Iconic Ads: Nirma – Sabki Pasand

It was the ideal jingle for a laundry detergent. It didn’t have any subtlety to it. It was merely a rhyming jingle that sold the powder – a complete hard sell.

As per reports, ‘Sabki Pasand Nirma’ is one of the longest-running jingles of Indian advertising, even though the commercial has been tweaked time and again, keeping pace with the changing times.

A little girl in a frilly white dress twirling was on a pack of detergent – Nirma named after Karsanbhai Patel’s daughter, Nirupama, who died in a car accident.

In 1969, Patel, a lab technician at New Cotton Mills, Ahmedabad made an eco-friendly, phosphate-free detergent at home.Short on resources, he packed detergents into plastic bags & went door to door. While cycling to work, he sold visiting households. It was a big hit.

All other detergents were premium priced. By cutting production, marketing & distribution costs, Patel was able to sell Nirma at Rs 3/kg against Surf at Rs 14.

In the initial days, a woman washing clothes appeared on the packets but that was changed to a girl. The change worked with housewives, & the girl became the mascot.

Purnima was the advertising agency. The jingle was first aired on radio in 1975 and later debuted on television in 1982.

It was the ideal jingle for a laundry detergent and didn’t have any subtlety to it. It was merely a rhyming jingle that sold the powder – a complete hard sell. The music and words are both basic. While the majority of the early iterations of the commercial showed rather normal-looking people (rather than models), there were no “lifestyle” implications such as luxury vehicles or exotic destinations.

The detergent was positioned as peppy. The usual boring chore of washing was shown as fun, while the other brands showed housewives washing clothes in the bathroom. It showed a group of young men & women singing & dancing, cutting across cultures & strata.

Surprisingly, the commercial did not attempt to play the price aspect especially since it was the most important selling point. It never went into the territory of comparing itself to much more expensive items.

The commercial emphasized how excellent Nirma was by showing individuals enjoying washing clothes with it and the quantity of foam is produced. The foam was often regarded as a strong sign of a washing powder’s quality. The more foam there was, the cleaner your clothing was likely to be, especially back when water was hard instead of soft.
Nirma was not meant to be foamy but the advertising made it appear that way.

Because it was released during a time when black and white televisions were more common than colour televisions, it focused on brilliant white clothing, which would be more apparent on black and white screens.

Featured here is the commercial by Kailash Surendranath

For 15 years, Nirma insisted “Doodh si safedi Nirma se aaye, Rangeen kapda bhi khil khil jaye”

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