For King Khan, it’s 18 till I Hyundai

S. Muralidhar Chennai | Updated on January 20, 2018

Shah Rukh Khan

SRK reminisces on his long association with the brand; shakes a leg for its staff

When Shah Rukh Khan signed on as the brand ambassador of Hyundai, his son Aryan was a toddler. Today the younger Khan is old enough to drive a car and his father says he will learn to do so in a Santro.

Coming from a man who owns numerous cars, SRK’s assertion would have sounded outlandish if not for the fact that his association with Hyundai is one of the longest surviving celebrity endorsements ever — 18 years and kicking.

Shah Rukh says that the Santro has a special place in his long list of product endorsements because he has seen the small car make a difference to the lives of many Indian families. “I want my son to share that feeling and learn to drive like everybody else. To me it is an emotional attachment. In fact, I’m personally trying to teach him to use the manual gearshift in our Santro,” he says.

Emotional attachment

“I was young and was hoping to grow bigger as an actor when I signed up for the Hyundai Santro in 1998, and so there is a sense of shared success with the Santro”, says King Khan. In fact, his attachment to brand Santro was so strong that he attempted to convince Hyundai India’s management to retain the model.

Shah Rukh was talking to BusinessLine after shaking a leg to the peppy Lungi Dance from his blockbuster Chennai Express.

The occasion was the 20th annual foundation day of Hyundai Motor India and SRK was the quintessential showman in front of the 12,000-strong audience, comprising workers and their family members, at the plant near Chennai.

On the move to penalise celebrities for endorsing products that do not live up to their claims, SRK says that there should be limited liability on the brand ambassador.

“I think all the big brand ambassadors are educated and they had better know about the product. But the best of things can go wrong — right from the space shuttle to the rubber band — so there is a responsibility that also lies in the hands of the testing and certifying agencies which gives them an ISO or a ISI mark of quality. Those agencies also need to be made stronger.”

He said it was not the core competence of the celebrity endorser to make sure a product is perfect in every way.

Published on May 09, 2016

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