Here's a review of five classic Indian Ads and their enduring symbols that we have grown up with.
Of course others may qualify too, but these 5 are still going strong and continue with their original theme since colour television made an appearance in India in the early eighties. I have chosen these symbols also for the impact they have made on their product as also the attention they have generated.
Surf and Lalita Ji
One of the earliest classic advertisements, it showcased the middle income Indian housewife’s frugality and as well as her no nonsense attitude, principles and her continuous striving to get the best VFM. All these in a remarkably well made 60 sec spot! It even spawned a TV serial Rajni as well as made Kavita Chowdhury playing Lalita ji famous. She later starred in a successful TV serial Udaan.
Tagline - Surf Ki Kharidari Main Hi Samajhdari Hai!
Who doesn’t remember “Neighbour’s envy, Owners pride”? The Onida devil became a symbol of ownership and onus and' everything from the latest car, house or boyfriend qualified for the phrase, "neighours envy, owners pride
Colgate Surakhsha Chakra
The Colgate "surakhsha chakra" (ring of confidence) with the ting tong click has been a most enduring symbol. From Sangeeta Bijlani in early 80s to Divakar Pundir today, they have all helped in keeping colgate synonymous with toothpaste. And the ad has evolved with the times without sacrificing any of its essence.
Oh the cute pug! Though not as old as the other Ads, the Vodafone pug has spawned more than its share of accolades and controversy! And last heard of, the owners of these pugs are appointing dog-guards to thwart pug-nappers. Seriously. This pug is the latest target of the kidnapping industry.
Nirma Dancing Girl
Nirma nirma nirma, washing powder nirma…so simple, easy and so melodious that it was easily caught by every child! And when a jingle is repeated everywhere, you know it's successful. Nirma still continues with the same strain of the jingle albeit the ad has undergone major overhauls. The commercial contributed in no small way to Nirma’s success in the eighties and kind of pulled the carpet from under Surf’s smug feet!
Some other ads and their jingles from the 80s and early 90s that have stayed in memory are
"Jab mein chotta bachha tha" - Bajaj Bulb
Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream (again with Sangeeta Bijlani)
"I am a Complan Boy" - Complan
"Hamara Bajaj" - Bajaj
One ad that has changed beauties / personalities over the years but where the essence has remained the same is Liril. The 80s ad had Karen Lunel bathing in green bikinis under a water fall and was definitely ahead of its time for India.