Mascots that Redefined Indian Advertising

Maharaja – Created by the then commercial Director of Air India, Bobby Kooka and an artist Umesh Rao, Maharajah with its head bowed welcomed passengers aboard the Air India flights. The company’s mascot since 1946, it recently had a makeover in 2015 giving it a fresh, younger look and folded hands in ‘Namaste’.

Parle-G Girl – While the British brought cookies or biscuits to India, the market across the globe is now ruled by an Indian brand Parle-G. But what is synonymous to the brand is the girl child who is the face of the biscuit giant. The illustration as created by Everest creative Maganlal Daiya back in the 1960s and continues to adorn the wrapper till date.

Gattu – The Asian Paints Mascot, Gattu, was created in 1954 by none other than R K Laxman. With his unruly mop of hair, can of paint and a brush, Gattu was ever-ready to paint the world and saw Asian paints sales increase ten-fold in the same year. The mascot lost its place when the brand revamped itself but continues to be in folk memory.

Amul Girl – Created by Sylvester da Cunha and Eustace Fernandez in the year 1966 for Amul. This white frock with polka dots, blue hair in a half ponytail, round eyes and infectious smile illustration girl has been winning hearts for 52 years. Currently created by Rahul DaCunha, copywriter Manish Jhaveri and illustrator Jayant Rane, Amul’s topical ads deal with the latest newshappenings. Both the butter and the ads are guaranteeing a smile!

Nirma Girl – Created by Purnima Advertising Agency based out of Ahmedabad, the twirling girl in a sparkling white dress was actually based on the Founder of the company, Karsenbhai Patel’s daughter named Nirupama. The squeaky clean dress with a catchy jingle summed up what the brand Nirma was and was a hit during the 1980s.

Lijjat Rabbit – If you ask an Indian, what does papad or papadum sounds like, high chances are they will say ‘Karram Kurram’. The sound and the iconic Rabbit laughter described the Lijjat Papad brand when the advertisement hit the television screens in 1980. The muppet bunny and its family were voiced by ventriloquist Ramdas Padhye. The brand Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad which was already famous for its women power got a boost with this campaign.

The Devil – Onida’s caption “Neighbour’s Envy, Owner’s Pride” was well-supported by its iconic Devil. It’s not every day that people fall in love with a Devil, and Onida’s was just the one. Played by David Whitbread and advertisement shot by Gopi Kukde of Advertising Avenues, it debuted in 1982.                                                The mascot was dropped in 2009 but continues to have                                                     great brand recall value.

Bholu The Guard – When Indian Railways reached the 150 years mark on 16th April 2002, they celebrated the event by launching a mascot Bholu ‘The Elephant’ who flagged off a train at the Bangalore station. Since then Bholu has been described as a friendly, helpful, ethical, responsible, sincere and cheerful icon that reflects the stability and workforce strength of the railways.

Cheeka the Pug – When Hutch wanted to portray their network as a stable and unfailing, Mahesh V and Rajiv Rao at Ogilvy & Mather came up with Cheeka, a Pug for the advertising campaign in 2003. And pugs had their best days ahead. The ad campaign was hugely appreciated by people and Cheeka the pug’s wallpaper became the most downloaded one by Hutch customers.

ZooZoo – The Zoozoos made their debut in 2009 for Vodafone India. The concept was conceived by Rajiv Rao and shot by Bangalore based Nirvana Group. The goofy and cute creatures who were actually humans in body suits became an instant hit and took the nation by storm inspiring several merchandised items.

  • Sneha Sinha