Get All Access for $5/mo

Marketing Maverick: How Eureka Moments Helped Companies Script History Sometimes victories are not written in the stars but created by marketing geniuses. From Parle G conquering the southern region of India in the late 1990s to the inception of the blue Parachute oil plastic bottle, there is a story behind every successful business

By Shrabona Ghosh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

canva

A brand is often known by its logo or the tagline, but sometimes, history remembers it for a turnaround marketing strategy.

More than 20 years back, in the late 1990s, Parle G biscuits weaved legacy in the southern region of India by taking the iconic Shaktiman to Chennai.

"I took Shaktiman to Chennai and created chaos. Parle G biscuits had a challenge, their market share in the south had dropped. Pravin Kulkarni, the head of marketing called me and shared the problem," said Sanjay Mudnaney, in a LinkedIn post. He was then part of the marketing team of ParleG.

Shaktiman was a hero for every child. So, the company delivered its master stroke. "A stadium was booked and Shaktiman would meet children, promotions were done in schools and mass media. Entry was free, one needed to get two wrappers of Parle G biscuits."

Lakhs of visitors thronged in to see Shaktiman and the marketing magic happened. Soon, the sales of Parle G biscuits skyrocketed in the southern region.

This is not an isolated case. In the 1950s, the fortune of Asian Paints was written by its mascot: an elfish little boy with a mischievous smile and unruly hair. This creation was born out of celebrated cartoonist R.K. Laxman's imagination. However, this little boy was yet to be named.

Asian Paints then launched a contest inviting people to name the figure RK Laxman had created and the winner would get INR 500. Out of the 47,000 entries that were filed, two people from Bombay suggested the name Gattu. Soon, it became a household name and the company's sales manifold over the next few years.

In the 1950s, a toothpaste company was pressing hard to increase its sales and revenue. It called for an open competition to suggest something that could boost their sales. After several futile days, a man contacted the company appraising them of an idea which would yield an immediate 40 per cent increase in their business. He quoted $100,000 for the idea. After several weeks of dilly dallying the company agreed to take the bait. After the legal procedures were completed and the money was handed over, a small slip of paper was handed over to the firm, it read: Make the hole bigger. Previously, the toothpaste tubes had a small opening for squeezing out the paste, hence if the mouth could be widened the volume of paste squeezed out at one go would increase significantly, leading to faster exhaustion of the tube and there would be need to buy more.

Ever wonder how the blue Parachute coconut oil bottle came into existence? Coconut oil is a form of nostalgia – from reminiscing good old days to embracing adulthood – it is one of the most iconic household items. The journey behind the creation of one such quintessential item revolves around toil, labor, love and the zeal of an entrepreneur: Harsh Mariwala, founder and chairman, Marico.

Back then, coconut oil used to be sold in large tin cans, which were inconvenient for people to carry. The founder saw an opportunity and decided to innovate with the packaging and start selling coconut oil in plastic bottles instead of tin cans. However, it was easier said than done: Oils would leak out of these plastic bottles, rats would nibble them. Mariwala didn't give up, he instead designed a round-shaped higher quality plastic bottle that rats would have a harder time gripping.

In his quest to transform the entire coconut oil market from tin to plastic, he navigated through the difficulties. "There was a lot of resistance to plastics from the retailer. We had to design a bottle, which was difficult for the rats to get a grip and that's how we developed the round bottle. In spite of all the resistance, we were able to succeed and we had multiple innovations in the area of packaging which improved our market share from 10-15 per cent to 50 per cent," Harsh Mariwala told Entrepreneur India in a previous interview.

Shrabona Ghosh

Correspondent

A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
Business News

Want to Start a Business? Skip the MBA, Says Bestselling Author

Entrepreneur Josh Kaufman says that the average person with an idea can go from working a job to earning $10,000 a month running their own business — no MBA required.

Leadership

Your Definition of Leadership Is Outdated — Here's How to Be a Better Leader in the Modern Workplace

In my nearly thirty years as a leader, I've focused on setting a clear vision and empowering my team to achieve our goals. We prioritize establishing shared objectives while allowing for flexibility when needed.

Starting a Business

They Showed Up to Apple With a Product They Built in Their Dorm Room. Now These Entrepreneurs Are on the Way to Changing the Way Fans Watch Sports.

How Rahat Kulshreshtha and Gaurav Mehta launched Quidich Innovation Labs, technology that is literally changing the game of sports viewership.

Business News

How Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang Transformed a Graphics Card Company Into an AI Giant: 'One of the Most Remarkable Business Pivots in History'

Here's how Nvidia pivoted its business to explore an emerging technology a decade in advance.

Thought Leaders

25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Do you have what it takes to get through hard times? Here are the traits that help home-based business owners thrive.

Leadership

Why Hearing a 'No' is the Best 'Yes' for an Entrepreneur

Throughout the years, I have discovered that rejection is an inevitable part of entrepreneurship, and learning to embrace it is crucial for achieving success.