TN and stop endorsing Mandee app. If he fails to do so, we plan to protest all over TN in front of the theatres where his film Sanga Tamizhan, scheduled for release on November 15, will be screened. Our next move is to meet the Chief Minster and represent our case.”
They also added that they had approached office bearers of Nadigar Sangam and submitted a petition to prohibit actors and actresses from endorsing or taking part in any events related to online business apps.
Mandee App promoters deny allegations
The promoters of Mandee have clarified their stand through a statement.
Their press release states, “Mandee, promoted by the founders of Jayyam food brand from Salem, connects all the stakeholders in the food commodity business - farmers, traders, retailers, distributors, super stockists and manufacturers - through a single platform and it is beneficial for them. It is a trade made easy using a technology-driven platform. The platform is focused only on Business-to-Business trading and not direct to the household.
Having been in the industry for such a long time, Mandee understands the age-old challenges faced by various stakeholders in the food commodity buying and selling and aims to solve them by providing customised solutions to address the pain points”.
The statement also defended Sethupathi, “While this concept of an online Mandee is new, we felt it required a trustworthy face who also shares our care and concern towards farmers and traders - Makkal Selvan, Vijay Sethupathi. He accepted to endorse the brand after meticulously studying the brand, its business model and proof of service. Only when he was convinced that Mandee is for the real benefit of traders and farmers, people coming from a humble trading background, did he decide to engage with Mandee. Therefore, all these allegations levelled against Mandee and Vijay Sethupathi are incorrect and damage to the fame of the celebrity is unjustified.”