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Nikola Jokic Despicable Me 4 Ad Campaign Sees NBA Star Dress Like Gru

Nikola Jokic Despicable Me 4 Ad Campaign Sees NBA Star Dress Like Gru

In 2022, flocks of teenagers flocked to cinemas dressed in suits and tuxedos, there to see and celebrate the Illumination film Minions: The Rise of Gru. It was part of a trend, apparently developed organically, called #GentleMinions, of young fans celebrating (some, perhaps ironically) the film franchise they grew up with.

Universal, which distributed the film, was, suffice it to say, thrilled, and the film ultimately delivered more than $939 million at the box office.

This year, Illumination has another film in the franchise hitting theaters, Despicable Me 4, and the studio is once again betting on a dose of social media virality to kickstart its campaign, turning to an athlete known as “The Joker.”

On Saturday, Nikola Jokić, the star NBA center for the Denver Nuggets, arrived for the team’s playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers dressed suspiciously like Gru, the franchise’s protagonist. It quickly went viral, with memes and jokes all over TikTok, X, Instagram and other platforms. “I love the guy and I love the cartoon,” Jokić told reporters after the game “Why not?”

It was also not a coincidence.

During the game, Illumination dropped a new commercial for Despicable Me 4, and Jokić was the star. The premise? The Minions can’t stop following the NBA star, because they think he is Gru. “Guys, I’m not your boss!” Jokić shouts in the spot:

In other words, the whole ordeal, from Jokić’s pregame attire on, was a ruse on the part of Universal and Illumination, an effort to go viral and get people talking about Despicable Me 4.

And it was a welcome reminder that when it comes to those viral moments, you never know what is real, what is fake, or what is just marketing for a summer blockbuster.

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