A trip down memory lane

For a kid growing up, the late 80′s and early ’90s were a bit of an enigma. While Hollywood was throwing one hit after another, with the decline of big names like Amitabh Bachchan and actors such as Shahrukh and Amir yet to come of age, Bollywood was going through a lean patch. Naturally, the switch to television didn’t come as much of a surprise. Doordarshan had a complete monopoly then. Doordarshan National, or simply DD1 was all that there was, and hence, almost became synonymous with television. It certainly had its audience, though. A new market was emerging, and TV producers were quick to seize the opportunity. Filling their coffers, and in turn, getting their own filled, were the advertisers. Ads back then were long, really really long. Almost all had a jingle. The shortage of enough advertisers and the growing number of TV shows ensured that these ads were played over and over again. And this is how they became entrenched and fixated in our memory, forever and beyond. Here’s a trip down your memory lane:

15) Kinetic Luna: Kinetic has always been the innovator when it comes to two-wheelers. However, a moped, technically a cross between a cycle and a motorcycle, was a product that was a class apart. Was there a need? Yes. Was the need fulfilled? Most certainly. Was the fulfilment communicated? See it for yourself:

14) Asian Paints: Homecoming is always a cause to rejoice. But when your all conquering prodigal son return from the warfront, a home is all he craves for. So what defines a home? Well, as per Asian Paints, the paint on the walls is as important as the people living within them.

13) Pan Parag: Back in the days when Manikchand and Pan Bahar were still in their infancy, Pan Parag ruled the roosts. Chewing Pan Parag was a thing for the elite, as exemplified by Ashok Kumar and Shammi Kapoor in this advert:

12) Lijjat Papad: Long before Shri Mahila Grih Udyog became a case study in business schools, it was a cooperative which saw another, Amul, take birth and establish itself as India’s most popular son-of-the-soil brand. That was before this happened:

11) Suzuki Samurai: Unlike many others, for bike riders, Suzuki bikes come with no riders attached. Or at least so do the Japs say, like our friend here:

10) Dabur Lal Dant Manjan: There’s no harm in admitting to guilt if you have sinned. Likewise, it’s perfectly fine to purchase your favourite tooth powder even if it comes at the cost of losing an ounce of pride in front of your student. The ideal teacher, we call him:

9) Vicks Classic: Peroxides and their Kharasch effect might have confused Markovnikoffs and the like for ages, but Kharash effect causes no such trouble to Vicks. This ad also gave us a very popular jingle. Which one? Let’s find out:

8) Liril: For its utter audacity and brazenness, this Liril ad finds itself in the top 10 of our list.  In an age when you used to bend down and tie your shoe lace in embarrassment when the protagonist would embrace his love interest on the screen, this ad was certainly a path breaker and trend-setter:

7) Fair and Lovely: There is a subtle difference in the Fair and Lovely ads of today and of the times we’re discussing. As much as it’s a virtue to be considered fair today, it is as big a fault to be dark complexioned. Being fair was a virtue back then too, but then your skin’s possession of melanin wasn’t a sin either. But then, given a chance, who wouldn’t want to be a Juhi Chawla?

6) Rasna: The Cokes and the Pepsis were yet to make it big and when the tongue craved for a tangy, juicy, pulpy experience, Rasna was where most turned to:

5) Surf: Back then, when comparison wasn’t the norm, not too many products called themselves the best. Fewer still called themselves the cheapest. Surf called itself both. This is how:

4) Amul: Amul had always been a leader of sorts. Not only was it the first home-grown dairy brand, but it was also the first among its like to develop an entire portfolio of milk made products.  There was Pasteurised milk, there was the utterly butterly delicious butter and then there were chocolates. Connecting all of these was the punch line: ‘The Taste of India’

3) Dhara: Unarguably the sweetest of the adverts back then, this Dhara commercial made every parent want a child like the one in the ad, and every such child want a grandfather like the one in the ad. Dhara, though, couldn’t stand the test of times and was kept on the backburner by Mother Dairy. However, for the sheer nostalgia this ad generates, it finds a place in our top three:

2) Bajaj: While Maruti 800 drove the middle class in the ’90s, the job was started much much earlier by Bajaj, that too, with two lesser tyres. On weekdays, the now discontinued Bajaj scooter was a must for the office going middle class. On weekends, it doubled up a vehicle for the entire family of 4. Another legendary ad, another unforgettable jingle:

1) Nirma: A brand that gave the Levers and the P&Gs a run for their money. It features on the first page of the Bible of Marketing. Need we say more?


In case there are some we missed, feel free to post them in the comments section!


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