History of advertising in India?

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A sophisticated & professional industry called Indian Advertising

Indian Advertising starts with the hawkers calling out their wares right from the days when cities and markets first began
Shop front signages
From street side sellers to press ads
The first trademarks
Handbills distributed separately from the products

18th Century

Concrete advertising history begins with classified advertising
Ads appear for the first time in print in Hickey's Bengal Gazette. India's first newspaper (weekly).

Studios mark the beginning of advertising created in India (as opposed to imported from England) Studios set up for bold type, ornate fonts, more fancy, larger ads
Newspaper studios train the first generation of visualisers & illustrators
Major advertisers: Retailers like Spencer's, Army & Navy and Whiteaway & Laidlaw
Marketing promotions: Retailers' catalogues provided early example

Ads appear in newspapers in the form of lists of the latest merchandise from England

Patent medicines: The first brand as we know them today were a category of advertisers

Horlicks becomes the first 'malted milk' to be patented on 5th June 1883 (No. 278967).

The 1900s


- B Dattaram & Co claims to be the oldest existing Indian agency in
Girgaum in Bombay


- ITC (then Imperial Tobacco Co. Ltd.) launches Gold Flake


- Enter the first foreign owned ad agencies

- Gujarat Advertising and Indian Advertising set up

- Expatriate agencies emerge: Alliance Advertising, Tata Publicity

- LA Stronach's merges into today's Norvicson Advertising

- D J Keymer gives rise to Ogilvy & Mather and Clarion


- LR Swami & Co, Madras


- LA Stronach & Co (India) Pr. Ltd, Bombay starts

- Agency called National set up for American rather than British

- American importers hire Jagan Nath Jaini, then advertising manager
of Civil and Military Gazette, Lahore. National today is still run by
Jaini's family

- Beginning of multinational agencies

- J Walter Thompson (JWT) opened to service General Motors business


- BOMAS Ltd (Formerly DJ Keymer & Co Ltd) set up


- J Walter Thompson Co Pr. Ltd formed

Indian agencies, foreign advertising in the thirties


- National Advertising Service Pr. Ltd. Bombay set up

- Universal Publicity Co, Calcutta formed


- Venkatrao Sista opens Sista Advertising and Publicity Services as first
full service Indian agency


- Indian Publicity Bureau Pr Ltd, Calcutta established


- Krishna Publicity Co Pr. Ltd, Kanpur begins operations

- Studio Ratan Batra Pr. Ltd, Bombay established

- Indian Broadcasting Company becomes All India Radio (AIR)


- Jayendra Publicity, Kolhapur started


- Lever's advertising department launches Dalda - the first major
example of a brand and a marketing campaign specifically developed
for India

- The Press Syndicate Ltd, Bombay set up

Indianising advertisements in the forties


- Navanitlal & Co., Ahmedabad set up


- Lux signs Leela Chitnis as the first Indian film actress to endorse the

- Hindustan Thompson Associates (HTA), the current incarnation of
JWT, coins the Balanced Nourishment concept to make Horlicks
more relevant to India

- Green's Advertising Service Agents, Bombay formed


- Advertising & Sales Promotion Co (ASP), Calcutta established


- Dazzal, Bombay comes into existence

- Ranjit Sales & Publicity Pr. Ltd, Bombay started


- Efficient Publicities Pr. Ltd, Madras set up

- Tom & Bay (Advertising) Pr. Ltd., Poona begins operations in India


- Eastern Psychograph Pr. Ltd., Bombay set up

- Everest Advertising Pr. Ltd, Bombay established


- Grant Advertising Inc, Bombay formed

- Swami Advertising Bureau, Sholapur started


- RC Advertising Co, Bombay set up

- Phoenix Advertising Pr. Ltd, Calcutta formed

Corporate advertising in the fifties


- Radio Ceylon and Radio Goa become the media option


- Vicks VapoRub: a rub for colds, causes ripples with its entry
in the balm market


- Shantilal G Shah & Co, Bombay


- Advertising Club, Mumbai set up

- Express Advertising Agency, Bombay

- India Publicity Co. Pr. Ltd., Calcutta


- Aiyars Advertising & Marketing, Bombay

- Clarion Advertising Services Pr. Ltd, Calcutta


- Vividh Bharati kicks off


- Shree Advertising Agency, Bombay


- Associated Publicity, Cuttack

Creative revolution in the sixties


- Advertising Accessories, Trichur started

- Marketing Advertising Associates, Bombay set up


- Industrial Advertising Agency, Bombay comes into existence

- Bal Mundkur quits BOMAS to set up Ulka the same year


- India's television's first soap opera - Teesra Rasta enthralls


- BOMAS changes names to SH Benson's

- Stronach's absorbed into Norvicson

- Lintas heading for uncertainty

- Levers toying with giving its brands to other agencies

- Nargis Wadia sets up Interpub

- Wills Filter Tipped cigarettes launched and positioned as made for
each other, filter and tobacco match


- Kersey Katrak sets up Mass Communication and Marketing (MCM)


- Government persuaded to open up the broadcast media

- Ayaz Peerbhoy sets up Marketing and Advertising Associates (MAA)


- First commercial appears on Vividh Bharati


- Nari Hira sets up Creative Unit

- India wins the bid for the Asian Advertising Congress


- Sylvester daCunha left Stronach's to run ASP; later sets up
daCunha Associates


- Frank Simoes sets up Frank Simoes Associates

The problematic seventies


- National Readership Studies provided relevant data on
consumers' reading habits


- Concept of commercial programming accepted by All India Radio

- Hasan Rezavi gives the very first spot on Radio Ceylon


- Benson's undergo change in name to Ogilvy, Benson & Mather


- Western Outdoor Advertising Pvt Ltd (WOAPL) introduces first
closed circuit TV (CCT) in the country at the race course in


- RK Swamy/BBDO established


- MCM goes out of business

- Arun Nanda & Ajit Balakrishnan set up Rediffusion


- Ravi Gupta sets up Trikaya Grey


- Commercial Television initiated


- First television commercial seen


- Ogilvy, Benson & Mather's name changes to Ogilvy & Mather

Glued to the television in the eighties


- Mudra Communications Ltd set up

- King-sized Virginia filter cigarette enters market with brand name
of 'Charms'


- Network, associate of UTV, pioneers cable television in India


- The biggest milestone in television was the Asiad '82 when
television turned to colour transmission

- Bombay Dyeing becomes the first colour TV ad

- 13th Asian Advertising Congress in New Delhi

- Media planning gets a boost


- Maggi Noodles launched to become an overnight success

- Canco Advertising Pvt. Ltd. founded

- Manohar Shyam Joshi's Hum Log makes commercial television
come alive

- Mudra sponsors first commercial telecast of a major sporting event
with the India-West Indies series


- Hum Log, Doordarshan's first soap opera in the colour era is

- Viewers still remember the sponsor (Vicco) of Yeh Jo Hai


- Mudra makes India's first telefilm, Janam


- 915 new brands of products and services appearing on the Indian


- Sananda is born on July 31. The Bengali magazine stupefies India
by selling 75,000 copies within three hours of appearing on the

- Mudra Communications creates India's first folk-history TV
serial Buniyaad. Shown on DD, it becomes the first of the
mega soaps

- Price quality positioning of Nirma detergent cakes boost sales


- AAAI's Premnarayan Award instituted


- Advertising Club Bombay begins a biennial seminar called
'Advertising that Works'

- Advertising & Marketing (A&M) magazine launched

Tech savvy in the nineties


- Marks the beginning of new medium Internet

- Agencies open new media shops; go virtual with websites and
Internet advertising

- Brand Equity (magazine) of The Economic Times is born


- First India-targetted satellite channel, Zee TV starts broadcast

- Close on the throes of the Gulf War enters STAR (Satellite
Transmission for Asia Region)


- Spectrum, publisher of A&M, constitutes its own award known as
'A&M Awards'

- Scribes and media planners credit The Bold And The Beautiful
serial on STAR Plus channel as a soap that started the cultural


- India's only advertising school, MICA (Mudra Institute of
Communications Ahmedabad), is born

- Tara on Zee TV becomes India's first female-centric soap


- Advertising Club of Bombay calls its awards as Abby

- Country's first brand consulting firm, SABRE (Strategic Advantage for
Brand Equity) begins operations


- The ad fraternity hits big time for the first time by bagging three
awards at the 43rd International Advertising Festival, Cannes

- Sun TV becomes the first regional TV channel to go live 24 hours
a day on all days of the week


- Media boom with the growth of cable and satellite; print medium
sees an increase in titles, especially in specialised areas

- Government turns towards professional advertising in the private
sector for its VDIS campaigns

- Army resorts to the services of private sector agencies

- Advertising on the Internet gains popularity

- Equitor Consulting becomes the only independent brand consultancy
company in the country

- Several exercises in changing corporate identity

- For the first time ever, Indians stand the chance of winning the $ 1-
million booty being offered by Gillette as part of its Football World
Cup promo 1998

- Events assume important role in marketing mix

- Rise of software TV producers banking on ad industry talent

- Reinventing of cinema -advertising through cinema begins


- Lintas becomes Ammirati Puri Lintas (APL)


- B2B site agencyfaqs.com launched on September 28, 1999

- The Advertising Club Bombay announces the AdWorks Trophy

In the new millennium


- Mudra launches magindia.com - India's first advertising and marketing

- Lintas merges with Lowe Group to become Lowe Lintas and Partners

- bigideasunlimited.com - a portal offering free and fee ideas for money
launched by Alyque Padamsee and Sam Mathews

- Game shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati become a rage; media buying
industry is bullish on KBC

- Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi marks the return of family-
oriented soap on TV

- French advertising major Publicis acquires Maadhyam


- Trikaya Grey becomes Grey Worldwide

- Bharti's Rs 2.75-crore corporate TV commercial, where a baby
girl is born in a football stadium, becomes the most expensive
campaign of the year


- Lowe Lintas & Partners rechristened Lowe Worldwide

- For the first time in the history of HTA, a new post of president is
created. Kamal Oberoi is appointed as the first president of HTA
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