Brand Awareness and India

I think Indians always love good brands. They love the brand names such a way that they forget (or don’t ever try to know what the product is) the product name. They recognize the product by brand name. Let’s focus this interesting area of India!

surf print ad cricketSurf – a very old and popular brand in India. It’s considered to be one of the top brand among all detergents. And I have heard most people using the word ‘Surf’ to refer detergent. They don’t know or they never heard of the word ‘detergent’. Surf is a costly detergent, and there are many other brands which are cheaper – like Wheel, Nirma, Tide (mid budget) etc. Most of the people use these cheap detergents, but they call it ‘Surf’. You will go to a shop and ask “Give me a 500 gram Surf”, the shopkeeper will ask “Which Surf – Surf Excel or Ariel?”. The word ‘Surf’ is on the tongue of many people, but I don’t think Hindustan Unilever – the manufacturer of Surf get more advantage, however sometimes they get lucky and shopkeeper hands you over a Surf packet without asking any question. Here I will say “Daag Achche Hain..”.

Now after detergent let’s talk about soaps. Most of the people use Lux and Lifebuoy soap, I am not saying those are good soaps, but I see most people buying them. Those fall in bathing soap category. In detergent soap category Rin, Sunlight, OK are most selling items. But I have never seen anyone using these brand names for referring a bathing soap or detergent soap.

Now let’s talk about mosquito repellents. Most used mosquito repellents are coils, mats and liquid mosquito repellents. And some popular brands are Good Knight (People never read the name the same, and me too fall under that category, we call it as ‘Good Night’), Mortein, All Out (only liquid repellent). For mats ‘Good Knight’ is the default (most used) name and for liquid ‘All Out’ is the default (most used) name, it does not matter which brand you actually use.

Oops! I did not tell the default name for Coils. Well, this is bit interesting. Let’s switch on the time machine (I don’t believe time travel as shown in films and TV, I mean just recall those old days) and go to around 16 years back. Then mosquito repellents are very less used products in the market. People liked to use mosquito nets or burn dry cow dungs to get rid of mosquitoes. I remember, there were two mosquito coil brands – Tortoise and Rooster and one mosquito mat brand – Goog Knight available in market. And the famous punch line with some funny ads were on TV was “kachua jalao machhar bhagao”. This tag line is so popular that it even flows in some funny SMS. But I don’t see this product in market. In old days, mat machine was so costly that few people use Good Knight mats on light bulbs, lanterns etc. But after All Out introduced liquid mosquito repellent, the market for mats are down, but still available.

Here no one use the word ‘Mosquito Repellent’, all use a brand name of their own choice or practice. Here no brand name rules like ‘Surf’.

Detergents, Soaps, then I should go to Tooth Paste, but I went to Mosquito Repellents, the reason is that, here mosquitoes rule and my eye fell on All Out. Among all tooth pastes, Colgate is the most popular one and a big part of people use the word Colgate to refer any tooth paste. Other big part use the term ‘Paste’ to refer tooth paste and a very few say ‘Tooth Paste’.

Do you know any other brand, which lives on the tongue of people? Do you have any similar experience like this? Please share with us, we will be happy 🙂

Image credit: Fickr – mckaysavageIndia – Chennai – busy T. Nagar market 2


  1. Pingback: Surf,Lux,Good Knight… at Blogbharti

  2. Hi, I wanna share something about the brand…

    In our childhood days we use to ask for Reynolds instead of pen in book stores. I don’t know any other pen, than Reynolds that time. But even I started knowing of other pens, I just think of Reynolds only. In between Reynolds was gone down with regular student pen. But I think it came again. So, even today I trust Reynolds. It gives me a feel that its my kind of pen and I won’t be satisfied by other pens easily.

  3. hey…how about dalda…its the name of a popular brand of vanaspati…but today any brand of vanaspati is referred to as dalda…my wife simply asks me to get some dalda and i ask her what brand, then she tells me her preferred brand…

    how about xerox, which has become synonymous with photocopies…that is the biggest example of product branding…very few sophisticated people in india actually use the word photocopy…everybody else just say xerox…all shops who provide photocopies advertise as “xerox available here”…in fact, if they use the word “photocopies” 99% of their potential customer base will scratch their heads and wander off in search of another shop having a “xerox machine”.

    Fevicol is another brand which we liberally use in our day to day conversation, jokes etc and it is synonymous with a sticky, persistent, nagging quality which some people possess!!!

    • Thanks Mohan for reminding me about Dalda. I too use the word Dalda instead saying Vanaspati. But it did not came to my mind while writing this post.

      Similarly Xerox is another word, I have to use most of the time, otherwise no one understand what I mean.

      And I like the way you use the name Fevicol.

  4. Yes there are other brands most popular and are used in place of products..Xerox…Xerox is name of a photocopy achine and which is a brand name, but even now almost entire India use xerox word in place of photo copy! Similarly till 90’s DALDA brand name is used for Vanaspati Ghee. Simlarly Parashute is used for Hair Oil…these are all the classic examples of the Brand identity.

    Even now people use MIRCHI brand name for Radio FM whenever FM is talked about. this is the POWER of Brand Equity earned. and most of these popular brands were the PIONEER Brands of india in their category!

    Alok verma

    • I know people call photo copy as xerox, vanaspati as dalda, but never heard someone calling oil as parachute, parachute is a popular brand in India.

      Is Radio Mirchi so popular that, people call FM as Mirchi?

      • i havent heard of people saying oil as parachute and radio as mirchi upto my knowledge. sorry if it sounds offending someone 🙂

  5. Ya using xerox for Photocopy is very common. infact i have seen companies, institutes using this word……. instead of writing 2 photocopies of a document they write 2 xerox copies of xyz…in the print out for list of documents 🙂

    Good Knight is another brand

  6. for xerox it is a curse now as 90% of the people doesn’t know that it is a document company the simply think it is a process

  7. ya its true that now-a-days brands plays an important role it make us to forget what we want to actually buy….i too several times did same mistkes like bislery water instead of asking mineral water and xerox instead of asking photo copies

  8. Why do they call it kachua chaap??
    What does CHAAP mean?! O.o
    nd y.. to repel mosquitoes.. something be called KACHUA chaap???? O.o

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