Advertising has become a massive industry today with almost every brand spending an exorbitant amount in an effort to create awareness and ensure top of mind recall. The point is to break through from the clutter and make that one ad that resonates with the brand and ultimately becomes the anthem of the moment. That’s the power all brands crave! I have to be honest that most ads these days lack that power of connecting with the audience. Although they’re technologically advanced and have the best picture quality, etc., they seem to lag behind in creating that connection.

Did you jingle your way through the 1990s? We surely did, with these commercials!

The Indian Trumpet’s 1990s Special Edition

As a child who grew up in the ‘90s my life revolved around ads, to the extent that I’d be humming those jingles or punchlines throughout the day, especially while climbing down my building stairs or in the bathroom! Sometimes I’d recognise the brand merely on the basis of the tagline. That, I would say, is the purpose of advertising. So let’s shed some light on the good old and definitely most talked about Indian ads of the ‘90s era.

The Dhara oil ad surely had all mouths watering as soon as it was on the air. It was as if my whole house was encapsulated by the aroma of the garma garam jalebis being fried in hot oil! That indeed was a sight to see which triggered the sweet tooth for me and it was a compulsion to binge on something sweet after that while humming the tune of the jingle “Dhara Dhara, Shudh Dhara”. That’s the impact that the Dhara ad created.

Another popular ad was the Bajaj scooter ad – it was as if Bajaj was the traditional scooter of all families. Every middle-class family’s favourite son was “Hamara Bajaj”. It was quite surprising to see how strong that scooter was – it could easily accommodate a family of four and sometimes with the youngest child seated on the portable seat attached to the front seat! These are sights that you see and perhaps say “It happens only in India”.

The ONIDA TV ad with the devil and his oh-so -ferocious horns was another scary yet popular ad. I remember as a child I’d be freaked out by devils and ghosts and my mom would always use that as an excuse and say “complete your homework for the day or the ONIDA devil will come and punish you”. But having said that ONIDA was and still is a reputed brand; I remember how in the ‘90s having an ONIDA TV at home was a matter of prestige.


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‘The Complete Man’ ad for Raymond created waves in the ‘90s. It was a big risk that the advertisers took by targeting the metrosexual, caring, the family man who was very different from the way men were portrayed in the ‘90s. Those were the days of the angry young man, but Raymond succeeded in making its mark in becoming the preferred choice for shirting and suits for men. Be it a marriage or a business meeting, every man wanted to be ‘the Raymond man’.

The only chocolate that I grew up eating as a child was Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. It indeed was the ‘taste of my life’, as the catchy punchline ‘Kya Swaad Hai Zindagi Mein’ suggests. The Cadbury ads created such a stir back in the day, that till date it’s probably one of the most eaten chocolates in India. And what’s commendable is that the brand continued to dominate the market with only one milk chocolate flavour, which surely indicates it’s not always about variety, sometimes it’s just that one product that hits the sweet spot and boom, the job is done.

It’s a known fact that Indian food is lavish and filled with richness and flavours. I’m sure you’d agree that Papad is an integral side dish of the Indian diet with innumerable varieties, including masala papad, fried papad, roasted papad, etc. But how can we not mention the all-time favourite Lijjat Papad featuring the cute rabbits that actually got me to eating papad in the first place? The funniest bit in the ad is the ‘Karram kurram’ part which actually refers to the sound made while eating papad.

My day would be incomplete without an ‘Utterly Butterly delicious Amul’ butter toast for breakfast accompanied by a glass of Amul milk or ‘doodh’. This ad resulted in a sigh of relief by all Indian mothers who had to struggle to get their children to finish their glass of milk every morning. But after this ad their worries came to an end as the kids themselves would say ‘give me more’!

Well, that’s all folks. This was just a small fragment of commercials that I remember from my childhood.

Keep blowing the Trumpet! This & many more stories await in the pages!