If you are a quizzing fan, you probably would have come across this question: Which brand, from one of India’s oldest menswear manufacturers, founded by M.Y. Noorani, is associated with Dhunji Rana, its famous model? The answer is of course, Zodiac. A lot of people of that generation still remember those ads (anyone got scans of those?), thanks to the striking, dignified looks of the bearded Dhunji. And then there are others who remember Atul Tandan (corporate honcho and professor at MICA) in the ads for Lipton Tiger. And the famous ‘Lalitaji’ character for Surf, is part of marketing history.
These ads – along with the models – are recalled even after decades. Over the last few years, only a handful of brands have managed to create memorable advertising characters or even cast models with that certain mystique and aura (Garden Vareli?).
In those days, the predominance of Doordarshan as an entertainment option and the dull grey residual image it leaves behind in your head, allowed for advertising characters & faces with ‘character’ to stand out. In today’s razzmatazz world of television and print, it is that much more difficult to break through the clutter. Not to mention the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of everything.