Shreyas Kulkarni

Diljit Dosanjh & Air Jordans, SRK & Diptyque and Dunhill... The curious case of Bollywood’s unintentional endorsers

They’re not paid for it, yet these folks spread the brands’ appeal.

When Diljit Dosanjh performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, a 70-year-old late-night American talk show, last week, he not only created history as its first Indian performer but ended up endorsing a brand for which he wasn’t paid in any manner – Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers.

He loves to rock them during his performances and it shows. 2.4 million people have watched his performance on the show’s YouTube channel since its upload, and over six million have seen the video of his performance at Coachella, a music festival, last year, where he sported, yes, a pair of Air Jordan sneakers.

Dosanjh is the perfect example of an unintentional endorser. They have no stake in the brand except being a consumer, yet end up spreading its appeal far and wide. No brand will ask for it but every brand secretly prays for such an unintentional endorser.

Here’s a select list of such prominent endorsers.

Shah Rukh Khan and the Diptyque X Dunhill combo

Many actresses claim Shah Rukh Khan smells divine. So, what is the secret scent of his success? No, it’s certainly not Denver – you know how it works.

In a video interview, the superstar revealed he mixes a Dunhill Icon scent available only at its London store, with a scent of Diptyque. For many, it was like Sachin’s Tennis Elbow injury moment because they had heard of Diptyque for the first time. Naturally, the curiosity around the French perfume house spiked. It's likely that many were already familiar with Dunhill in some capacity.

Today, both scents are popular because Shah Rukh Khan wears them. Brands can pay top dollar to a celebrity to sell their stuff but to see people show curiosity and even buy one because Khan wears it, is priceless.  

The exact ratio of this concoction remains unknown, but rest assured, it is expensive. A 100 ml bottle of Diptyque Tam Dao (EDT) costs Rs 24,567 on Amazon.

“… But, you’ll still not smell as good as me. When it mixes with my sweat, the sexiness that comes out of it… actually, both Dunhill and Diptiyque are wanting to bottle my sweat,” that is King Khan setting the record straight.

Diljit Dosanjh and Nike’s Air Jordans

Dressed in a tamba and kurta and sporting a pair of Air Jordan sneakers, that is how the singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh rocked The Tonight Show and Coachella’s stage. More recently, he was seen sporting a pair in the movie Kalki 2898 AD's song Bhairava Anthem (2:13/2:44).

Diljit Dosanjh & Air Jordans, SRK & Diptyque and Dunhill... The curious case of Bollywood’s unintentional endorsers

Known as much for his sartorial choices as he is for his music, Dosanjh’s love for Nike’s Air Jordans gives the sneaker brand the virality amongst his legions of fans in regions it may not have thought to target —aspirational Tier II and Tier III India exposed to the world courtesy of affordable smartphones and cheap data plans, rather than the affluent crowds of country’s few metro cities.

Yes, these sneakers do not come cheap. The Air Jordan 1 Dark Mocha that Dosanjh wore during his Coachella performance will set you back by Rs 13,995 as per Nike India’s website (it is sold out). But, then again, India’s sneaker market, as per market research company Statista, is forecasted to generate a revenue of $2.80 billion in 2024 – people are ready to pay, regardless of where they stay.

Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani for Bastian

Much before Bastian, a chic restaurant, opened in Mumbai’s swanky Worli suburb and became the darling of ambitious influencers and nepo babies, there was a Bastian in Bandra.

Launched in 2016, it did well, but then a Tiger was spotted. No, it wasn’t the striped predator but the actor Tiger Shroff with former girlfriend Disha Patani who began to dine at the restaurant.

Their love for the restaurant was so popular that it even sparked a mention on the chat show Koffee With Karan.

“You'll made Bastian become the hottest restaurant... Every Sunday Tiger and Disha are at Bastian,” remarked host Karan Johar to guest Shroff who replied, “We like eating the same food. Maybe that's why we go to that restaurant together."

Paparazzi loitered around the restaurant because it was the best spot to pap Shroff and Patani. In a world of paid influencer spots, seeing a celebrity duo visit Bastian every week did wonders in pulling crowds, and aiding then head chef Kelvin Cheung's journey to become a social media star, before legal troubles came calling for him.

Shilpa Shetty and Karan Kundra, in 2019, picked up a 50% stake in Bastian’s parent company, and soon opened the rooftop branch in Worli – it boasts a swimming pool in the middle of the restaurant.

PS: These are perhaps the most popular examples of unintentional endorsers, but there are many other examples of brands or not exactly brands that have become immortalised in pop culture courtesy of celebrities: the imaginary ‘mausi’ in the BTS of Jackie Shroff’s Polio PSA, Ranbir Kapoor’s love for baseball caps, Badshah rocking Balenciaga every second day, and Salman Khan’s bracelet, amongst many others.  

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