Can John Terry’s image get any worse?
This article titled “John Terry’s image appears as part of anti-smoking campaign in India” was written by Rob Smyth, for guardian.co.uk on Tuesday 3rd January 2012 12.05 UTC
John Terry has a problem with his image. This much we know. But the nature of that problem may come as a surprise. Terry’s tortured season took a surreal twist on Tuesday when a blurry image resembling him appeared on cigarette packets in India. The banner at Stamford Bridge may need upgrading. Captain. Leader. Legend. Unwitting anti-smoking campaigner.
The Terry likeness appears on packets of Gold Flake cigarettes, right above the “smoking kills” warning. Terry’s representatives are taking legal advice. “It would seem that the picture is of him and he has not posed for anything like this,” said Keith Cousins of the Elite Management agency. “We don’t know where the image is taken from, but he has not given his consent for this,” he said. “We have consulted solicitors in London and India to investigate the matter and take appropriate action.”
There is no suggestion that Terry has been driven to a debilitating 90-a-day habit by the stress of playing alongside David Luiz, and the England captain’s representative said he is a non-smoker. The image was produced by the Directorate of Visual Publicity, whose additional director general, KS Dhatwalia, said it is “not clear” why the image had been used. “We sent the creative to the health ministry and they then cleared it and circulated it,” he said. “But how Terry’s picture got to be used is not clear.”
Nor is it clear why they used that particular image, which shows a posturing man, oozing virility, rather than somebody whose insides have been ravaged by tobacco. Surely the cheap symbolism of Terry weeping in the rain after the 2008 Champions League final or wheezing in the slipstream of Robin van Persie earlier this season would have been more appropriate.
Another official from the Directorate later told Reuters that the advert had “nothing do with John Terry. It was purely a piece of artistic imagination and I don’t know why an issue is being created”.
It is not the first time government departments in India have had problems with images. In 2010 an advertising campaign newspaper for the Commonwealth Games in India became a source of embarrassment. Images of the athletes were set against a backdrop of planes apparently emitting orange, white and green vapours to represent the Indian national colours. In fact the planes were Italian and the smoke was the red, white and green of Italy.
In the same year, the state of Meghalaya confiscated school textbooks that featured pictures of Jesus Christ holding a a can of beer and a cigarette. If the same fate befalls the Gold Flake cigarettes: John Terry special edition, they will at least became one of football’s more peculiar collectors’ items.
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