Irrfan Khan: A brand ambassador who united urban & small town India
“I trust, I have surrendered” – with these words was announced the passing away of Irrfan Khan, one of India’s brilliant actors and the face of the middle class Indian hero. Irrfan may have lost his battle with a rare form of cancer, but he has left behind a rich legacy of films and unforgettable characters. Incidentally, Irrfan’s latest release, ‘Angrezi Medium’, was the last film released in theatres in India before cinema halls were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with being a successful actor, Irrfan was also the face of almost 20 brands – from Mastercard, Syska LED, Edelweiss, Cavin Kare’s Indica Easy hair colour, Aegon Religare Life Insurance to Vodafone, Ceat Tyres, Lava International’s Xolo, IndiaMart and Treebo, among others. In the case of Mastercard, he was the first Indian brand ambassador to promote their services.
Irrfan was one of the ‘non-controversial’ actors with a clean reputation and an image that middle class India could relate to easily. Besides, his exceptional acting talent and impeccable dialogue delivery made him a favourite with brands.
Brands felt that the actor lent a kind of honesty, a popular celebrity with no starry airs, and helped them build a connect with consumers in both urban and small town markets, thereby bringing forth shared synergies, values and beliefs.