BRAND BAAJAA

Submitted by Srabana Lahiri on Mon, 03/26/2012 - 00:00 - Comments

Srabana Lahiri does a spot survey of brand recall quotient among industry honchos and discovers the strong connect that binds them to the products of their childhood


Childhood memories most often hover round that cup of Bournvita or Horlicks you had to gulp down, the Dettol poured on a hurt knee, the ‘vanishing cream’ your mother dabbed on herself before a particularly important occasion, the stately Ambassador car in which the entire family would fit, and much later, the Nirma and Gold Spot jingles on blackand- white television. There was no 360-degree advertising to propel the brands we just mentioned into your brain, yet they remain etched in the depths of your consciousness as dearly loved components of the past.
 

The brands of yore have immense sentiment associated with them, not only by virtue of their uniqueness at that point in time but also the role some of them played in a family’s circumstances before consumerism took over. We are talking of times when people would book a Fiat, Standard or Ambassador four years in advance and sell them at a premium a few years after using the cars. Many families actually made money like this, so chances are that they would not forget the brand. They would possibly relish relating the story to an audience many years later.
 

Earlier, there also used to be the thrill of getting brands from abroad, that would inevitably generate conversation and a connect. As Ajay Kakar, Chief Marketing Officer, Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group, recounts, - Wrigleys/Levi’s /Wrangler’s/Sony Walkman – “we begged our relatives, friends and even strangers - anyone who was coming to India from a phoren shore”.
 

Brands thus inspired an enduring form of affection, an abiding trust that would be the dream of any marketer promoting a product today. They came to represent something more than a product or service and got embedded in the culture and consciousness of the consumer. They attained almost iconic status, their reputation traditionally built over the years, sans a media blitzkrieg or aggressive customer feedback research or 24-hour call centre to prop them up. Certainly a lesson for brand marketers. In the words of Sanjay Tripathy, Executive VP & Head, Marketing and Direct Channels, HDFC Life, “Quality and consistent delivery are the key factors in brand recall.”
 

Surveyors now assess each brand on the parameters of brand recall, brand legacy and brand impact, and generate measurable scores and indexes. Marketers set aside huge budgets to improve brand recall... take online travel portal Expedia, for example, that has just allocated more than $ 11million for the purpose. Marketers also look to rope in celebrity brand ambassadors. But in all that brouhaha, the simplicity of brand-building and association that happened earlier is lost. “Today’s marketers who want their brands to be all things to all people and depend on cricketers and film stars to do their work for them should note that even in a small, developing market earlier, a brand could successfully go beyond the broad commodity function,” observes Chintamani Rao, President, Media Direction/ RK Swamy Media Group.
 

We sent out a questionnaire to industry honchos to quiz them about their brand association over the years - which brands they remember/link with their growing up years , which brands they use now and any anecdotes they would have to relate around this. The result is an interesting compilation and a great line-up of iconic brand names that you will read going forward.
 

THE QUESTIONNAIRE

• Name a few brands that you remember with sentiment from childhood/associate with your growing up years.
• Which brands do you remember your parents/family using or talking about?
• Which brands do you favour for personal use now?
• Tell us an anecdote or story around a brand that you have used/use now.
• How would you describe your brand recall quotient over the years? How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10?
 

ASHISH BHASIN
Chairman India & CEO South East Asia, Aegis Media


THE MIND RECALLS
Modern bread, Polson butter, Neko soap, Wimco matches

FAMILY BRANDS
Coca Cola, when launched, was a much talked about brand. In its first avatar with its popular jingle which went as “Rang jamata hai Coca Cola, rang jamata hai rang…”

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
I am a Diet Coke drinker, a fan of Rolex watches and Mercedes cars.

MY BRAND STORY
As a young account executive, when I had my first opportunity to go to Bangkok, like what most people did in those days, I picked up a Polo t-shirt from the pavement shops. Needless to say, given the meagre foreign exchange we were allowed, it was a fake. Probably to compensate that, it had more logos than it should have and as soon as I wore it, some of my friends immediately realized it was a fake and I was teased endlessly for wearing a “fake Polo”.
 

PIYUSH PANDEY
Executive Chairman and Creative Director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather


THE MIND RECALLS
Bata, Bournvita and Bandar Chhaap (Monkey brand black tooth powder). Going to the Bata shop was an annual ritual and sitting on its wooden horse with springs was a moment of joy. I guess something remained at the back of my head that made me write the Chal Meri Luna campaign in the mid-80s. Bournvita was the saviour from milk. And I really enjoyed the saltish taste of black tooth powder.

FAMILY BRANDS
The maximum talk in my family used to be about the Vespa scooter for which there was always a queue for getting delivery. My mother used to book them in many names and if our number came, it meant bonus for the family as it was immediately sold at a premium. This happened for many years.

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Titan watches, Carlsberg shirts and Dockers trousers.

MY BRAND STORY
I still remember going to school for the first time and not letting my mother go. She conned me saying that she was going to the toilet and then I saw her leaving in a rickshaw. I jumped out of the window and chased the rickshaw and after every failed attempt, my mother bribed me with a Cadbury chocolate. A few days before my mother passed away on the last day of 2010, she wanted to have a Cadbury chocolate.
 

SUBHASH KAMATH
Managing Partner, BBH India


THE MIND RECALLS
Ovaltine, Ferradol (Tonic), Chiclets, Kraft Cheese Spread (Tube), Vicks Vaporub, Philips Transistor (Radio) FAMILY BRANDS Forhan’s Toothpaste, Ambassador Shoes, 7 O’Clock shaving blades, Moti Soap

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Gillette (shaving products), Axe (Deo), Pantene (Shampoos), Santos De Cartier & Dunhill (perfumes)

MY BRAND STORY
One day, I was talking nostalgically about how we used to listen to the cricket commentary on our transistor when my teenage daughter suddenly asked, “Dad, what’s a transistor?” … The times, they are a-changing and how!
 

JOSY PAUL
Chairman and CCO, BBDO


THE MIND RECALLS
I grew up on jingles like “Horlicks zyaada shakti deta hai” and “Mummy mummy Modern bread”… and the aroma of ripened Alphonso mangoes as ‘Bournvita quiz contest’ played out in the background

FAMILY BRANDS
I can still remember the scent of ‘Cuticura’ powder and ‘Chandrika’ soap in my parent’s bedroom back home in Kerala. The perfume travelled with us everywhere even as we sat closely with other passengers in the local ‘vanzhis’ or kayaks which were our mode of transportation across the waterways that brought me to my mother’s house. The well rubbed coconut oil in my jet black hair was ‘Parachute’ and reminded me of the millions of coconut palms that swayed across the green fields back home. My oily hands would try to draw this picturesque sight with half broken crayons that I stole from my sister’s ‘Camlin’ set.

MY BRAND STORY
Inspector Eagle played out on the radio as my detective instincts led me to pick up all kinds of scrap from the streets – including half torn ‘Wills’ and ‘Capstan’ cigarette packs – as I searched for imaginary clues. I had no idea about brands. I only knew ‘Parle’ as the sweets that my mother hid above the refrigerator in a wooden box titled medicines! And then there was the Indian Railways! The romance of travel and the ‘tring tring’ of Duke’s, Sosyo, Mangola and Gold Spot. These are some of my childhood memories of brands. They never asked me for anything, but played an invisible role in shaping my imagination and early life experience.
 

CHARULATA RAVIKUMAR
CEO, Product of the Year, INDIA


THE MIND RECALLS
Fanta, Bata North Star, Cadbury, Kwality Ice Creams

FAMILY BRANDS
Colgate, Bata, Postman, The Statesman, Dexorange, Vicks, Amrutanjan

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Colgate Total, Vicks, Ferragamo, Lancome, The Indian Express, The Oberoi, Emirates Airlines, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Nike, Grand Sweets (Chennai) and more.

MY BRAND STORY

Vicks is an all-time favourite of mine. And I tend to use it every night or at times when I need to relax. People around me find it strange, but have rather \gotten used to it and also chide me that they recognize my presence in the room by the smell of Vicks!! Once on a flight, I wanted to doze off for a while and had a mild headache. Needed my Vicks. But I was somewhat sheepish about bothering the passenger next to me, who seemed German. At this risk of making him feel that Indians are weird, I took his permission and asked if it would bother him if I used Vicks. There was a flash of delight on his face as he beamed and said... “Vicks!!! I love Vicks!! My grandmom used to put it on us all the time.” Saying this, he scooped some Vicks out of my bottle and applied it all over his forehead and nose. Well, whether he was being nice to me or simply honest about his obsession, it put me complete at ease. My Vicks-appeal had spread!
 

ELIZABETH VENKATARAMAN
Senior VP, Head of Marketing , Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance


THE MIND RECALLS
Cadbury, Amul, Gold Spot, Rasna, Parry’s. Brands meant very little to me as a child I would describe it as everchanging with trends and offers. In the growing years, I started developing preferences for a few brands in some categories. Today, I have a far more established relationship with brands in some categories.

FAMILY BRANDS
Pears, Johnson’s, Surf, Pond’s, Cuticura, Garden, Fiat

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Johnson’s, Mango, Neutrogena, L’oreal, Apple

MY BRAND STORY
Well, two iPad users can connect for hours on what all can be done on the iPad…
 

MANAJIT GHOSHAL
MD and CEO, Mid-Day


THE MIND RECALLS
Nirma, Hamam, Vicco Turmeric, Gold Spot, Thums Up

FAMILY BRANDS
All the above brands.

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
None

MY BRAND STORY
I always liked to grab a bottle of Thums Up. It was my favourite cola drink. As a kid, I felt more energetic after having a Thums Up (influence of the ads, I guess . Even as a football captain, I used to insist on having a bottle before I stepped out on the field.
 

DEVENDRA CHAWLA
President, Food & FMCG at Future Group


THE MIND RECALLS
National Panasonic Tape recorder – memories of starting to discover music & bands; Phillips Radio - remember all family, specially elder cousin sisters, listening to old Hindi songs and growing up to remember parents’ favourite songs; then the unmistakable Bajaj scooter and Godrej cupboard; Reebok shoes- for not having them for some time & then finally owning them; Camlin colour pencils - colouring the world in our own way; Yamaha RX 100 – at 18, license to speed & thrill and the memories of a wonderful college life. Campa Cola/ Gold Spot / Double Seven – small joys of life, getaways with friends to a local shop with 50 paise pocket money.

FAMILY BRANDS
Phillips, Godrej, Amul, Campa Cola, Rexona/Hamam soap, Milkmaid, Rasna, Nirma, Topaz blades, Yashica camera, Atlas cycle, Modern bread, LML scooter- Vespa.

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Apple, Diet coke , Dell, Sony , Honda , Ford, Ektaa, CK , Geoffrey Beene, Chanel, Dabur, Gillette, Tanishq, John Miller, Himalaya, Parachute

MY BRAND STORY
Remember in school, going to a friend’s place to stay overnight and he introducing me to his father’s cologne Eternity from CK. Twenty-five years & perhaps 10-12 bottles later, always have a CK Eternity with me.mber Rasna as a brand in almost every kitchen.
 

AYAZ MEMON
Veteran Sports Journalist and Consulting Editor, NewsX


THE MIND RECALLS
Binaca toothpaste, Vicks Vaporub, Lux, Coca Cola, Air India

FAMILY BRANDS
Saridon, Binaca, Lux, Hamam, Rogers, Fiat

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Biotec, Gillette, Zodiac, Corolla

MY BRAND STORY
When Binaca introduced flouride, it was brought into the house with great fanfare as a great advancement in toothpastes. Everybody in the house wanted to try it right away. It turned out to be a mixed bag, with half the house for against it.

ANIL NAIR
Head, Digital Law & Kenneth


THE MIND RECALLS
Gold Spot, Parle G, BSA/SLR, Nirma, Amar Chitra Katha and Indrajaal comics...

FAMILY BRANDS
Brands like Crown or ECTV, Telefunken radios, Ambassador cars, Premier Padmini, Vicco Vajradanti, North Star shoes are some of the brands they used.

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Now there is a plethora of brands... too many to name...They come out of your ears now.

MY BRAND STORY
I remember harassing my father for a BSA/SLR cycle. And he had promised to buy me one if I did well in my exams... I worked hard for it, and managed to come out at the top of my class... but as promised, I did not get my cycle, i.e, until I left for my summer holidays! When I reached my holiday destination, my brand new BSA/SLR was waiting for me there... the feeling was priceless.

BRAND RECALL QUOTIENT
I would say it is bad, as I only remember a handful of brands over time and surprisingly, they all have powerful jingles.
 

SANJAY TRIPATHY
Executive VP & Head, Marketing and Direct Channels at HDFC Life


THE MIND RECALLS
Amul, Air India (Maharaja), Vimal (for Only Vimal campaign), Surf- Lalithaji, Gold Spot, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate, Bajaj Auto, Maruti cars, Hero Honda

FAMILY BRANDS
Bajaj, Philips. In those days, brands were more for consumption than luxury… Rexona, Hamam were among the soap brands that my parents used

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
I have got a BMW and a Volkswagen Polo. Gillette, CK Perfume, Sony TV are a few more that I can recall. I use a BlackBerry... Among computers, Dell has been a reliable brand.

MY BRAND STORY
An interesting brand that I recall is Rasna. In my childhood days, I distinctly remember, when there was a power cut, especially in northern India, people used to drink Rasna. Also, when guests used to visit us, instead of offering cold water, the host used to offer Rasna. Rasna has today been taken over by cola drinks, but during those days there was a huge market for Rasna. For instance, during marriages, Rasna was a common soft drink. This tradition no longer continues, but I clearly remember Rasna as a brand in almost every kitchen.
 

KAUSHIK ROY
President, Brand Strategy & Marketing Communication, Reliance Industries Ltd


THE MIND RECALLS
Binaca toothpaste. It always came with a pendant – usually that of an animal. It looked like gold - a collector’s item.

FAMILY BRANDS
Palmolive shaving cream, for one. I used to wait for the cold dab of foam that my father would affectionately smear my face with. Then the Ambassador car – it could fit in an army, especially when you were heading out for a picnic.

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
The only brand for which I haven’t found an alternative is “Natural Ice cream” that you get in Mumbai. Nowhere in the world can you get anything as good as this.

MY BRAND STORY
I can never forget my 18-month-old son pointing out to the spade sign in the bridge section of a newspaper and saying “Pan Parag Logo”. Those were the days of heavy Pan Parag TV advertising with Shammi Kapoor, but nobody at home had Pan Parag. What got me was not so much the identification of the brand but the word “logo”. Obviously, the ill effects of an adman discussing work at home! a-changing and how!

BRAND RECALL QUOTIENT
I can’t say much about ‘Brand Recall Quotient’, but what I find amazing is that the brands that I use don’t necessarily have the best ads. Isn’t that strange coming from an adman? But that’s the way it works, I guess.
 

BHASKAR DAS
Executive President, Times Group


THE MIND RECALLS
Horlicks , Colgate , Dettol, Britannia

FAMILY BRANDS
Most of the above brands were used by my family

FAVOUR FOR PERSONAL USE NOW
Mont Blanc, L’Oreal, Versace, Colgate Total, Tag Heuer, Boss, Zodiac , Louis Phillip & Levis ,TOI, ET, Harvard Business Review, Apple (iPad, iPod, iPhone)

MY BRAND STORY
It isn’t so much about memories about a particular brand… there are some memories that actually make a ‘brand’. I remember falling down, scraping my knees as a child and running to my mother who would clean the wound with Dettol… the sting that followed and the hugs and kisses after that would overpower the hurt. In fact, such is the power of Dettol and the synonymous hugs & kisses, that I once had the most remarkable experience. Having hurt my elbow against the garden gate, I rushed home to my mother who dutifully fussed over the injury – Dettol, hugs and all. When my father came home, I ran to tell him about my big ‘hurt’. Only that I ended up showing the wrong elbow, which had no wound to show. The entire family burst out laughing as my father exclaimed, “O look, how quickly Dettol has healed your hurt!” “No, Baba,” I replied, “it was Ma’s magic mantra of hugs and kisses!” Even now, I find myself rushing for a bottle of Dettol to take care of my cuts, wounds, etc. And find myself remembering the warmth of the hugs and kisses that followed.
 

AJAY KAKAR
Chief Marketing Officer, Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group


THE MIND RECALLS
Ah, memories! Warm and cherished memories from my childhood... Bournvita - the yummy, essential before-you-go-toschool drink; - Ovaltine - the tasty milk mix that promised to make us healthy; Cadbury’s - a gift for and from someone you love… The coveted “reward” from the parents, for success at school or the sports ground; Dettol - for every hurt and cut - the burning sensation, followed by a “phoo-phoo” blowing to ease the pain; Glucose biscuits from Parle - dip it in milk or tea and make it tastier; Campa Cola - only a few who travelled abroad had the luxury of tasting Coke. Campa Cola was the cold drink; Wrigleys/Levi’s Jeans/Wrangler’s jeans/Sony Walkman - we begged our relatives, friends and even strangers - anyone who was coming to Bharat from phoren shore - please, please, please; Dalda ghee - the recipe to mouth-watering ghar ka khaana; Fiat, Standard or Ambassador - our wide choice of cars - in white, black or may be one other odd colour to choose from. We would book a car at least four years in advance. And then wait – mera number kab aayega. Believe it or not, you could sell your car, a few years after purchase, at a premium to the cost at which it was bought; Panam and TWA - the international air carriers you dreamt of travelling in – some day; EC TVs – viewed programmes on the only channel available – Doordarshan - in black and white; Aakashwani - the radio station that brought you entertainment; Philips TVs, Philips transistors, Philips cassette players, Philips record players - unless you had generous relatives coming from overseas. Then it was a Sony you aspired for; Kwality’s and Volga’s ice creams - the rocket lolly -sluurp!; RTI cakes…
 

CHINTAMANI RAO
President, Media Direction/ RK Swamy Media Group


THE MIND RECALLS
Colgate was the leading toothpaste then as now, except that then it was dominant. But there was none of the fancy stuff: only one form, Colgate Dental Cream, with the promise that it “freshens your breath while it cleans your teeth”, and for many years it ran boy-meetsgirl advertising with a before-after story. Signal was a red-striped toothpaste: “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Signal.” Then there was Forhan’s (“The toothpaste created by a dentist.”), positioned as a toothpaste for the gums. It had a medicinal pack design and a medicinal taste, and hardly foamed... Among the (relatively) big ones that were such a part of our everyday lives and don’t exist any more were Himalaya Bouquet talcum powder, which gave way to Pond’s Dreamflower talc; and Charmis All-purpose cream, which lost out to Pond’s Cold Cream. Then there was Pond’s Vanishing Cream. That product form has of course... well, vanished. That, boys and girls, was when Pond’s was not a brand of Unilever but of Chesebrough-Pond’s, which in India later became Pond’s India Ltd. Tata’s shampoo was vegetable oil-based. Later came modern shampoos like Halo and Sunsilk. Their advertising was intended to build the shampoo category: “Soaping dulls hair. Halo glorifies it.”

FAMILY BRANDS
Every home had a bottle of Tata’s Eau de Cologne: a truly wondrous all-purpose product, and the only modern (!) fragrance there was. When Madame dressed to go out for the evening she dabbed some on, and a drop or two on her delicate hankie; if you had a headache you applied it on your temples; if someone in the family was running high fever you soaked a handkerchief in cologne-laced water and placed it over the patient’s eyes. Until Nescafe was launched in 1964, the only “instant” coffees we know were Stanes (from, believe it or not a company called T. Stanes), and Polson’s French Coffee, so called because it was a coffee-chicory blend. Bata was the only national brand of shoes. And as for branded apparel, there was practically none. Raymond’s, as it was earlier called, was even then the most premium brand in textiles, known especially for woollen fabric and indeed for knitting wool. (The company was called Raymond Woollen Mills Ltd.) Knitting wool was terribly important, because most people wore sweaters handknitted at home. Upmarket people wore sweaters home-made with Raymond wool; the middle class, with Lal Imli and Dhariwal. There was really only one whisky, Black Knight. And, if you were fortunate enough to lay your hands on it, Solan No.1. Blue Riband gin, Red Riband vodka, Old Monk or Hercules rum, Honey Bee brandy and Golden Eagle beer completed the well-stocked bar. If you were inclined to Scotch, you procured bootleg Vat 69. Wine was unheard of. Even 25 or 30 years ago, when we went to Goa, we brought back bottles of Bosca Riesling and Vinicola’s Port Wine, and felt quite sophisticated. Of cars, of course, the less said the better. The first one I remember my parents having was a Model A Ford. Then a Baby Hindustan, and later a Fiat 1100. My parents must have been mavericks. I don’t remember ever using Colgate toothpaste or having an Ambassador!
 

Feedback: srabana@exchange4media.com

Category: 
Volume No: 
8
Issue No: 
41