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Our most-loved advertising icons

Last updated on: June 24, 2011 13:12 IST

Our most-loved advertising icons

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Meghana Biwalkar in Mumbai

We love them and sometimes we can't get enough of them. They are the characters that personify a brand, lend an image to the brand, and even give the brand a celebrity status.

To put it plainly, they are termed as advertising icons that helps the brand to break through the clutter.

For us, they are also entertainers. Here is a look at the most loved advertising icons starting from the more recent ZooZoos to the age-old Murphy Baby and also the globally popular Ronald McDonald.

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Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
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ZooZoos

They have 2 million followers on their official Facebook fan page! Well, it's not a big surprise. They are undoubtedly the most loved advertising icons.

These cute little white eggheads, who have become an international phenomenon, were first launched during the IPL Season 2 in 2009. And, they instantly gained stardom with their debut appearance.

What followed after that was Zoo Zoo mania with merchandise like T-shirts, mugs and toys. In fact, over the weeks, they became bigger than the product itself capturing a huge chunk of the market space.

Conceived by Rajiv Rao, national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather, the ads were shot by Prakash Varma and produced by Nirvana Films.

After two years, Vodafone has still retained the much-loved Zoo Zoo. They are now portraying the act of a 'Super Hero', to mark the beginning of Vodafone 3G launch in India.

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Amul Baby

This chubby little girl, usually dressed in polka-dotted frock has found a place for herself in the Guinness Book of Records for featuring in Amul's longest running advertisement.

Her success story starts way back in 1967. Since then, her sharp wit, timely sense of humour and her unique style to add a light tone to current affair and politics has been a subject of fascination. Week after week, she has managed to entertain us and bring smiles to millions.

Sylvester daCunha and Eustace Fernandes were behind the Amul girl, who is a true traffic-stopper.

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Hutch Pug

If one thing has been constant with Orange, Hutch and Vodafone, it's the pug. Introduced in 2003, the pug is still a part of the company's communication and marketing strategy.

Going back, the pug was first associated with Hutch. (then it was Orange in Mumbai).

The 'boy and pug' campaigns were simple and clear. This combined with some good music have made them the most loved commercials on television today.

The idea behind the pug was to promote good network with 'Wherever you go, our network follows'.

But, it was so widely accepted that the pug became synonyms with the brand. Subsequently, it was featured in other Hutch/Vodafone commercials to promote various products and services.

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Asian Paints' Gattu

Remember the boy who appeared on every Asian paints commercials and on their the paint tins? Yes, that's Gattu.

Designed by the distinguished cartoonist, RK Laxman in 1954, Gattu was the mascot for Asian Paints.

This impish boy with a paint tin and brush is the one of the most popular and easily recognised mascots. He was also a hit with people. In fact, he got his name through a contest, where people were asked to name this boy.

Now, that's a thing in the past. In early 2000, Nerolac Paints went in for a makeover with with new packaging, a contemporary logo and corporate colours. That's when they also said goodbye to their most-loved mascot.

But, keeping the popularity in mind, the company managed to maintain an inch-high mnemonic on the back and lids of the paint tins.

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Fido Dido

This clumsy, yet a very successful character was born out of an illustration - as a sketch on a cocktail napkin, to be precise.

In 1985, Susan Rose - the co-creator of Fido Dido - first sketched him in a bar. Later, Fido was put on T-shirts with special messages. And in 1988, Fido Dido was licensed by PepsiCo for its brand 7-Up.

In India, Fido was first introduced as a 7UP mascot in 1990, and it was brought back in 2003.

Here's some more trivia on this cool character, who is known to take the world in his stride.

Do know how many lines it takes to draw a perfect Fido Dido? Just 15 lines: a triangular head with features as uncomplicated as a snowman's and eight locks of curly, stand-up hair.

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Nerolac's Tiger Goody

In 1972, Ulka Advertising's artist Subhash Tendle gave Goody its ever-so friendly and colourful looks.

Goody was introduced by Goodlass Nerolac (now Kansai Nerolac) around the same time the tiger replaced lion as India's national animal.

However, after 36 long years, Nerolac decided to bid adieu to its lovable mascot in 2003, as part of its corporate image makeover.

But, when Goody was part of Nerolac it gave the brand the much-need recognition and the ability to break the clutter.

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Murphy Baby

Do you recall the black and white photograph of this really cute, chubby kid in print advertisements? Well, the baby was the advertising mascot for Indian radio brand, Murphy.

Though, the brand doesn't exist anymore, people still recall the baby, and it was considered as one of the first popular brand icons.

Introduced in the 1960s, the Murphy baby is an integral part of Indian advertising.

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Onida's Devil

In the monotonous near-beige world of Indian advertising in the 1980s, Onida's devil with his longs fingernails and his scornful smile became a hit with the audience with his "Neighbours' envy, owner pride" line.

Then, Onida's agency, Avenue took the bold step of showcasing a negative character and using it as a selling point. The Result? It worked beautifully for Onida - so much so that some commercials were passed without using the Onida logo.

The devil was created by Gopi Kukde of Avenues. The character was played by David Whitbread, a model coordinator, for 14 years.

He was then replaced by actors Rajiv Khera and Ashish Choudhary, before Ondia said goodbye to the devil.

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Air India's Maharajah

Maharajah is probably the longest living ad icon in India. He has been with the brand through all its highs and lows.

This familiar figure made his first appearance in 1946. Bobby Kooka as Air India's commercial director and Umesh Rao, an artist with J Walter Thompson, together created the Maharajah.

From then on, the Maharajah is known as the rich Indian potentate, who symbolises graciousness and high living.

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Lijjat Papad's Bunny

This Bugs Bunny look alike was created by renowned ventriloquist Ramdas Padhye in the 1980s.

Since then, the puppet has been the face of Lijjat Papad.

In fact, the quintessential laugh - "ah-hey, ah-hey" - at the end of the commercial, was later known as bunny's signature laugh.

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Image: Ramdas with the Lijjat Papad bunny

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MRF's Muscle Man

MRF's Muscle Man represents strength and endurance. This representation is a result of market research amongst truck drivers, who were asked what qualities they would like to see in a tyre. Almost everyone who was interviewed flexed their muscles and said, "mazboot hona chahiye, takat chahiyye".

Thus, the 'MRF Muscle Man' was born.

It made its first appearance in the 1960s. Later in the 80 and 90s, the muscle man underwent some changes. But, the brand still retains the image of flexed muscles.

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Tony, the Kellogg's Tiger

Tony the Tiger is the advertising mascot for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. He is the most popular breakfast cereal icon and was introduced in the 1950s.

He is characterised by his deep bass voice and popular catchphrase "They're Grrrrreat!".

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The Michelin Man

The Michelin Man is the symbol of what is now the world's leading tyre company by market share. The Michelin Man has been promoting tyres since 1898.

His official name is Bibendum. But, before he adorned his cute and adorable looks, Michelin Man was anything but cuddly in his earliest incarnations.

He had a mummy-like look then, and sometimes appeared as a gladiator or a kickboxer.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Ronald McDonald

Ronald McDonald the popular mascot of McDonalds is as huge as the brand. His contagious smile is loved by people across all ages.

Ronald McDonald first appeared in 1963. Today, he is part of every communication and every product.

The company has extended Ronald's role even to its corporate social responsibility activities through Ronald charity houses. It has just opened its 300th house.

It also gives away Ronald McDonald scholarships and conducts sporting events under the Ronald name.

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Colonel Sanders of KFC

Harland David Colonel Sanders, an American entrepreneur who founded KFC has become immortal with the brand.

His image remains iconic in KFC promotions, and a foundation he established in his later years aids charities and funds scholarships with over a million dollars in grants a year.

It's probably the first time when the founder is flaunted as a brand icon.



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