Nerolac advertising journey spanning decades has presented us with a palette of an iconic jingle, memorable campaigns and differentiated product offering. We cruise through the brand’s unforgettable saga
Think about painting your house, can you suddenly hear yourself humming – “Jab ghar ki raunak badani ho…deewaron ko jab sajana ho…Nerolac Nerolac?” The age old brand has been a part of our DNA; did you know they recently completed the 100 year milestone? This week we take a tour of the Nerolac Advertising Journey, diving into the vibrant marketing palette of the brand’s legacy.
When it all Began…
Gahagan Paints and Varnish was incorporated in 1920 in the bylanes of Bombay’s Lower Parel. In 1930, Lead Industries Group was established by a merger of three British companies and three years later it acquired a 100% stake in Gahagan Paints; the company was renamed Goodlass Wall (India).
It was in 1946 that the company received a private limited status and further developments led Goodlass Wall to be renamed Goodlass Nerolac Paints, which went public in 1957. After the acquisition, Goodlass Nerolac Paints became part of Tata Forbes Group.
In 1983, Goodlass Nerolac Paints entered into a collaboration with Kansai Paint Co. and Nihon Tokushu Toryo Co. of Japan. The company turned into a joint venture of the Tata Forbes and the Kansai Paint Co., with the latter acquiring a 36% stake in the company.
In 1999, Kansai Paint Company, Japan acquired the entire stake of the Tata Forbes group and thus Goodlass Nerolac Paints became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kansai Paint Company. Goodlass Nerolac Paints was rechristened to Kansai Nerolac Paints in 2006.
“Nerolac’s journey of nearly 100 years is mapped by many strategic initiatives and mileposts, helping us build and sustain our market leadership in the Indian Paint industry,” exclaims Anuj Jain, Executive Director, Kansai Nerolac Paints.
According to Jain, the brand is deeply entrenched in the socio-economic fabric of the country. KNPL caters to customers through products and services in decorative and industrial arena. Recent years have also seen the company moving into Auto Refinish.
Nerolac Advertising Journey
Curious Case of Mascot ‘Goody’
A few years after the name of the company was changed to Goodlass Nerolac Paints, Goody – the smiling little tiger – was launched as the company’s mascot in 1970. This was done because it was thought appropriate to include the brand name of their most successful product into the name. Goody played a memorable role in the Nerolac advertising journey.
The history behind Goody’s inception states that in the early ’60s, the competition in the paint industry was piling up with both domestic and international giants. The mounting pressure on Goodlass led it to explore the upcountry markets albeit a challenge – the five-syllable name of Goodlass Nerolac would not become familiar with a semi-urban dweller, even the hinterlands of India would find it difficult to get the name rolling.
The mascot was designed when Denis Ridley, Goodlass’s former sales manager was suggested that a symbol should be associated with the name by ‘Interpub’, their then advertising agency. It took a total of 18 months and several brainstorming sessions for Goody to finally take birth in 1970. It is reported that coincidentally, it was the time when the WWF initiated Project Tiger and had increased the public interest in the animal.
Subhash Tendle, a former creative artist from Ulka Advertising (now FCB Ulka) had designed Goody’s looks to suit the brand’s requirement and add a quirk quotient to it in 1972. 36 years later in 2006, the brand decided to bid adieu to the cute little tiger as a part of its corporate image makeover when the company changed its name to Kansai Nerolac.
It should be noted that Nerolac’s competitor Asian Paints too dropped down its mascot of 50 years ‘Gattu’ as part of its revamp strategy.
Phasing out of Goody from Nerolac advertising journey came with no replacement and was put across as a reflection of the changing times for the paint company to present a more mature image of the brand.
Making of Ghar Ki Raunak…the Historic Tune
‘Jab ghar ki raunak badani ho…deewaron ko jab sajana ho…Nerolac Nerolac. Rangon ki duniya me aao, rangeen sapne sajaoo..Nerolac Nerolacc”.
Back in the 90s, watching the commercial on Doordarshan evoked instant liveliness and happy vibes although the tune had a mellow sound. One of the most loved and recalled brand tunes in the history of Indian advertising, Nerolac’s ‘Ghar Ki Raunak’ won millions of hearts when it first hit the screens and radio sets.
The very first 30 second commercial marking the beginning of Nerolac advertising journey on TV, featuring the jingle showed three painters painting the walls of a house while humming to the tunes of Nerolac. The TVC ends with a splash of red with Goody in the frame.
It is rightly said that a jingle relays information about a company or product through music and lyrics and ‘Ghar Ki Raunak’ did the work for Nerolac. The recall value is so effective that the brand keeps reviving the jingle in various forms with contemporary touches. A few fan-made versions, remixes in the 90s, and also a funky edition of the jingle had been quite famous in those days.
In 2012, Nerolac partnered with Talenthouse India to launch a contest and invite people to recreate their version of the jingle and win prizes.
The crowdsourcing campaign was aimed at garnering the younger and environmentally conscious audience. It was also during this time that Nerolac introduced a whole range of health and environment-friendly paints.
Many experimental versions featuring it’s brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan during the festive season did good for the company – with a great combination of the eternally charming actor and the immortal jingle.
“One of the most valuable assets for brand Nerolac is its jingle,” asserts Kulvinder Ahluwalia, President- FCB Ulka Mumbai. “India is truly the land of song and music. The Nerolac jingle is outstanding evidence of this fact. The lyrics are etched in customer’s minds and on many occasions customers in focus groups and depth interviews, sing the entire jingle word for word.”
“The Nerolac jingle is outstanding evidence of this fact. It is perhaps the brand’s most valuable IP. First appearing in ads almost 4 decades ago, the Nerolac anthem has created a life of its own”
In 2018, Kansai Nerolac Paints with a badge of ‘Healthy Home Paints’ teamed up with music director Pritam’s musical platform JAM8 to roll out a rendition to the jingle as a song. Titled, ‘Ghar Ki Raunak’, it was the first time that the jingle had been recreated into a song.
It was sung in 8 regional languages: Hindi, Bangla, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada, as the brand deepened its connection across audiences. The coming-of-age composition embraced contemporary arrangements and beats while keeping the nostalgia intact.
The versions have been sung by Bollywood and regional cine artists Nakash Aziz, Jonita Gandhi (Hindi), Shalmali Kholgade (Marathi), Gayathri Ashokan (Malayalam), and Antara Mitra (Bengali). The song was released on various OTT platforms, radio channels, and social media.
Nerolac never veered away from the original tune and instead attempted to spin it around to tug the right chords with changing times.
Tale of Brand Ambassadors
Big B was an apple of every marketer’s eyes starting from the early 90s. Without wasting much time, Nerolac brought on board Amitabh Bachchan as the face of the brand in 2003 with a shift in its focus on the decorative segment. The objective was to reposition Nerolac as a larger than life brand that is omnipresent.
Nerolac underwent a revamp in 2006 when it also bid goodbye to mascot ‘Goody’ and changed its logo to ‘KN Nerolac’ in the shape of a flowing image representing the outlook of the company towards a bright future. As part of the makeover, the brand adorned a blue and red theme and also changed the company’s color boards, letterheads, office signages, and its website and product packaging too.
In 2010, Nerolac got its eyes on King Khan and roped him to spread the magic of his endearing persona in campaigns. It was with him that the jingle was revived in 2015 during the festive season.
Targeted at 28-45-year-olds, the new campaign was created by FCB Ulka, while the jingle was re-composed and sung by Amaal Malik.
The use of the jingle is typical with the corporate brand initiatives and was used in the festival campaign. “This was a campaign that Mr. Bharuka had himself taken a keen interest at that time. So, what began as a single ad for West Bengal for Durga Puja was pushed into thinking bigger and higher and this developed into a strategy to own key festivals and occasions where painting happens,” shares Ahluwalia.
Divulging further details on the making of the ‘festival series of commercials with Shah Rukh Khan, he says, “Again data was crunched and we identified key festivals and occasions such as marriage and just before childbirth. We were all highly charged and getting more inspired to think even bigger and began including more festivals and regions. Till suddenly before we knew it, we were tasked with shooting 8 films on one day with SRK.”
Even during the briefing with him, the creative team at FCB Ulka was wondering if such a thing would be possible to pull off. “But we needn’t have worried. With 8 sets constructed back to back SRK being the consummate actor that he is, slipped in and out of costumes and characters with infinite ease and performed each role with aplomb,” adds Ahluwalia.
Much like a seasoned professional, Shah Rukh Khan appeared in various other commercials for Nerolac’s variants with impeccable energy and persuading skills blending with age groups across.
From promoting its ‘Healthy Home Paint’ philosophy to guiding consumers about the specifications of its ‘No VOC, No Gadbad’ stance to actively marketing ‘Impressions’, SRK with his presence in the TV commercials for Nerolac took the brand value a notch higher and made it the second most loved and preferred paint company in India.
Over the course of time, actors like Konkana Sen Sharma, Boman Irani, and Mona Singh too featured in the ad campaigns for Nerolac’s Beauty Emulsions and many other variants.
The brand is also aggressively involved in environmental safety initiatives and has been promoting the ideology with the help of experts and brand ambassadors. Time and again it reiterated the significance of staying environmentally conscious and placed its products on similar lines.
In September 2018, powerhouse Ranveer Singh was brought on board by Nerolac as the next-gen brand ambassador with an aim to develop and foster its promise to celebrate the joy of beautifying one’s home and life.
The company had reported a marginal decline in its net profit to INR 139.84 crore for the quarter ended June 30 and to bounce back, the ‘Singh’ phenomenon was equipped with a twisting strategy.
Nerolac’s Tryst with Festivals
A paint brand stands synonymous with festivals. Nerolac, too, reflected the core philosophy of celebrating the joyous moments and moving on in life with bright smiles through its commercials for the festive season and occasions throughout the year.
Nerolac Shera Para Shera Pujo is an extension of Nerolac’s philosophy to to beautify the world around. With five editions in the last few years, it has made way into Bengal’s cultural heritage, its paras, and people. “We devised a way to add color and happiness into the lives of the people creatively, through a mural competition amidst hundreds of paras,” says Jain.
In addition to the big brand campaigns and national work, there is a lot of regional work that happens to build a local connect. One such initiative was for West Bengal where the brand created a Durga Maa Mural to mark Nerolac Shera Para Shera Pujo.
Ahluwalia comments, “This involved creating a huge mural covering the entire walls of the Peerless Inn, Kolkata. This involved our team staying in Kolkata for over 2 weeks to supervise the coming up and painting of the mural. Initiatives like this are vital to connecting to local audiences through what is important to them as part of their culture.”
The brand has been celebrating each and every festival with equal enthusiasm by weaving campaigns and harping on the festive fervor.
When asked about the most memorable campaigns, both Jain And Ahluwalia had the ‘Shalini Chopra’ TVC in common which was based on the insight that people are intrigued with the goings-on in their neighbors’ homes and want to follow similar choices.
Sharing some BTS, Ahluwalia states, “When it was shot everyone knew that there was a winner we had in our hands. But despite that, there was still a feeling that something was missing. Many ideas were tossed back and forth but it was when the magic of Om Puri’s voice came in, it made the film just perfect. The celebrity was heard but what was seen was the product.”
Made more than three decades ago the campaign is as fresh and relevant today as it was when it was made.
Further listing down a few others, for Jain the ‘Umbrella’ campaign too stands out. A larger than life umbrella used as a metaphor to represent the product promise of extreme weather protection for Nerloac’s exterior paint product received a lot of appreciation.
The launch of Excel Mica Marble is next on the list where the brand strongly communicated how combined Mica-Marble transforms exterior paints into a protective and aesthetically appealing shield for walls.
“Making our world #ashadebetter, utilized the luggage conveyer belt at the Terminal 1 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport by converting to a giant, moving shade card. It not only gave the passengers a break from otherwise boring airport surroundings but also allowed them to select their favorite color for their home or work,” adds Jain.
Low awareness of the fact that the household durables were painted by Nerolac was a challenge that folks at FCB Ulka identified. The bigger problem – how to connect this back with the paint on their walls? Hence was born the ‘Chamka’ idea.
He adds, “A brilliant crack on the fact that what looks good on your prized possessions will look equally resplendent on your walls. This campaign was made memorable with the brilliant portrayal of Ranveer as two very different characters who try to slip a fast one and is caught and told that it is actually Nerolac that is responsible for the care and look of the respective car and appliance.”
FCB Ulka and Nerolac partnership stood the test of time and epitomize the strength of long-standing client-agency bonds. “For any company 100 years is a legendary milestone. Nerolac is one of the rare brands that has been at the forefront of many initiatives in the industry which have helped propel its journey over the years. And for us at FCB Ulka, as their strategic and creative agency partners over many decades we have had a unique perspective on how the brand and indeed the category has evolved,” shares Ahluwalia.
Also interesting are the insights into how the customer interacts with the category. Ahluwalia says, “An interesting insight that we had stumbled upon especially in smaller towns, was that their design inspiration when they were thinking about painting their houses came from the homes of the soap operas that were running in primetime television as they desired to replicate the looks of their favorite characters home.”
Another interesting shift being played out in the category is the homeowner’s dynamic. He adds, “While in earlier times the wife’s role was largely about choosing the colors, in today’s times the wife plays a much more empowered role in the customer journey. Beginning virtually with triggering the purchase decision to carrying the family together to the eventual choices of colors and patterns,”
Though the inspiration around the homemaker and how she pushes the boundaries in an attempt to put her personal touch to her house has changed, what remains constant is the immense pride that the homemaker takes in the décor and appearance of her house.
Complementing the Nerolac advertising journey has been its association with cricket leagues and championships over the years.
The brand’s new positioning “Colours that Care”, the philosophy to care for current and future generations leads the company to be innovative and come up with not mere products or services but rather solutions that are relevant and remarkable.
Speaking with customers and getting insights into the category has resulted in Nerolac innovating on many fronts. From being the first to launch lead-free paints to the more recent launch of Low VOC Paints, Nerolac advertising journey has been full of spreading hopes and positivity around.
Under the ‘Colors That Care’ philosophy, the brand rolled out a new campaign in September 2020. Titled, ‘Aaj Careful to Kal Colourful’ promoting the hashtag #ACKC, the campaign puts the new positioning in context of today’s times. A series of digital films have been released by the brand encouraging people to act responsibly as the world seeks to rebuild towards a sustainable and bright future.
Nerolac on Digital
While embracing the advent of digital technology, Nerolac has also kept in mind the power to democratize information using the digital mediums and so their website and newly launched app are available in 9 regional languages to aid consumer journeys.
Apart from the technological solutions within the digital spectrum, the brand has been active on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube where it can be seen posting creatives frequently.
From spinning topical posts to harping on moment marketing, Nerolac focuses equally on digital platforms to drive consumer engagement and rake in new ones as part of the Nerolac advertising journey.
While Instagram and Twitter are utilized for still creatives around product specifications and contests, topicals, and festive wishes, Facebook and YouTube’s strength is leveraged for video campaigns, amplifying the core message of Nerolac advertising journey.
While continuously trying to innovate the offerings, Nerolac has invested in building a strong brand asset. Be it the Nerolac jingle or their environmentally conscious stance – Nerolac Advertising Journey is a phenomenon in itself..