Celebrity endorsements are fairly popular and, to some extent, effective too. However, it is not uncommon for these celebrities to be embroiled in controversies as a result of promoting either questionable products or objectionable messages.


In the past, a handful of Bollywood actors have been involved in troublesome ads, which has landed them in hot water.

1. Akshay Kumar for Vimal 

Akshay Kumar recently became a Vimal brand ambassador, following in the footsteps of Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan. People were not pleased with the choice, considering the actor has already spoken out against actors endorsing pan masala. 

2. Saif Ali Khan for Pan Bahar 

For a long time, Bollywood ‘celebrities’ have endorsed ‘pan masala products’ through surrogate products, and the list also includes Saif Ali Khan. In fact, the Delhi government wrote to the actor in 2015, urging that he stop promoting the product.

3. Yami Gautam for Fair and Lovely 

Fairness cream Fair & Lovely, as well as its brand ambassador Yami Gautam, was previously accused of fostering colorism and racism. Following the backlash, the brand withdrew the word “fair” from its name and replaced it with “glow.”

4. Shah Rukh Khan for Fair and Handsome 

In a similar vein, Shah Rukh Khan was criticised for endorsing a men’s fairness cream brand, Fair and Handsome. “If it is a product that is legal and on the market, I will never question it,” the actor said in response to the uproar.

5. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for Kalyan Jewellers 

Activists slammed Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for featuring in a ‘racist’ advertisement for the jewelry brand. The ad shows the actor reclining under a parasol carried over her head by a ‘dark-skinned slave-boy,’ according to the letter.


6. Sana Khan for Amul Macho 

Sana Khan was featured in a men’s underwear ad, which was slammed for exposing unwanted excessively sexual scenes. The commercial drew a lot of criticism and was eventually taken off.

7. Madhu Sapre and Milind Soman for Tuff 

Madhu Sapre and Milind Soman’s ad shoot for Tuff in 1995 caused quite a stir among the viewers. They posed nude, with only a pair of shoes on their feet and a python wrapped around their bodies, causing outrage across the nation.


8. Ranveer Singh for Jack and Jones 

With an unpleasant punch line, Ranveer Singh posed with a woman thrown over his shoulder, insinuating that women are just objects. The sexist tone of the Jack and Jones commercial sparked controversy.


9. Sachin Tendulkar for Paytm 

The Paytm ad, which depicted a kid, (presumably) a young Sachin Tendulkar being smacked, was highly panned on social media. The problematic message depicted in the commercial caused viewers to express their displeasure.

10. Hema Malini for Kent RO 

Kent’s Atta & Bread Maker ad, urged people to buy a tool that would allow them to knead dough without having to use their hands. Many people on social media slammed the campaign, accusing the brand of being “classist.”

11. Pierce Brosnan for Pan Bahar   

Many Indians were angered by Pierce Brosnan‘s appearance in a Pan Bahar campaign, questioning why he was advocating a cancer-causing substance. However, the actor eventually admitted to Indian authorities that he had been “duped” by a mouth freshener company that had hired him to sell its product.

Like a moth to a flame, some celebrity endorsements just attracted viewers’ wrath.