In India

products that have become household names in India

My maid who had gone out earlier to buy an antiseptic liquid , came in announcing that she had bought Dettol and actually held up a bottle of Betadine.  It reminded me of the campaign that Xerox took out a few years ago – ” a xerox doesn’t xerox”. A brief background on a few products that we have used over a generation or more.


Bata – Growing up I assumed like most other Indians that Bata like tata was another parsee family owned business. Many years later learnt that wasn’t true. I was quite shocked to learn that bata was not an indian company nor an indian family surname but the T.&A. Bat’a shoe company was founded in 1894 in the Czech Republic by Tomas Bat’a. It’s not pronunced as bata but baca.

The bata shoe organisation is a global family owned business, manufacturing and retailing in footwear and fashion accessory with headquarters currently based in Switzerland. They retail in 60 countries around the world. Bata India was started in 1931 as the bata shoe company and the name changed in 1973.


founders of the bata shoe company

The Bata shoe organization is a global family owned, footwear and fashion accessory manufacturing and retail company with headquarters currently based in Switzerland. They retail in 60 countries around the world. Bata India was started in 1931 as the bata shoe company and the name changed in 1973. The Bata Shoe Museum set up in Toronto, Canada by Sonja Bata houses the largest  and most comprehensive collection of shoes.


a display at the bata shoe museum

Dettol The brand first started in hospitals 80 years ago, where Dettol Antiseptic Liquid was first used for the cleaning and disinfection of skin during surgical procedures. As a trusted brand by doctors, Dettol was also used to protect mothers from illness after childbirth.


Dettol was launched in India in 1933. Even today, the brand continues to be one of the most trusted protectors of health ranking among the top 10 Most Trusted Brands.

Dabur Chyawanprash is a jam-like cooked mixture of honey, spices, berries, herbs and various oils based on a formula documented in the 2000 year old Charak Samhita, the ancient Ayurvedic treatise written by sage Charak. Its antioxidant properties neutralize free radicals that cause cell decay and aging. This helps protects the body from common diseases and delays the process of aging.


a poster ad from the 70’s for dabur chyawanprash

In the 1940’s Dabur adopted the original Ayurvedic formula and created the largest selling branded Chyawanprash in India.


Pears soap – Their advertisement of a mother and child is quite well known and as a child I use to love playing with the bar of soap in my bath. You can look through the translucent soap and pretend it was glass. It was first produced and sold in 1807 at Oxford street, London. It was the world’s first mass-market transparent soap. Pears soap is now made in India by Hindustan Unilever.


bubbles by john everett millais

Bubbles, originally titled A Child’s World, is a painting by Sir John Everett Millais that became famous when it was used over many generations in advertisements for Pears soap and it remains their most well known campaign. During Millais’s lifetime it led to widespread debate about the relationship between art and advertising.

Xerox – A brand of machines to photocopy has used “trademark awareness” advertisements to prevent the brand from becoming a generic noun or verb, including such statements as “You can’t make a Xerox.” However, it is used in India as a generic word for ‘photocopy’. It was started in India in 1983 originally as Modi Xerox and then xerox india, it is the Indian subsidiary of Xerox Corporation, the American printer, photocopier, document supplies, technology & services company.


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