Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's an ad ad world!

I remember when my friend who was pursuing his MBA talked about advertising. He gave an intersting point about the ads which seem quite lousy. His theory, or probably the general advertising theory was that, for ads to click they have to be extremely impressive or extremely lousy. As I was thinking about this yesterday, I traversed back in time to the days of black and white ads. Advertisements ever remain a child's first favourite on TV. And most of the old day ads, by today's standards, would have been dissmissed as being too lousy but still they did strike a chord with the viewers/listeners.

One of the early ads making a good reach to the viewers was the old Horlicks ad. It was a bit long but a very normal one and that too in B&W with different people in all age groups, from all walks of life, talking a line about Horlicks. There was a sports person, a person dressed as Ravana, a granny saying "Enga ammavum adhe koduppa" and the last line where a kid with a spoon in hand remarks "Kudikka vendam, appadiye saapiduven". This punch line, even to this day, remains a widely remembered ad line. I think much later came the Ujaala ad. There were even jokes and "just a minute" series with the Ujaala slogan : "Neeyum Ujaalavukku maaritiyaa?".

The Nirma song was like the ads' anthem. Everyone could sing it and everyone had their own parodies - one of the most popular one being "Washing Powder Nirma, Adupula vegudhu kurma!". Needless to say that even then there were countless rumours about the ad models then - though they did not get much attention at the models of today. It is often said that the girl in a frock swirling to the tune of the Nirma ad song was actually the daughter of the person who owned Nirma and that it was in her name that he started the company and that she died soon after she featured in the ad. The same is attributed to "Liril" soap ad models. The ad, inspite of its popularity, was supposedly a jinx for the models. Whoever would figure on it would since be deceased. Well it was obviously untrue!

Of the local ads, Idhayam nallennai's gained much popularity because of its ad line "Idhellam pombalainga samachaaram, poi idhayam nallenai vaangittu vaanga-na vaangittu vaangalen" and it also helped actress Chithra (often dubbed as "Nallennai" Chithra) gain some level of prominence. "Excuse me, neenga endha college?"... "College-a? naan-a?" as the model finishes this line, a kid comes running towards her shouting "Mummy....". This ad (was it Santoor or Rexona?) was also a fodder for many many parodies and "Excuse me, neenga endha college" almost became an expression for people looking younger beyond their age!!

One of my favourites then was the "Gold Spot" ad, more so because Gold Spot was my only choice for cool drink during those days. For a while Gold Spot also had Archie Comic characters behind the bottle crowns. The ad song went something like this "She is crazy about hitting an ace as crazy as he is about........... as crazy as crazy as we are about Gold Spot, the Zing thing, Gold Spot". And then Rasna! All the little girls who featured in the ads were so cute (infact one of them was the heroine opposite Prashanth in the Tamil movie 'London'). Though Rasna had just Orange flavour initially, it introduced "Mango Ripe" and the new ad became my instant favourite ("Endha samayam endha naalum Rasna Mango Ripe naaley").

The "Sunrise" coffee ad with its elegant signature tune and the cute picturisation with Suchitra Krishnamurthy in it was an instant hit. I think the soft music and a simple video did the trick. The Amrutanjan ad's slogan which goes like "Gaayab, hoy to, Poye poche, poyindhe, Chalegoche, It's gone... menmaiyaana suhamaana vegamaana nivarani, Amrutanjan Pain Balm meedum thandhidumae... ungalin punnagaiyai!" is something people recon with even today. The AVT premium Tea with its "Kaeteengala, kaeteengala..." had the interesting "Aaapapapapapa..." from Gautami (rather the voice that dubbed for her). We as kids then tried imitating that "aaapapappapa..." but with little success. None realised the male model in Leo Coffee would go on to become a popular hero - Arvind Swamy! Infact another ad of his - no, not the Cinthol ad - in which he goes to buy a Solidaire TV along with his on-screen wife Geetha. That was also a short and nice one. Speaking of Solidaire TV, I remember the old ad where a baby cries on watching a lion growling on TV, then the channel switches to cartoon and the baby is in all smiles. Finally the song end with a dance troupe dancing to the song "We want, we want true colours, we want we want clear sound, we know what we want, we want Solidaire... SO LI DA IRE...". Dynanora was another TV which also got lost down the line. Arun icecream also improved immensely on its video ads. They had a series of clippings showcasing all their flavours with the background song "I can see you... Arun icecream, I think I will lose my self-control... you make me lose, lose my self-control". It ends with a kid holding an ice candy stick and shivering with smiles - really cute!! In terms of visuals, "Regaul sottu neelam" made a similar mark; "Sottu neelam thoi, Regaul sottu neelam thoi... enna venmaiyo... aahaaa enna venmaiyo...". I think the ad received more popularity ever since it came to be known that the video was shot by ace cameraman P.C.Sreeram. This was followed later by another similar ad featuring Kushboo, who runs with a torch in hand and with the song "Endrum maara venmai idhu, Regaul venmai maaraadhu...".

"Thalai vali? jaladosham? mukkadaippu? aama pa aama..." was another famous ad line. Infact during late 80's there was a group which released a cassette called "Sirippo sirippu" where they mocked almost everything which was popular then - DD, popular ads, Kripanandha Variyar, Senthil-Goundamani-Janakaraj combo and this ad also had featured in that.

I used to love the voices behind the radio ads, Radio being "Chennai Vaanoli Nilayam - Vividh Bharathiyin Varthaga Oliparappu"! and had wildly imagined how the faces behind the voices would be. In all these years I could come across only one such person and that too on the Tuesday 7.30 pm DD drama. When he spoke his dialogue it immediately struck me that he was the voice behind the many ads on radio but no, it did not match the face which I had imagined ;-) I used to wonder then and even now if the time for ads overly surpassed the time alloted for songs on AIR! and I used to love the signature bell sound (ting tong) preceeding each ad. The typical radio ads with the bell sound would also remind me of my daily hussle-bussle mornings when I start to school. The "All India Radio" was always the morning background score at home - day after day! And who can forget the evergreen "Gopal palpodi"? ("Vennira parkalukku Gopal palpodi, thaechu paarunga Gopal palpodi, kaettu vaangunga Go paal pal podi!!") Surprisingly they did not change the song even when it was shown on TV for a short while (ofcourse, I dont see it anymore on TV these days). Then came the Archana Sweets ad "Inime late-a vandha Archana Sweets oda dhaan varanum". That ad line was later changed when Archana opened a couple of branches in Madras. And another good old ad was the "Roja paakku" ad. I could just go on and on, then ofcourse the "stores" ads like Saravana Stores, "Rathna Stores, Siva Complex, Pondy Bazaar", Vasanth and Co., Maniyammaal Texties, Sharada Stores (ending with "Chennai-2, Trichy-2"). The other typical radio ads being "Zandu Balm, Zandu Balm valigalai neekum balm...", Kalyanai covering, Nizam pakku.

In between, there also used to relay audio trailers for movies. Infact during nights, about one hour was allotted for such ads (under "Vilambaradharar vazhangum nigazchi"). That was a time when we could listen to new songs or atleast get a sample of it only thru' such forums. Doordarshan would not screen new songs. And we would eagerly have our ears glued to get jig-saw bits of the story, dialogues and songs. It would be interesting the way the "build-up" is generated in the ads with echoing effects, glaring sounds et al. And if one would stay awake (which generally doesnt happen because of restrictions at home owing to school the next day) so late to know about a film, it would his turn to brag about it the next day in the classroom.

I know many ads then did not have a catchy ad line, nor famous models or actors featuring in them, nor trendy sets or graphics but still they made an impact - for whatever reasons - and they still remain fresh - possibly because they did not have all those features which ads of today have and just humming old tunes of the ads or reciting ad lines would unfurl loads of memories - wouldn't they?


Ankur said...

if u see the latest bingo adds by ITC... u will realize that crappy adds do get the message across

Ravi said...

Hi Pegasus,
Long time!! Yes, that was exactly the point my friend was trying to make. Maybe the mockery of the ads help in spreading the word ;-)

Balaji S Rajan said...


For an advertisment to be catchy, it should be short and sweet, atleast attracting a child, and a lady. Most of them were created by applying this formula.

"I am a Nutramul Dada" was also famous.

In our young days, we were tuned to the Radio on a sunday for Suchitravin Kudumbam.

"Horlick adhiga sakthi alithudum.."

Then came Bournivta quiz contest.

"At School and play all for each day,
All for each day at school and play... CADBURY's WHEAT BOURNIVTA... BOURNVITA..."

I think you missed Lifebuoy.

"Arokiyamana vazhkai alithudum Lifebuoy... Lifebuoy evidamo arokiyamum avidamey.."

"Super Rin... Venmai Alithudum.."

"Coffeena... Narasu's Coffee thaan.. Besh..Besh.. Romba nalla irukku.."

Anyhow, this post brought in so much of old memories.

R.Prabhu said...

Nice retrospective post! Some of my past favourite ads are Campa Cola, Campco chocolates -featuring kids. In my opinion, the ads that are catchy are those that have very cute babies, (also babes) ;) featuring or if it involves some creative fun.

Anonymous said...


I remember the ad, when Aishwarya featured first in advertisements along with Aamir for Pepsi, saying "Hi. I'm Sanjana. Got a Pepsi?". Then some few south ads like Woodwards Gripe water, saying "Woodwards Gripe water kudu. Nee kuzhanthaiya irukarche athu than kudiche.", & Frooti ads also.

Should sincerely appreciate your memory for listing out those and good effort.

saravansivan said...

wow wow wow..Moochu muttudhu..super post ravi...U summed up everything well..was a good read and travel down the lane..But what im amused about is the rumours abour nirma and liril. Konjamum maarama adhe rumour ennoda school daysls vellorela ketiruken, oru velai unmaiyaave irukumo..But ditto..eppa nirma girl dance adradha paathulum i used to feel for her premature death..

Ravi said...

Balaji Sir,

The Lifebuoy ad was one for which the signature song was the same throughout. And yes, Narasu's Coffee was also a popular one then. Thanks for your comments.

Neenga sonna Campa Cola, Campco chocs nyabagam illai. Konjam refresh pannunga pls.

Thanks for coming by and your comments. How did I ever forget "Wordwards Gripe water"? Infact even today, when someone asks "enna aachu?", the tendency is to immediately say "Aaaah?? Kozhandha azhudhudhu...". And yes, the "Mango Frooti, Fresh and juicy" was also a popular one. And yes, the Pepsi ad was one which made Aish famous.

Thanks! Thanks! The rumour was prevelant in the whole of India so no wonder you talked about it in Vellore. Btw, pudhu post eppo due?

balar said...


romba kalakkla thokuthu vazhangiirukkeenga..

Really i cant forget the "Ujjala" ad and the jokes related to that ad in shool times...Shool teachers yaru white sarees kattiirunthalaam neengalum ujjalaukku maariteengalnu pasanga kindal adipom..

Unga listla illathad innoru ad enakku romba pidichathu long time back vandha "ericson" cell phone Ad...andha Jollu unclea innum marakka mudiyathu..:))

good one ravi..:)

Ravi said...

Hi Balar,
Thanks! Yes Ujaala romba influence panni irukku-nu nenaikiren! But I dont remember the Ericsson ad. Is it the one where the lady orders for "one black coffee please"? Btw, why did you remove your blog? Seri edho temporary-nu nenachen paartha innum varala. I really liked ur posts. Please do resume blogging again.

balar said...

ravi adhe adhe...:) still i remember the uncles wonderful expresssion in that AD.

Ravi thanks for the concern...ippo than theriyadhu ennoda blogikku kooda(mokkai postukku kooda) readers irukkangannu....just kidding.:))
job changes addhunala travelingnu ippo time kidaikiradhu kastama irukku..adhan konjam nalaikku blog readersa irukkalamnu irukken..when time permits sure i will start blogging again and will inform u...

வேதா said...

ரவி முதல்ல ரொம்ம்ம்ம்ம்ப தாமதமா வந்ததுக்கு மன்னிச்சுடுங்க :)

விளம்பரங்கள் பத்தின இந்த பதிவு என்ன பழைய நாட்களுக்கு இழுத்து சென்று விட்டன. தூர்தர்ஷன் மட்டும் இருந்த காலத்தில் ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை மாலை படம் போடுவதற்கு முன் கிட்டத்தட்ட அரை மணி நேரம் விளம்பரங்கள் வரும், நான் படம் பார்க்கறேனோ இல்லையோ அதை மட்டும் பார்த்துருவேன் :)

நீங்க சொல்லியிருக்கற பழைய விளம்பரங்கள் எல்லாமே எனக்கு பிடிக்கும்,குறிப்பா சன்ரைஸ் என்னோட ஆல்டைம் ஃபேவரைட் :)

இப்ப வரும் விளம்பரங்கள் தொழில்நுட்ப பிரிவில நல்லா முன்னேற்றம் அடைந்திருந்தாலும் சில விளம்பரங்கள் பார்க்க சகிக்கல :)

Ravi said...

Hi Veda,
Late-a vandhaalum latest-a vandhirukkeenga!! Thanks for the nice comments. Yes, naanum ads-kkaagave paarpen. Infact, appo ellaam program naduvula varaadhu, elaam first-leye pottituvaanga. Neenga solradhu romba sari - thozhil nutpam neraya use pannaalum, creativity oru sila ads-la dhaan irukku!!

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Ravi,

Sorry about the delay, Actually Campco chocolates is where a group of children stand in a line and spell out CAMPCO as a rhyme

C - for tasty campco chocolates
A - for Vitamin number 1
M - for milk to get you strength
P - for protein full of fun
C - for creamiest taste
O - la la lall lall la (One kid mulichu-fies as he will be eating the chocobar with chocolate all over his mouth). A nice ad with children during those days, where the other ones were just Johnson & Johnson and Woodwards.

Campa Cola, i dont remember the bgm song exactly, but there will be a group of scuba divers in a boat diving in the sea when campa cola is dropped. the picturisation would be nice.

One more ad that occurred to my mind was Ruffles Lays when it was introduced, a small dialogue between a Police officer and a Kid, where the kid would finally say "Mom, told not to talk to strangers!!!", when the police officer asks if he can try one from the chips packet

Sree's Views said...

thanks , Ravi. nice of u to let me know. romba sorry...daily vandhu paapen...ippo en blogaye paakaradhu illai :)

as usual , a malarum ninavugal post :) I was reading ur post , I could hear all those advt songs being played...

I was reminded of 'come alive come alive come alive with nescafe. ' The joke used to be 'give bombay dy(e) ing some will come alive' . Silly dhaan....

Remember the hmt or was it another brand 'If u have the inclination , we have the time'.
this also brought on another joke
"what did big Ben tell the leaning tower of Pisa ? " and the caption was the answer :)

then maggie...." Maa bhookh laage "
"dho minutes darling" :) this line was used by moms for all dishes to refer to any length of time .

But there is something else that struck me when I read ur post , Ravi. There are some ads that are very effective and gets imbibed , but the product is not a success or it does'nt produce the desired result.
one example is 'santoor' . How many ppl we know use santoor ?
But 'neenga endha college' is very famous.

And I can never forget my brother singing "washing power nirma...aaya veetla kurma" :)) and he was in love with Sangeetha Bijlani for a long time (till the time Azharuddin cut in ;-) )

And again I was thinking of the time when my grandmother got influenced by the Singer 'fashion maker' advt , and bought me that sewing machine. It was so different from the usual one I cld'nt even thread it , to which my grandma exclaimed
" TV la avalo easyaa thaikkaraangaley...nee en ipdee makku maari irukka" :((( curse that advt !!!
which proves there are some 'villain' advts too.

hmm...good post , Ravi !
I was thinking of a lot of ads and incidents associated with them for some time :)
my fav in the recent times is 'UTI' bank (twin kids entering class room) and ofcourse Ponds age miracle :).

Vcuisine said...

Nice blog you have Ravi. Interesting posts and appreciate your patience in listing out things orderly. Have a good day. Viji

Ravi said...

Thanks! Unga comment padicha appuram, edho konjam nyabagam varudhu. I used to love the Ruffles ad as well - the little boy was so cute.

Vaanga vaanga!! Yes, you are right about the ads. Btw, unga paati ungala pathi correct-a dhaan solli irukaanga ha ha ha! And yes, Maagi was another famous ad and as I missed out and recollected by another blogger in the comments, Woodwards gripwater too was quite famous.

Hello Viji,
Thanks for dropping by. And thanks for your nice comments too. I see that you live in Kuwait. I was there too during my childhood days - so talking about Kuwait brings a lot of nostalgic feelings in me. Keep visiting.

R.Prabhu said...


Where are you? Romba naala aalayum kanom, post-um kanom!!

Ravi said...

Hi Prabhu,
Thanks for asking. I cant post comments on blogspot from office but I do check out other blogs though I dont post comments on them and I read your Kallanai post too but could not comment. Will post one soon. Thanks again for coming by.

R.Prabhu said...

Oh, the issue is not resolved yet? Or is blogger is blocked completely? Thanks for coming by!

Balaji S Rajan said...


What happened to you? Long time no post?

Ravi said...

Balaji Sir,
Thanks for coming by and for checking. My access to blogspot is even more restricted as I can't seem to post comments or make a new blog post from office network. I can read blogspot posts though and as ever, I have been a regular visitor at your blog site.

Deekshanya said...

Thanks for dropping by. Will write a new post soon.Thanks for the support.
By the way this post and the next were class.Loved them both. Infact I took a print out and gave it to my elder sis who has no access to the internet at her place - And trust me , she loved it too.

So wishes to you from her behalf too!!

Anil P said...

I quite agree. Do you remember the 'doodh doodh doodh . . .' ad, I never got tired of seeing it.

Ads of those days had a nice tune to them, and many were memorable.

Radhika said...

Hi Ravi

Looks like I missed seeing this when you actually posted this. Was googling for something else and stumbled here...Good post...lot of memories :)

The AVT ad - "the interesting "Aaapapapapapa..." from Gautami" - The voice that dubbed for her belongs to Mrs.R.S.Swarnalatha, my mom. Thanks for the mention. And yes she has been appreciated a lot for that tough rendering :) But I remember that she actually did it so easily. After the recording, back home, I tried doing it too, but yup, not much luck!! She is one of the most famous voice artists in south indian Ad world.

Pertaining to other ads you have mentioned, there are many that get produced in Bombay too. And down south, people like S.N.Surendar (Actor Mohan's dubbing artist), Anuradha (Kushboo's dubbing artist) or Savitha (Simran's dubbing artist) dub for ads at times too. The Idhayam Nallennai ad was by S.N.S & Anuradha.

Pertaining to the Chennai Vanoli nilaya announcement, mostly it gets done by artists employed in AIR(All India Radio).

I have provided my mom's blog link here. She has been pretty busy these days and hence trying to find some time to blog. Few of her famous ads:

1. "Manamana coffee Leo coffee" jingle
2. Narasus Coffee "Idha Idha idhathan edhirparthen"
3. Archana Sweets - "Ammavin paasam archanavil theriyudhu" jingle, including the kid's voice

Will actually ask her to add her ads you can recognize to her blog.

Thanks again for the wonderful post!


Ayshwarya said...

Hey I have been asking many people about this sunrise ad with suchitra krishnamoorthy and no one seemed to remember... Glad I found one person who does :) .. do you have a link to that one?

Ravi said...

Hi Ayshwarya, thanks for the comment. Sorry, I don't remember seeing any link to this ad. Maybe you can try youtube. I think the same ad had different versions featuring the same actors.

Anonymous said...

Hey one more.. I remember sometime in 2000 around the month of february, there was a mega-movie by KBalachander that was about 6 hrs long... that was telecast on raj tv... the theme was a tamil girl falls in love with a punjabi girl... i dont remember the name of the movie.. i remember a song in it though.. "koppaiyile oru puyal" ...revathi shankar played the punjabi guy's mother.. do u remember this one??? I havent found some one who remembers this as well... jus thought shud check with you....

Ayshwarya said...

oops sorry the last one was from me...

Ayshwarya said...

the theme was a tamil girl falls in love with a punjabi GUY... sorry for that as well :)

Ravi said...

Ayshwarya, are you referring to a mega-'serial' by KB or a movie? There was a KB series called Kayalavu Manasu and also Jannal which had different stories, each story running for a week or so. I used to love all those KB series. But somehow I am not able to place this one. Let me check with my other friends who were also ardent fans of KB serials.

Anonymous said...

I would like to make a mention of 'Woodwards Gripe Water' ad with the old lady saying 'Woodwards Gripe Water kudu .nee kuzhandaiya irundha podu adhu daan kuduthen'..

Ravi said...

hey anon, thanks for coming by and sorry for a late response. Yes, the Woodwards Gripe water is a very special ad reckoned by many! I wonder how I missed it. Another blogger had also mentioned about it. Thanks!

King Vishy said...

omygosh.. i'm speechless.. I'm so glad i chanced upon this post!!

It's 3 AM and am jus back from some heavy dance practice.. was feelin really sleepy.. but somehow stumbled upon ur blog.. padikka padikka niruttha mudiyaama padichuttu iruken :)

awesome post.. like saravan had said before me, wat is great is that you have listed the rumours/other side info alongside.. that is what makes this post so endearing.. and ya, i too could hear those jingles as I read thru
the post :) thanks a lot!!! I always love thinkin of Doordarshan of the 90s, and this was one great chance for me..

A couple of other ads:
- A solidaire TV ad in which Prabhu Deva used to dance.. the ad used to come every Tuesday I think.. jus before an S Ve Sekhar drama would begin..
- Banishhhhhhhhh
- Take the world in your stride... Dinesh... (Sunil Gavaskar Ad)

Ravi said...

Hey Vishy,
Thanks for the nice words. I knew talking about ads would re-kindle fond memories for many - just as it does for me. Hope you also read one of the comments above from Radhika, who is the daughter of Mrs.Swarnalatha - the person who dubbed for "aapapppaaaa".

Vishy, sorry but I don't seem to remember the Solidaire ad featuring Prabhu Deva. Woodwards gripe water was another famous ad which I missed. Fortunately a few blogger friends had recollected this ad.

Thanks again Vishy and do keep coming (though I am not that regular in posting).

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