Iconic Ads: Bajaj Bulbs – Jab Mein Chota Ladka

The main objectives of the film were to establish the history of the Bajaj and its strengths namely longevity, durability, superior quality and reliability

Advertising in the 80s was based on family situations and the product played a pivotal role. And it worked. The Bajaj bulb advertising used this by using nostalgia in fair measure. “Jab, mein Chotta Ladka Tha, Badi Shararat Karta Tha!”

This was a jingle that practically every kid knew. It encapsulated a man’s journey from childhood to his older years. A simple thought and able direction made this commercial memorable!

Naughtiness not defined by age!

The main objectives of the film were to establish the history of the Bajaj and its strengths namely longevity, durability, superior quality and reliability through the boy/grandfather as he knew Bajaj bulbs from his childhood.

For this commercial, the brand did not use a serious tone. A simple thought was given a humorous twist. This was more important as bulbs were boring and mundane and for a functional brand like Bajaj bulbs, it had always been a challenge to come up with anything interesting.

It was the humour that made it stand apart. And a bit of conventionality with the placement of the product in practically every frame.

The jingle was very hummable and became a hit!

To increase awareness of Bajaj Bulbs, now Bajaj archive specialist – Mukul Upadhyay who was then a senior executive at Bajaj Electricals decided that an advertising film was required.

He approached Ivor D’Souza of Heros Publicity. Both of them then shortlisted Siraj Ayesha ‘Pooh’ Sayani who ran Shunyata, the production house.

Pooh wanted to capture some endearing parts of childhood, especially the mischief and wanting to hide. This also led to various instances of naughtiness at various stages of life. The common factor was that light and Bajaj Bulbs, in particular, watched over this naughtiness.

Pooh had figured out the film and along with Imtiaz Hussain Mateen penned the now-famous jingle.

The cast included Om Shiv Puri, Malavika Tiwari and also Sarita Sethi (Doordarshan was the only channel and she was a newsreader there). Coincidentally the young/ old man was played by Pooh’s assistant Parvez Jamal.

When the finished film was shared at the annual meet, it met with a poor response till Upadhyaya muted the track to show how the story progressed. Then the audience could comprehend the film better and could fathom what the impact will be.

The original 37-second film aired on Doordarshan following which a shortened edit was screened to increase frequency. The films increased awareness levels of Bajaj Bulbs way beyond expectations.

And to this day, this commercial still resonates with the older generation and is in a way a parody of the old age lived by Indians then – if you had crossed 70, then it was time to quaff medicinal syrups & pills. And Bajaj bulbs watched you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.