Iconic Ads: Hajmola – Masterji

This simplicity of the idea, the humour & naughtiness of the kids & the Masterji’s involvement resulted in an iconic advertisement.

Ayurvedic or traditional Indian OTC medicines have been the focus of Dabur for more than a century and a half. Dr SK Burman mass-produced ayurvedic medicines that could be purchased without a prescription back when people couldn’t afford healthcare or medications.

Reformulated from an Ayurvedic digestive churna called ‘Kshuddha Bardak Churna,’ Hajmola was officially launched in 1978 and marketed under the same name ever since. By simply repeating its tagline for years, it highlighted its basic premise of “fun, taste and digestion,” as well as the benefits it provided (tastes good, provides instant relief). The popular phrase “Hajma ki Goli” inspired the name of Hajmola. Dabur became the first company to market and distribute branded digestive tablets.

The then Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev appeared in an 80s Hajmola commercial in which he discussed the sport and revealed “Ye Baat Kuch Hajam Nahi Hui.” The intention was to establish Hajmola as the preference for digestive issues by using a celebrity.

However, it was another simple campaign in 1989 that propelled Hajmola to the top of the charts in terms of popularity.

The brief was simple – create awareness for both the product and the brand.  There were still several churanwallahs selling them on the street, especially near schools. It was Dabur’s goal for the creative was to portray some of the naughtiness that youngsters have, while also having a teacher’s involvement in the brand relationship. The goal was to leverage the strict environment of boarding schools to provide a playful spin to the whole notion.

At the time, Ulka was in charge of the account, and it was Bal Mundkur who came up with the idea. Girish Ghanekar wrote the script and directed the film which starred his two kids Dhruv and Joy along with their uncle Arun Pange as Masterji.

The commercial included images of boarding school students battling over the Hajmola bottle in the middle of the night. All the boys run for cover as soon as they hear Masterji’s footsteps entering the room. One pill is consumed by the youngster who obtains Hajmola, and another younger boy (hidden under the bed) requests that he be given one as well.

Masterji grabs the youngster as he rolls the bottle under the bed, and the boy exclaims, “Hajmola Sir!” innocently. The little lads in the commercial convey an air of mischief and innocence.

Aside from helping to improve sales, the ad’s fun and appealing tone also served to increase the saliency of the brand. A significant increase in Hajmola sales followed the campaign’s launch and spread awareness of the brand.

Dabur was one of the first companies to advertise on Doordarshan in those days when Doordarshan was the only broadcaster. 

As a result of the Hajmola commercial, many other companies turned to incorporating humour in their TV commercials.

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