Brand Saga: Paperboat and nostalgia-driven marketing in the digital era

Paperboat advertising journey

Impactful storytelling, impeccable visuals, on-point narration – packaged together form the base of a Paperboat ad film. Evoking several memories through time, the Paperboat advertising journey has been one of a kind.

Amidst heavy domination from Colas of the world, Hector Beverages helmed by Neeraj Kakkar, Neeraj Biyani, Suhas Misra, and James Nuttall went on to introduce Paper Boat – a fruit pulp based beverage brand gearing to focus on the ethnic drinks segment in August 2013. Taking a walk down the memory lane, we revisit the Paperboat advertising journey that has been a primary driver of the brand’s prominent place in the market, achieved in a short span of time.

Paperboat Advertising Journey

It’s not every day we see brands testing waters with direct-to-consumer advertising through digital, at least not back when the drink was first launched. The Paperboat advertising journey had a digital start, almost breaking traditional marketing norms and adapting to the world of online storytelling.

Since the start, the product was never the hero of Paperboat’s campaigns but the story, memories, and characters, and the concept grabbed the limelight. The campaigns had the potential to take us back into our childhood days and reminisce the golden moments, the innocence that we donned, and the life we crave for.

Starting with two variants – aam pannaa and jaljeera – the product was aimed at bringing back traditional drinks of India albeit with a contemporary twist. What made Paper Boat also stand out is its packaging. The new-age brand joined hands with Elephant Design for product packaging and the agency also played an important role in its naming ceremony.

For Paper Boat, digital was the priority and it kicked off by creating illustrations on Facebook depicting childhood memories.

In an earlier interaction with Social Samosa, Neeraj Kakkar, Co-Founder, Hector Beverages mentioned that on Instagram, the brand indulges itself with creative liberties. “We have an in-house team who work with exclusive partners to create stories. The design language takes a front seat when it comes to this visual medium. Innocence forms the base of almost all our communication.”


While the brand was slowly but steadily reaching heights, two of its co-founders, Misra and Nuttall quit in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Kakkar and Biyani helmed the company since and it started using traditional advertising mediums.

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Whether it be Maa teaching her kid how to peel an anar or her cutting kairis to prep up for fresh aam panna the ‘chatpati yaadein’ were supported with an apt traditional music score.

After building a strong presence in the North, Paper Boat moved its focus to the south while promoting its Aamras and Chilli Guauva variants, rolling out TVCs in Tamil, Telegu along with Hindi- from defining bachpan wali dosti

From sticking chewing gum under a school desk to pulling pranks on our mates – childhood antics were all captured beautifully in this almost 3-minute ad film conceptualized by Fisheye Creative Services.

Whether it be a young adult realizing his father’s struggles in raising him to make children’s day extra special by keeping the child in everyone alive, these ad films are worth watching again and again. Their animated campaign, Rizwan was a particularly tantalizing one – depicting the story of a now old Rizwan who is visually disabled but grew up listening to his mother’s stories and thus seeing a world of his own.

‘Forget the Brand’ – not very often clients brief their agency with such a line. but, Paper Boat did just that. And thus was born a Saga to be remembered.

Read the detailed Saga here.


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