Dadaji became the face of the brand because he was responsible for its success. He did not want to ride on a film star’s success.
For many years, housewives ground the spices and masalas at home. One of the pioneers of packaged, ready to use masalas was MDH – Mahashian Di Hatti.
Dharampal Gulati, the MD of the company, decided to advertise much before others thought about it. The objective was to build awareness for the brand and drive the authenticity of the masalas, quality and flavours, similar to the homemade ones.
In 1959, he started with printing his face on the packaging, and with time it became one of the most recognized faces in India (the packaging has remained the same with some small changes). MDH used point-of-purchase and store branding extensively.
In 1984, MDH started advertising on television with an ad that featured Neena Gupta and Shafi Inamdar. In one of the ads, Dharampal was also a part of it being welcomed by the couple!
Ever since, Dharampal aka Dadaji has featured in most advertising – press, outdoor or television.
Contrary to the trend of using celebrities, Dadaji became the ambassador/ mascot. Dadaji said, “People ask me why I don’t get Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan to promote my masalas. Why should I ride on their success to promote my brand? I am the man behind the success of my product, so shouldn’t I be promoting it?”
Interestingly, MDH did not hire an advertising agency, everything from creatives to packaging was done in house.
The line ‘Asli masale sach sach, MDH, MDH’ has become very famous too
Today, everyone knows with the moustached, spectacled figure in a red turban, coloured sherwani, and a pearl necklace.