Leisure > Nostalgia  > Yours, mine, ours
We go 50 years back in time to bring you products, people, events and fashion that influenced the world…

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Yours, mine, ours

Fevicol

LAUNCHED IN 1959, IT WAS THE FIRST WHITE GLUE MADE IN INDIA. HALF A CENTURY LATER, FEVICOL IS THE LARGEST-SELLING ADHESIVE BRAND IN ASIA AND A METAPHOR FOR PERSONAL BONDING AND STUBBORN STICKINESS.

“Fevicol is where it is today because Pidilite has constantly upgraded the product in terms of both brand building and product enhancement and by reaching out to their marketing team,” says Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy & Mather South Asia. He says the secret of Fevicol is that the product has constantly reinvented itself. “It has not lost its identity and yet has a contemporary feel,” adds Pandey, who has been the creative head for all the Fevicol advertisements. Another reason Fevicol has stuck around so long is that it has launched different versions of the same product. “Like the cult brand Volkswagen first came out with the Beetle and then other types of Volkswagen cars,” he explains.

Chandreshwar, 56, a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh, has used Fevicol for as long as he can remember. “Before Fevicol, there was scarcely any glue that made wood stick together,” he remarks. “The product made life easier for us.”


Bandar Chap Kala Dant Manjan

A LITTLE-KNOWN MUMBAI-BASED COMPANY, NOGI AND CO PVT LTD, LAUNCHED THIS TOOTH POWDER ALMOST EXACTLY A CENTURY AGO. ALSO POPULARLY CALLED ‘MONKEY BRAND’ BY THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING POPULATION, BANDAR CHAP HAS HAD A SPARKLING RUN IN RURAL AREAS NEXT ONLY TO NEEM STEMS AS A TOOTH CLEANSER.

“Products like this do well in rural areas because sophisticated brands have relatively low penetration in these parts,” says Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy & Mather South Asia. But the times, they are a-changing. “I used this product myself while growing up in Jaipur,” reveals Pandey. “But I doubt anyone uses it now even there. If Bandar Chap is doing well in this segment, it is because it is moving further into the interiors of the country. To survive competition, however, the company will have to market other oral-care products.”

Nevertheless, Rukmini Devi, 72, a homemaker from Udaipur, is a staunch Bandar Chap loyalist. “We have been using this dant manjan for almost a decade,” she says. “Though my children have moved on to fancy toothpastes, I stick to it because I am familiar with the product and it has done me a lot of good.”


Tiger Balm

BACK IN THE DAY, PAIN RELIEF CAME PACKAGED IN A TINY HEXAGONAL JAR WITH A FLYING TIGER ON IT. HISTORY CREDITS A BURMESE HERBALIST, AW CHU KIN, WITH ORIGINALLY DEVELOPING THE RECIPE IN THE 1870S. THIS PANACEA FOR PAIN WORKS ITS MAGIC WITH A MIXTURE OF CAMPHOR, CLOVE AND MENTHOL.

“Fifteen years ago, globalisation spelt the death knell of many Indian brands but not brands like Tiger Balm, which remained true to their original core values,” points out Mohammad Khan, founder of Enterprise Nexus and chairman of Bates Enterprise. But, he says, to continue to survive, these brands must reinvent themselves. “You have to make it relevant to the present generation while not losing the intrinsic values the brand represents. After all, that’s the reason for its loyal following.”

Ratan Pathak, 82, from suburban Mumbai describes Tiger Balm as “a doctor in your pocket”. She began using the product when she was in her 30s and now recommends it to her 21 year-old granddaughter Sejal. “The current generation always seems to be in some kind of pain and this balm seems to relieve all of them even today,” chuckles this retired policeman.


Jai Kajal

BEFORE EYE PENCILS, BEAUTY HAD JUST ONE NAME: JAI KAJAL. PACKAGED IN A SMALL GREEN JAR AND A LABEL SPORTING A MOTHER HOLDING HER CHILD, THE KAJAL HAS BEEN CHERISHED FOR COSMETIC PURPOSES AS WELL AS ITS AYURVEDIC PROPERTIES, WHICH INCLUDE RELIEF FROM SWELLING, IRRITATION AND SORENESS.

Anand Halve, co-founder of Chlorophyll Brand & Communications Consultancy, calls Jai Kajal a “branding phenomenon”. “It was launched at a time when Indian beauty was defined by eyes and hair,” he says. “Everyone aspired to long hair and large, black eyes. Even our Hindi songs spoke of beauties with kajal lined eyes.” Modern cosmetic culture and changing notions of beauty have brought Jai Kajal under competitive pressure. To make it ‘cool’ to the current generation, Halve says, “I would associate the brand with someone who doesn’t wear make-up and is not plastic but still loves to line her eyes with kajal.”

Pune-based Praful Surpuriya, 56, has been buying Jai Kajal for his wife Suryamala, a homemaker, for the past 20-25 years. “Unlike other kajal, this is purely Ayurvedic and it soothes your eyes,” he says. “My wife even recommends it to the young women in our family. Most of them sit in front of a computer all day and we know from experience that Jai Kajal’s cooling property brings relief.”



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