Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles – A journey on Indian Advertising -

Picture this, a cricket field, last over, everyone on tenterhooks, a beautiful girl looking nervous bites into a chocolate bar, a handsome young man hits a six and ends up winning the game, making the girl jump the fence and dance madly running towards her embarrassed beau. If you were a child of the late 80’s or early 90’s, you would definitely remember the brilliant Cadbury Chocolate AD. God how many pubescent days I spent dreaming about dancing on a cricket pitch for an imaginary boyfriend, who would fall in love with me after seeing all the awkward dancing.




Do you remember the kid who runs away from home because everyone shouts at him, only to return home after being tempted by “Garama Garam Jalebis” cooked in Dhara Oil? I think it was the first Indian oil brand that used Tetra packs and man how special we felt every time my parents could afford a pack. Then there was that boy being chased by a huge Poori (flatbread) in the Sundrop Oil ad ‘the healthy oil for healthy people’? And of course who can forget the jingle for a Scooter that was a dream of every middle class Indian in the 80’s “Buland Bharat ki Buland tasveer, Hamara Bajaj, Hamara Bajaj’.


We grew up at a time when advertising in India was taking shape and so was the country. The only two mediums for brands to use to target potential customers was TV and Radio, and we were bombarded with ads between all our favorite episodes. And these ads not just shaped what the Indian consumer brought, but they also shaped our minds.


So even though I have no interest in the marketing world “Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles” by AD guru, Ambi Parameswaran was a book that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. The author has carefully detailed the steady growth of the Indian advertising and all the amazing work that goes behind creating some of the successful brand campaigns that have stayed with us even now when we have all become almost desensitized with the availability of numerous mediums and channels that carry out brand propaganda. The book is an incredible insight into the growth of the Indian consumer over a period of 50 years and the change in the mindset of the people for whom these ads were made.
You cannot help but feel an immense amount of respect for the brains of the ad men of that time who came up with jingles and tag lines that grew on the subconscious of a collective generation of Indian minds. I felt like a little girl who I used to be and the feelings and excitement that I felt every time a fabulous ad came on our small color TV, a million memories passing through my mind. I loved the book so much that after I had finished it, I spent 2 hours watching the same ads on youtube reminiscing the days when we were so innocent that we brought everything we saw on TV.