Why Apple making Shah Rukh Khan its brand ambassador is hard to believe

Ramarko Sengupta June 3, 2016 2 min

This morning many of you have may have woken up to news reports citing anonymous sources that Apple in India is all set to make Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan its brand ambassador.

While Khan does endorse big international brands like the iconic swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, I find it hard to believe that Apple will have him or anybody else as a brand ambassador.

It’s possible that Apple might tie-up with Khan for a marketing collaboration. But Apple just doesn’t have a history of celebrity brand ambassadors. Have there been Apple advertisements featuring celebrities? Sure. Have there been celebrity partnerships? Yes. But have they had any brand ambassadors? No.

There have been celebrities like Jamie Foxx, John Travolta, Lake Bell, and others who have appeared in ads for Apple. But all these associations have been marketing collaborations, and none of them have been brand ambassadors as such.

Khan has been the brand ambassador for Nokia phones in India in the past. And Apple chief Tim Cook met him among other celebrities on his recent visit to India. He also went to watch an IPL cricket match. Cook has said on record of his meetings that he was here to learn about the people, the culture, and how business was done in the country.

While Apple is serious about its India business and Cook has said that they are in the country for the long haul, Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst at CMR’s Telecom Practice says, “Apple is a niche product, and will remain a niche product, no way can they scale drastically.”

On brand endorsement, Kawoosa said that Apple’s logo is perhaps its biggest ambassador. He said it is likely that Apple may look at certain partnerships to tap into the Indian market further.

“I think Tim Cook realises the importance of cricket in India, and he may try to tap into that, and there Shah Rukh’s IPL team KKR may come in,” Kawoosa added.

In the premium smartphone segment (₹30,000 upwards) in India, Apple held the second spot in terms of market share after Samsung in 2015, according to CMR. India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world and Apple is likely to gain from the 51% growth expected in 2016, it said.

Apple India did not want to comment on the story.

Also read: Apple Stores to open in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai before end-2017

GFX: Nikhil Raj