Iconic Ads: Vicco Turmeric Nahi Cosmetic

The commercial highlighted the Ayurveda aspect and also showed a blend of modernity and tradition.

Vicco turmeric cream was aimed at young Indian women.

Haldi is an essential part of wedding festivities in North India. This association with the ceremony helped Vicco be branded not as a cosmetic, but as natural alternative product based on Ayurveda.

Vicco Turmeric, synonymous with yellow and the aroma of sandalwood, was a success.

Customers were worried that turmeric could leave a yellow colour on their faces. Special efforts were made to send salesmen with mirrors to apply the cream to the merchant’s face and remove any doubts.

Producer SS Oberoi conceptualized the commercial and was involved from production to broadcast. He only had the product and brief information on its attributes to help in the creative.

Advertising was different for two reasons. First of all, it put across to buyers, that it is better to use a product that is centuries old because it uses natural ingredients. Second, it shows a perfect blend of traditional values and modernity.

Oberoi was assisted by his wife Sunanda and scriptwriter Vinod Sharma. The commercial had Sangeeta Bijlani before she began her acting career. And Bijlani made such an impression that when she finally moved into the film industry, she was easily recognised as the one with shapely legs. She radiated innocence and shyness while glowing with the joy of marital happiness. She did add glamour to the commercial.

In the early ’80s, there was only Doordarshan. And Vicco Turmeric’s commercial, which aired before the popular comedy show Yehi Hai Zindagi, produced by SS Oberoi himself, was long remembered by viewers.

The photos after the wedding, some of them taken outdoors, showed the modernity of society, with the couple, who got to know each other in different locations. Then the product appears with Bijlani, formerly Banno, using it. The combination of tradition and modernity was done to appeal to the target audience who were largely traditional but modern in their thinking.

The last shot showing the husband using the cream was important, as it was an indirect affirmation of the product by men, as then, skin creams and men did not go together.


Vicco initiated the idea of sponsoring TV shows – a sneaky tactic that brought local brands publicity. The brand was also one of the first to advertise on videotape. A new step in a time when films were watched on videocassettes and widely distributed internationally.

Excise and Nomenclature

In 1978, the Excise Department stated that Vicco Vajradanti and Turmeric Cream could not be classified as Ayurvedic medicines. Though it was claimed by the company, it was a cosmetic. Hence the line stating Nahi Cosmetic.

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