Iconic Ads: Zodiac – Bearded Man mascot

Both Noorani and Mundkur went against trends & fashion successfully to have a bearded man as a model for the brand.

Over 60 years ago, the Zodiac brand name was created by MY Noorani and Hasan Taj of Lintas over a cup of tea at an Irani restaurant.

Hathaway Shirts in the US had used an unconventional model with an eye patch for their shirts successfully. Based on that, a bearded, well-built and macho man became a mascot for a brand in India.

The Zodiac Man

Created by Bal Mundkur of Ulka and MY Noorani of Zodiac. They used Dhanji Rana, a creative director at Ulka Kolkata, to be the model.

It was against the grain to use a bearded model in those days, but it became a huge success as the Zodiac Man represented the stylish male from the 60s and many years thereafter.

It was so famous, that the face launched not only Zodiac ties & accessories but also the shirts.

There was actually nothing in that black & white advertisement campaign except the Zodiac man, & people still remember it, that was the power of advertising. 

It was considered one of the top 3 endearing icons of Indian advertising.

The Zodiac man campaign elevated Zodiac to a leading position by positioning it as a sophisticated, trendy, and high-quality brand. It is argued that Zodiac created the tie culture in India.

As a sign of gratitude, Zodiac provided Rana, clothes and ties for his entire life. And after retirement, he handled Zodiac’s operations in Kolkata. 

The Zodiac Man became an icon to the extent that Khushwant Singh wrote in the Illustrated Weekly, as its editor, that he was the best-recognised male mascot in India, after the Air India Maharaja.”

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