Vintage Indian brands and ads: it’s nostalgia time

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

I had this fascination for magazines right from my early teens. Which probably explains a lot of things about me. Ha ha. Anyways, I had shelves full of Illustrated Weekly of India, imprint (published by R V Pandit), Life, Movie (when it was edited by Rauf Ahmed) among others. Children, we are talking early ’80s here. What is fresh in my mind is the classy, all lowercase masthead of imprint, it’s clean layout and focus on content. The Illustrated Weekly changed avatars briefly before it went defunct. Rauf Ahmed’s Movie magazine was perhaps ahead of it’s time in terms of layout and content – which was heavily photography driven.

I was also influenced by the ads in them – I still have my drawings of Elpar Suiting ands and Air India hoardings from those days.


Of course, ads from the early days of my career – Thums Up, Campa Cola and several others are still fresh in my mind. So herewith some ads from that vintage and thereabouts:

BSA SLR: One of the early endorsements for Kapil Dev, but not as popular as his Palmolive da jawab nahin ad.


Campa Cola: this was almost generic to cola back then. I remember all the words of the jingle even today.


Gold Spot: the zing thing and the Gold Spot Jungle Book collection are quoted in marketing circles even today. Perhaps this print ads doesn’t do justice to the peppy nature of the TV ad.

Zing Thing.jpg

Dipys: Yipee, it’s Dipy’s was the tagline and the print ads had a comic strip like feel to them, a la Lucky Luke.


Image sourced from here.

Bombay Dyeing & Vimal: Like in many ads of that era, a jingle was common for suiting ads. Shashi Kapoor’s son, Karan Kapoor featured in the Bombay Dyeing ads, where he was labeled the ‘Dream Lover’. Deepak Parasher and Anna Bredmeyer feature in this ‘Only Vimal’ ad.


GEC was perhaps the first brand that I interacted with closely in a literal sense. One had to manually tune it a particular frequency – a task made difficult since it had a mind of it’s own. My brother would tune it to Radio Australia for the cricket commentaries at 5-am and I had to sometimes ensure that it stayed tuned. We later got a Philips transistor which was a companion during dinner time. Jaymala and the late night Hindi songs were regulars along with BBC News, Voice of America, Ameen Sayani’s Cibaca Top 10 on SLBC and the Bournvita Quiz Contest.

The 1983 Asian Games brought the TV revolution and Dyanora and ECTV into homes. We had a B&W set first and had to manually turn the knob to switch channels. Phool khile hain gulshan gulshan, the early soaps like Hum Log, Karamchand, Vikram aur Betaal were family favourites. Since we grew up in Chennai, when they played a Kannada movie during the weekly ‘regional language’ movie on DD it was special. I also remember Sabina Merchant’s ‘What’s the good word?’ which used to come on DD Mumbai.

And then there was North Star Shoes – ah, those were precious. I remember buying a North Star jacket for my younger brother when he went abroad. And also Tree Top- perhaps the first tetrapak juices. I could go on and on: ECE bulb, Sylvania Laxman, Indana ghee, Natraj Pencil, Vicco Vajradanti…and more.

For a great read on growing up in the 80s and the ads from that era, see this post: Who said I am nostalgic?

Thanks to Soumyadip of Cutting the Chai for all the press ads, except where mentioned.

Facebook Comments


  1. Lovely – brought back a host of memories 🙂
    Grew up to all this.
    Some where done by my ex-agency Rediff, epic stuff.
    In fact, on a non-addy topic, I ran into Commando comics today – after aeons.
    Nostalgia rules the day…

  2. Ah, Commando comics! Apart from the staple Asterix and Tintin, I used to love the Lucky Luke (faster than his shadow!) series – thankfully a few of the titles are back in circulation now.

  3. anoop joseph Reply

    nice……..could you please provide some more brand stories….

    • Ash Bishnoi Reply

      Those were days of CCC- Central Continuing Characters. We lived and swore by them. Dipy The Kid, the Zodiac Man, the Liril Girl, the Amul girl, the VIP Frenchie Man, the Lakme Woman, the Aristocrat Coolie, the Skypak Man…..where is such imagination today?

  4. K.Chatterjee Reply

    I am trying to recall a suitings-shirtings ad featuring Ardhendu Bose and Anand Balraj… was it Bombay Dyeing? Also another Bombay Dyeing ad of 80s … about Haiku and Vivaldi (?) collections !!

  5. K.Chatterjee Reply

    I am trying to recall a suitings-shirtings ad featuring Ardhendu Bose and Anand Balraj… was it Bombay Dyeing? Also another Bombay Dyeing ad of 80s … about Haiku and Vivaldi (?) collections !!

  6. Mahendra Pareek Reply

    80’and 90? was the time when the present generation of high energy / professional breed was at its most adorable time of life, full of joy / carefree, now in middle of their life, and stuck in today’s advanced and digitally woven web, they can only cherish these memories and savor it with this golden contents, available on this site,

Write A Comment