#IndependenceDaySpl: Ads Then and Now. You'll be shocked!


Indian advertising has a really illustrious history that dates back to 1905 when the country’s first ad agency was formed. However, there are hardly any resources on the web that claim to offer a sweeping look at this industry that is older than our nation itself!

This Independence day, take some time off to browse through these images to realize how far we’ve come since independence in terms of advertising. We promise you’ll be surprised.

Bon Voyage!

Image credit: Campaign India

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1954 - Innerwear

1954 - Innerwear
One of the MOST stark contrasts of product visualization can be seen in this genre. Back in 1954 one had to teach women about bras that don't 'twist and turn'. Now, they are a vehicle of liberalization, of being comfortable with one's body, and daring to bare it all.
Image credit: Amazon

1950 - Squashes & Syrups

1950 - Squashes & Syrups
That is an ad of Rex Squashes and Syrups from 1950. The image of a 'good housewife' was attached to serving chilled drinks to your guests. Come today, and notice the shift to the self - Akki would rather enjoy a glass of the flavored drink himself!
Image credit: Indiannewsandtimes

1950 - Popular Beverages

1950 - Popular Beverages
Nothing explains the democratization of Cola better than this pair of images. Parle was the first Indian company to launch cola, and not everyone could afford a bottle everyday. That ad was created by none other than RK Laxman himself!
Image credit: Studentshangout

1950 - Accessories

1950 - Accessories
Notice how the price of the product justified it's premium price. Sure if you want a 'Gold Rolled' watch you'll have to pay premium, mate. Today, Katrina Kaif is synonymous to luxury. You don't expect that watch for a couple of hundred bucks!
Image credit: Pinkvilla

1950 - Men's Products

1950 - Men's Products
Today's males are not so much interested 'to shave and save'. They care more about being called the 'Alpha Male' - sleek, macho, and smooth, much like Mr. Rampal here! This is also revealing of the changing self image of Indian men, and that reflects in our advertising.
Image credit: Old Indian Ads

1947 - Tea/Coffee

1947 - Tea/Coffee
This one is obvious. Today when you think of tea/coffee, it's not particularly emblematic of your support for the freedom movement! You drink it because you like it. Its a perfect conversation starter, ice-breaker or to just have fun with friends or family.
Image credit: afaqs

1943 - Contraceptive Pills

1943 - Contraceptive Pills
Notice how the ads have changed from what might seem a 'medicine' to more of a 'lifestyle' product. Today's ads explain the scenario when such a product may come handy so that customers can better relate to their own lives. That serves to edge out the taboo and make women more comfortable when they think of using these.
Image credit: YouTube

1941 - Body Soap

1941 - Body Soap
Leela Chitnis was the first Indian woman to appear in a Lux ad. More than half a decade later, the focus on beauty and promise of a 'lovely smell' and 'smoother skin' remain the same.
Image credit: Instabollywood

1935 - Indian Tourism

1935 - Indian Tourism
Setting aside the vivacity of colors and the common focus of what makes India what it is, notice how constant tourism ads have been to highlight India's tourist attractions.
Image credit: Webneel

1930 - Ahem Ahem!

1930 - Ahem Ahem!
The interesting thing here is the way the ads are presented. Back in 1930 one had to explain to prospective customers how these 'Rubber Protectors' would help make their lives better. Now they know. Just tell them to #DoTheRex!
Image credit: Old Indian Ads

1929 - Yeah, that’s our ‘masoom’ Pears!

1929 - Yeah, that’s our ‘masoom’ Pears!
Notice how a brand has hung onto its core for almost a Century!
Image credit: Riseintlgroup

1922 - Soap

1922 - Soap
To those who are feeling scandalized, no, it's not morphed. That is Rabindranath Tagore, one of India's most gifted poets as the face of Godrej No 1 soap. Think of it, they got a Noble prize winner as a brand ambassador! It's a pretty good deal.
Image credit: Youtube

1920 - Home Furnishing

1920 - Home Furnishing
To those who might know, that was once dominated the clothing industry. Notice the paradox of the picture of Ganesh with a stamp that looks like the Imperial Seal and a name that is definitely not so 'desi'.
Image credit: Fundoosale

1903 - Indian Hospitality

1903 - Indian Hospitality

In the late 19th century Jamsedji Tata was refused entry into Mumbai’s posh hotels because he was an 'Indian', and he decided to build a grander hotel for Indians. It was called the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and was inaugurated on 1st December, 1903. It was touted as a 5 Star Indian hotel meant for Indians by an Indian. What more this was all available at a 'Moderate Charge' - Rs. 6. We are serious.

Image credit: YouTube

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