Pakistani man drowns during advertiser’s “promotional tie” reality show

A Pakistani man participating in a competition sponsored by a shampoo company died in Thailand after he drowned during a challenge.

The AP reported that “Saad Khan, 32, was swimming across a lake while wearing a 15-pound (7-kilogram) backpack when he called out for help and then disappeared underwater, according to Fareshte Aslam, information officer for Unilever Pakistan, the show’s sponsor. Horrified co-contestants and crew rushed to try to save him but could not find him in the murky waters of the lake in the Thai capital of Bangkok.”

The show was “a promotional tie for Unilever’s Clear shampoo,” the AP reports, noting that “Khan had already been eliminated in the as-yet-unnamed show’s previous rounds, but had returned for a special challenge to earn a spot in the finals.”

Unilever spokesperson Tim Johns told AdAge, “This is a tragic accident. We were shocked by this event, and our sympathy goes out to his family. At the moment we’re assessing the situation and hoping to get to the bottom of this.”

AdAge also says that “The news was originally reported Monday on Pakistani e-magazine, then picked up yesterday by a handful of blogs and Twitter posters.” That site,, amazingly steals’s design, and its latest story about the drowning has “More Unconfirmed Info” and gives four phone numbers from the man’s obituary, and the story says, “So if you people want more information, you can try them.”

Man Dies During Taping of Unilever-Sponsored Reality Program [Advertising Age]
Pakistani reality contestant drowns in challenge [AP]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.