[Editor’s Note] Brand Saga: The story of stories that made Indian brands ageless…

Brand Saga

We have been capturing brand advertising journeys, every Thursday since over a year now & thought its time you know, why we did it. So, here’s presenting the saga behind Brand Saga.

Did you know that the foundation of Society Tea was laid back in 1924 in the narrow bylanes of Masjid Bunder’s Chai Galli, by a trader named Hiravan Pranjivandas. This time going against the norms was Atul H Shah, who refused to adopt the usual Red & Green packaging associated with chai and went for a bold shade of Blue, which became the brand’s identity in every sense. A story we wouldn’t have known in this detail if it weren’t for our long-running property, Brand Saga. 

More of an ode to the Indian advertising industry, this note, and the entire Brand Saga series, is focussed on collating, through multiple sources, the advertising journey of brands & ads that have shaped us. Of capturing the story behind chaar boondo wala ujala and Humara Bajaj and also the story behind how these brands came into being. Brand Saga isn’t about one campaign or one story, it is rather the narration of the complete advertising Saga. It is our attempt to be the one-stop destination for a given brand’s story, facts and anecdotes included, making it a wholesome piece where storytelling meets facts.  

When we started Brand Saga over a year ago, we had no intention of making it a regular property. A few weeks in, we weren’t even sure if the long reads were justified to our readers. A brand’s entire advertising journey, encapsulated from start to finish, makes for a long-winded piece & here we are living in an era of a goldfish’s attention span and whatnot. But it became a weekly ritual, to the point that Thursdays in Social Samosa started being called as ‘Brand Saga day.’

In hindsight, what kept us going, even before the reader appreciation & industry comments coming in, was our own learning as a team. For instance, did you know Raymond’s ‘Complete Man’ was created in an era where ‘Angry Young Man’ was the only image that worked? That in a time of gabru jawaan’ and ‘Mard ko dard nahin hota’ the Complete Man was a risk that paid off? And this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

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Every Brand Saga to have been written, edited, and published holds many, many such stories. One of my favorites – it was the year 2002, Northern India was gripped by a massive outbreak of Polio. In spite of the long-running government campaign, polio immunization booths were lying empty. The country was in dire need of a solution. Who could convince the masses to step out & immunize their kids to this dreaded disease? 

Like now, 18 years ago too, the answer was the same – Amitabh Bachchan. The man who convinced Indians that Cadbury was safe for consumption, that Pepsi did not have pesticides. This time he would be roped in the pass on a much more important message. The only difference, he wouldn’t be talking, but scolding the viewers. Scolding as a disappointed father, worried about his children. One of the most successful PSA campaigns in India was created post a brainstorming session between Ogilvy’s Piyush Pandey and Ajay Ghalaut. 

These, and countless more stories and anecdotes from the true intent of creating Brand Saga – retelling the untold tales, all under one roof. Brand Saga recaps brands’ journey, one campaign at a time. 

With a bank of over 65 Brand Sagas, we have attempted to recount the advertising journey of illustrious brands such as Maggi, Surf Excel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Asian Paints, Rasna, Bisleri, Raymond, Titan, Cadbury, Kissan, Bajaj Motors, and many, truly many more. Some of which, you can read below…

Surf Excel: The brand that celebrated stains

It has been truly remarkable to learn the evolution and milestones of the Indian advertising industry. We hope your experience with Brand Saga has been just as fruitful as ours. And as you binge read through volumes of Indian advertising history, feel free to suggest a few brands who’s Saga you would like to read. 


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