Beg, borrow, scavenge, steal—I remember my entire school going crazy collecting Jungle Book characters that came under Gold Spot crowns. For a long time after the promotion had ended, the charac-ters remained the prevalent currency among youngsters.
Your social standing was directly proportional to the number of characters you had collected. Kaa, the snake, for one, was a tough one to lay your hands on. One Kaa was being traded for two-three Mowglis.
And Gold Spot, the orange-flavoured fizzy drink owned by Parle, was being consumed like crazy.
We had even convinced the owner of the shop next to our school to give us all the crowns that people left behind. I, in fact, remember one senior who had taken a fancy to my elder sister (who was in the same school), tried to get in my good books by offering me the whole set of characters duly pasted in the collectible book.
He sure did get into my good books, but miserably failed when it came to my sis. Yes, Gold Spot was pretty much a c-o-o-o-l drink in those times.
After the exit of Coca-Cola, Gold Spot grew to be one of the three soft drinks brands that ruled the market. (The others being Thumbs Up and Limca; these three brands were launched by Ramesh Chauhan of Parle after the exit of Coca-Cola from India in 1977). Between them they accounted for as much as 69% of the Indian soft drinks market.
To begin with, Gold Spot was a great drink. It actually tasted real nice. And then came the advertising punchline: Gold Spot. The Zing Thing.
Immensely hummable, immensely lovable, hugely popular—most of us who were young then will remem-ber the Gold Spot films. They were contemporary & cool. They talked about a generation that was discovering new crazes.
So one film had this young couple roller-skating. The girl’s crazy about the guy’s double-takes, the guy’s crazy about dizzy spins. You bet, sings the girl, he’s crazy about me.
And they both go “As crazy as crazy as we’re about, Gold Spot, the Zing Thing...”
Another had a young Kitu Gidwani and her dude. He’s crazy about speeding. She’s crazy about his biking. Yet again, the craze only matches up to their craze for Gold Spot.
These funky ads became very popular and synonymous with a generation that was discovering new crazes every day. I believe, what Gold Spot did right was in going beyond films. Yup the films were cool. The promos were cool too. Pretty much everything Gold Spot did created great equity for the brand.
The advertising targeted the youth in a focused manner and hugely succeeded. The Zing Thing jingle rang loud and clear across the country.
When Coca-Cola returned to India in 1993, it bought out the three mega brands (for Rs 400 crore). Fanta replaced Gold Spot in the market—but to date it has not been able to replace it in the consumers’ mind. That’s what an iconic brand is all about.
You can take it off the shelves. But taking it off someone’s mind is a different ballgame altogether. Yes, there are many out there who are still crazy about a lot of things, but only just as crazy as they were about Gold Spot.
And if I am not mistaken, my Gold Spot Jungle Book characters collection is safely stashed away somewhere in mum’s old cupboard in Lucknow.
—The author is executive creative director, Rediffusion DYR, Mumbai