Iconic Ads: Nerolac – Jab Ghar Ki Raunak

This commercial & the jingle is one of the most favourite advertising films of all time. The longevity is seen in multiple versions over time.

Till recently, Nerolac was FCB Ulka’s oldest client. In fact, the Goody Tiger logo (discontinued a few years back) was tweaked to suit the brand by Subhash Tendle, an art director at Ulka, to add a quirk quotient to it in 1972.

In the 1990s, the brief went to Ulka asking them to create communication for Nerolac decorative paints for homes, emphasising on the wide range of beautiful colours.

Asian Paints was the market leader and at that point they had a commercial with Jagjit Singh which was very good. Plus it was the time when consumers started wanting products with emotional stories which Asian Paints along with Ogilvy had done a great job of.

There was a strange skew in the market share of paints at that time. Asian Paints had 80% of the decorative market and the remaining 20% came from Industrial. Nerolac was just the opposite – 20% was from decorative and 80% industrial.

The margins were in the decorative segment and Asian Paints capitalised on that by releasing one successful campaign after another. Plus Asian Paints were also incentivizing the painters to recommend them. A great two pronged effort.

Obviously Nerolac had far smaller budgets compared to Asian Paints.

In what was a master stroke, Anil Kapoor (ex-Chairman Ulka) and Nitin Bhagwat (ex-Vice Chairman FCB) decided to focus on the painter. Feeling good as a result of the freshly painted home was credited to the painter. The painter became the hero!

Neena Varma was the creative director and she entrusted Subodh Poddar with the task.  Subodh Poddar, had just finished a successful commercial with Godrej Storwell taking the emotional route and he too felt that emotion was the way to go not some functional story.

 He was an art director who wrote. And a painter of the classical kind. He understood how good paintings which adorn the walls add so much to the home. Likewise, he knew the wall painters can add so much more to a customer’s home.

Subodh wrote the script and presented it. It was about the joy of painting which comes from the beauty and range of colours.

Min Aiyar directed the first set of films.

A childhood friend of Subodh, Vishwajeet was the music composer and the singer of the jingle. He was then struggling to get in to feature films as a singer. Subodh asked him to work on this jingle. It was simply because he did not have budgets for a big composer.

Vishwajeet used to sing for Kalyanji Anandji in their shows as a substitute for Kishore Kumar. After the Nerolac commercial was telecast, Vishwajeet became famous. He was then introduced as the Nerolac singer and the jingle was played at the beginning of all shows.

The most popular commercial was directed by Subodh himself, shot by Rajeev Jain and choreographed by Farah Khan. In this Jayesh Gandhi and Uday Benegal of Indus Creed adapted the music to give it a distinct flavour. It was sung by KK.

This is one of the most favourite television jingles in Indian advertising. Even though the tune/ tone was mellow, the film evoked immediate liveliness and happy vibes.

The commercial was so popular that after 4 years of its not running on air a research agency when tested the memorability it was still on the first 7th TVC that people remembered. This is one of the core brand assets that Nerolac owns in the consumer’s mind is the jingle.

The recall is so high that the brand kept reviving the jingle in various forms with contemporary touches.

Special thanks to Subodh Poddar for taking me through all of this and his invaluable inputs.

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  1. Such a lovely journey down memory lane. Nerolac paint commercials were indeed one of the most memorable and catchy amongst ads of those times mainly because of the beautiful jingle. The jingle remains so fresh that it could be used even today!

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