Here's why the Indian influencer influx at the Cannes Film Festival is a masterclass in branding and innovation

The red carpet is their stage, and they’re all set to shine.

10 May, 2024
Here's why the Indian influencer influx at the Cannes Film Festival is a masterclass in branding and innovation

India’s long-standing association with the prestigious Cannes Film Festival goes all the way back to 2002 when Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan gave us an iconic red carpet moment. The former Miss World got off a chariot holding hands with King Khan in what can only be described as a picture-perfect fairytale moment. The diva continued to turn heads during her countless appearances on the red carpet. Who can forget the iconic purple-coloured lipstick that made headlines back in 2016, sending people rushing to the beauty store for the same shade? Be it Bachchan or fashionistas like Sonam Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Katrina Kaif, and Deepika Padukone amongst others, Cannes has always witnessed the crème de la crème of the Hindi film industry marking their presence at the event. 


A post shared by Kusha Kapila (@kushakapila)

But as the saying goes, the only constant in life is change. With content being king, last year’s edition of the festival witnessed a host of influencers and content creators from across the country, including Kusha Kapila, Dolly Singh, Masoom Minawala, Diipa Khosla, Ranveer Allahbadia, and Niharika NM representing leading brands at the festival. And the influence continues with the upcoming edition, which is set to be held from May 14-25, and is all set to witness the Indian influencer contingent shine once again. 

With a social media following that runs into millions, one really shouldn’t be surprised to see them at Cannes. For starters, the festival—one of the world’s most prestigious and publicized festivals has transcended cinema to today become a world where culture, art, fashion, and business meet. This is a community that has collaboration as its cornerstone and Cannes, right from its very first edition back in 1946, has supported this endeavour with open arms. 

Their rise and role

Continuing to win hearts with their quirky, engaging, and relatable content, things are certainly looking up for these influencers. This year, influencers and content creators such as RJ Karishma, Ankush Bahuguna, Chef Sanjyot Keer, Aastha Shah, Niharika NM, Sharan Hegde, Nancy Tyagi, and Viraj Ghelani, will be attending the upcoming Cannes Film Festival in a few days. Sharing her thoughts about what it means for the Indian influencer community to be invited to such a prestigious event, Aastha Shah comments, "Everything evolves with time and this is the biggest opportunity for creators. Being invited to prestigious events like these and walking the red carpet is a dream come true. It validates the power and reach of online platforms and social media, providing opportunities for collaboration and networking. Altogether, it’s a way to celebrate creativity and influence today’s world." 

With their fan following running into millions and a universal appeal that sees audiences find them more approachable, authentic, and relatable, these influencers are no less than celebrities and brands in themselves. It’s not just us who’ve noticed them, but global brands too, who’ve roped them in as their brand ambassadors. Last year, we saw names like AJIO, Brut., L’Oréal, Chopard, Renault, BMW, Mastercard, and Grey Goose associate with Indian influencers and content creators. And if you thought you’d seen brand associations, you’ve seen nothing yet! It’s the start of a new revolution, and the influencers are going full steam ahead. 

Sharing his thoughts on how Indian influencers changed the marketing and branding game last year, Viraj Sheth, CEO and co-founder of Monk Entertainment said, “What content creation has done really is a democratised opportunity. It has opened up access for creators who would have never even dreamt of opportunities like this. The Cannes red carpet is easily one of the biggest global events to happen every year. Indian creators representing the country is a testament to them getting their due. One such example is Nancy Tyagi who comes from the small town of Barnawa in Uttar Pradesh. She stitches her own outfits from scratch and will finally get a chance to showcase her work at a global platform  like the Cannes Film Festival known for its representation of fashion and culture.”

While Tyagi will be wearing her own hand-stitched outfits, the other 2024 attendees mentioned above are all set to have the spotlight shine on them as well as the designers whose outfits they will be wearing. While RJ Karisma will be styled by Ayesha Nigam, Bahuguna's looks will be picked out by stylist Akshay Tyagi. Talking about what it means to walk the red carpet at Cannes, Shah says, "Being a girl with vitiligo I never even thought of being here. I've gone from living in a society that always disregarded me to being able and comfortable to flaunt my vitiligo on the red carpet. I'm looking forward to wearing my skin proudly and be an inspiration for all those who’ve felt underconfident about themselves. It’s a dream come true not just for me but for all the ones who have vitiligo."

Safe to say, influencers and content creators like Shah aren’t just confident in their skin but are proud of their roots and Indian fashion as they get ready to take on and shine on the global stage. 

Just the start of something great

The future is bright, one filled with promising opportunities for Indian content creators who are about to go from household names in the country to global stars across the world. If you thought they were mere attendees, it’s time to open your eyes and look at everything they represent—talent, success, innovation, diversity, marketing, a branding master class, and their creativity. 

With the 2023 Cannes Film Festival seeing them not just being acknowledged, but celebrated on the global stage, the sky is the limit for India’s influencers and the potential within them. You were surprised last year, but you won’t be surprised now.

Lead image credits: @kushakapila and @dollysingh | Instagram

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