Ashoka the Great was emperor of the Maurya Dynasty, on the Indian subcontinent, from 269 BC to 232 BC. And for the first eight years of his reign he was, to put it mildly, a bit of a bastard. Bastardry comes in many forms, but Ashoka’s preferred brand was extreme violence. And vast, blood-soaked quantities of it.
When a few of his harem insulted him he burned all 500 of them. He murdered 500 ministers in a test of loyalty. He killed 99 of his brothers, sparing only one. And he built a series of elaborate and hellish torture chambers…because he enjoyed torturing people in elaborate and hellish chambers.
It’s safe to say that when things didn’t go his way, Ashoka had a bit of a temper. Much like Elton John. But more so. He reigned by fear and bullying and killing people. All of which made him rather unpopular. He had all the power, but no respect. In marketing terms, his brand was toxic. Like Goldman Sachs, say. Or Gary Glitter.