Selling Repackaged Nostalgia to Indian Consumers


Sounds from the Malgudi Days pluck them from their seats, into a lesson by Gulzar. The lesson is about the days gone by, about how the past tasted, smelled, and how it felt. It arouses a thirst for those days. A thirst which can only be relieved with Paper Boat.

This is the magic of Paper Boat- the drink, and Paper Boat- the feeling. ‘They’ are the elders of millennials and to them, nostalgia surely tastes good!

Brands Sell Nostalgia
The commercials show a contrast between that and this life, and how Paper Boat connects the old with the new. Courtesy – YouTube Screen grab

This successful beverage- that accounts for majority of parent Hector Beverages’ business- entered the market in 2013. The company is run by former Coca Cola executives- Neeraj Kakkar and Neeraj Biyani. They have previously launched the Tzinga Energy Drink.

The philosophy often stated by both Neerajs as the reason for its success is “ Behind every successful drink, is a memory”.

They wanted to produce drinks that were practical, delicious and were getting lost in the fast-paced urban life; drinks which failed to match strides with commercial soda based drinks.

“Drinks and Memories” and “Life Still is Beautiful”- the two slogans subtly define the paperboat branding and promotional campaign. The marketers have successfully associated fond memories with these drinks of the past.

Sell Nostalgia
Paper Boat successfully promoted an animated short titled “Hope, the boat” last monsoon. Its online campaign regularly sees promotion of short videos centred on memories. Courtesy YouTube Screen grab

“Hope, the boat” last monsoon. Its online campaign regularly sees promotion of short videos centred on memories.

Nostalgia is nothing new in the marketing circle. It has been used recurrently by brands as diverse as Bajaj Electricals and Maggi Noodles.

The elderly man in the old commercial narrates how his childhood is connected to Bajaj Electricals. Courtesy

Phrases like “We Miss You Too ”, “ Maggi Mother ”, “ Welcome BackMaggi ”, were successfully used to relaunch Maggi after its crisis. Fortune Cooking Oil’s “Ghar Ka Khana ” is another example. Bajaj Electricals’ “jab main chota ladka tha… ” commercial, which tried to evoke nostalgia, has itself become part of childhood memories for many.

From the ‘Aam Panna’ and ‘Jaljeera’ from 2013, to ‘Kokum’ and ‘Jamun Kaala Khatta’, 12 flavours are currently offered. They are also working on a new drink called Kanji using purple carrots, which are being imported from Southern Turkey. The drink will be launched by this by this winter.

Paperboat’s success can be summarized in one word- Dedication. Dedication to authentic memories and pure flavours is why a space has been carved out in the densely populated packaged beverages market.

Image credits: The copyright for the images used in this article belong to their respective owners. Best known credits are given under the image. For changing the image credit or to get the image removed from Caleidoscope, please contact us.


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