A trip down memory lane to view TV ads that are memorable, lovable, hummable – the top 10 best Indian TV ads dating back from the old days to the most recent ads. Ads that that stick with us over the years and why they became a part of our lives…

Great ads have been made for Indian TV over the years – these ads predated even the cable TV boom of the early 90’s. These ads were a slice of life; more particularly a slice of Indian life – they were funny, endearing and memorable. The ads told stories, made us think; some even made us shed a tear. They became a part of our respective realities.

Some were popular because of the catchy jingles, some because of the visuals, some simply because the ideas were so very good and we identified so well with the stories, the characters, the situations and their dilemmas. The fact that they also encouraged us to buy a product and made those brands a household name was really incidental. The ads still make us nostalgic; they still make us recall bits of our past that were perhaps the most precious – memories of places, people and events are inextricably linked to these ads. Here is a sample of some of the best Indian TV ads of all time:

This is the ad for Bajaj Scooters – yeh zameen yeh aasmaan – based on Raag Jayjaywanti, this is the quintessential Indian ad. The jingle/song, the little vignettes of Indian life really spoke to the viewer. The ad even stirred nationalistic fervor – Buland Bharat ki Buland tasveer went the lyrics. Anyone who watched TV in the 80’s and 90’s would remember this one verbatim. (I chose this over the Cadbury commercial kuchh khaas hai hum sabhi mein – an ad similar in terms of the slice of Indian life it presents. Quite simply the Bajaj ad has a better jingle).

This ad may be considered pedestrian and low-tech by today’s standards. However, it is included in this list for reasons of nostalgia – it’s a great song, it expresses the joy of being on the road, the carefree feeling of being astride a bike – it encapsulates much of what it meant to be a part of the aspirational middle class of the time.

Yeh Dil Maange More was the line penned by Anuja Chauhan in 1998 and became the catchphrase for a generation. The ad, peopled by the hottest stars of the time, is itself is not really brilliant. It is the phrase yeh dil mange more – which spoke the language of the time, and which went on to become a rallying battle slogan after it was used by Capt. Vikram Batra, before he was martyred in the 1999 Kargil War – that was truly memorable.

For a while Aamir Khan was the face of Coca Cola and this ad was all about the lovable Indian tapori and his drink. It was tough to decide between Aamir’s other Coke ad series Yaraa da tashan and the Thanda matlab Coca Cola series but the latter won out because I my view it is cuter, more unforgettable and simply sold the product better.

This is the iconic Channel V ad that made South India cool and made an entire generation unapologetic about being Indian, wearing Indian, sounding and speaking Indian.

What a super story this ad tells – in all of 60 seconds. Not only that, it speaks to our diverse cultural identities, our linguistic divisions and even our faith in reincarnation. The ad also has a selling point for the product – it strongly drives home the point of durability; the supposed USP of the product it plugs.

This Naukri.com ad spoke to every poor soul trapped in a job they hated or a boss they loathed. The ad held out hope to each individual who sought an alternative to the rut they found themselves in – quite simply it sold its product very well.

This ad for Camlin permanent markers is perhaps not as popular as several of the others on this list, but this is a terrific ad – born out of our ethos, speaking to the things that mean a lot to us, and ultimately raising an appreciative chuckle and a sigh of contentment.

This Airtel ad of course spoke to Generation Y which cannot seem to exist sans their gadgets and apps, but equally it spoke to an older demographic who recalled their college days, the mad friends and the crazy things everyone does at that carefree age.

I end with this recent ad that went viral within hours of being launched by Google. It tells the story of two old friends separated from each other by partition and then being reunited by the efforts of their grandchildren; and Google of course! It is difficult not to shed a tear when you watch this. Really.

By – Reena Daruwalla

Also see

40 Facts about Sholay You Probably Didn’t Know

Top ‘Inspired’ Hindi Film Songs

All Videos courtesy – YouTube


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