Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar may have made headlines for signing a Rs. 20crore deal to endorse a cola giant, but not many know that alongside, he also turned down a Rs. 20 crore offer to endorse a leading liquor brand. “I will never endorse any alcohol or liquor brand,” he had said at the age of 16, and is still abiding by the statement.
Actor Sanjay Dutt also refused to endorse a tobacco brand this week. The decisions have set an example among celebs. “A decision like this is a reflection of values. If I were in his place, I’d have done the same,” says actor Dia Mirza. “I am very proud of Sachin. I, too, will never endorse alcohol, cigarettes or gutka,” says boxer Vijender Singh. Cricketer Irfan Pathan and actors Celina Jaitly, Soha Ali Khan and Irrfan Khan are among the others who say they will never do a liquor or cigarette ad.
It’s not just liquor that’s a no-no for celebs. Actor Kareena Kapoor had said, “I will not endorse non-vegetarian products.” Actors Bipasha Basu and John Abraham were approached to endorse an aphrodisiac for a huge sum, but they declined. Bips has also said that she would never consider doing a condom ad.
However, not everyone thinks alike. “What is wrong with endorsing a liquor brand if the actor drinks, or endorsing a cigarette brand if the actor smokes?” argues adman Prahlad Kakkar. In the past, actors Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Shilpa Shetty and cricketers such as Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh have endorsed liquor brands. If reports are to be believed, actor Abhay Deol, too, is set to feature in a campaign for a leading whisky brand.