The Indian government run TV channel Doordarshan was the only source of entertainment on television in the 80s and the 90s before the advent and subsequent explosion of privately-owned satellite TV channels. The shows, serials, and other programs on Doordarshan were interspersed with many different kinds of advertisements that can be recalled by people of that generation even today. Some of the TV ads of the 80s and 90s that were telecast on Doordarshan are listed below.
- Bajaj Auto: This was the ad that ruled the airwaves in the 80s and the 90s. The Bajaj Auto is considered as one of the most memorable adverts produced in India. Catchy slogans like ‘Buland Bharat ki buland tasveer’ and ‘Naye Bharat ki nayi taqdeer’ have a recall value even today. It was these ads that made the company one of the most profitable ones in India during those times.
- Maggi: Maggi, the 2-minute noodles, has created some of the most memorable ads since the 80s. No one can forget the popular slogan ‘Fast to cook, good to eat.’ And, children of the 80s and the 90s did say ‘Mummy I’m hungry,’ when they wanted Maggi.
- Lijjat Papad: Currently, the internet is home to numerous adorable dog and cat videos. But in the 80s, the bunnies on Doordarshan was really loved. The Lijjat papad rabbit sold papads with such ease that it is unimaginable today. And who can forget ‘Kurram, kurram…mazedar papad!’
- Liril: People literally used to wait for this ad to show up! The appealing jingle and the mesmerizing views of the cascading waterfalls indeed projected a sense of freshness upon the audience. Karen Lunel was the flawless and classy Liril girl of the 80s and the ad fawned a pop culture that capture the imagination of an entire generation. Since her, there have been many Liril girls, including Priety Zinta.
- Complan: Before the advent of a plethora of health drinks like Horlicks, Boost, and Bournvita, etc., Complan was the preferred drink for healthy kids. The campaign slogan ‘I am a Complan Boy,’ and ‘I am a Complan girl’ are still in use today! The most memorable old Complan ad of the 90s featured a little Ayesha Takia and Shahid Kapoor.
- Nirma: One of the most popular ads on Doordarshan through the 80s and the early 90s, Nirma washing powder was also one one the most popular detergents in India. The numerous slogans such as ‘Dheron kapde dhoye aur jyaada chale’ and ‘Rangeele kapdon ko pal mein ujaala,’ etc., as well as the harmonious jingle that ended with ‘Sabki pasand Nirma! Washing powder Nirma! Washing powder Nirma!’ were a huge hit.
- Pan Parag: This ad featuring the legendary Bollywood actors Ashok Kumar and Shammi Kapoor was the talk of the town in the 80s and 90s. It was so popular that it came to be used in varied jokes and even normal conversations.
- Cadbury: Who doesn’t miss the amazing Cadbury Dairy Milk ad? This 90s jingle was sung by Shankar Mahadevan and the cute female model with beautiful hair was none other than Shimona Rashi.
- Bajaj Bulb ad – ‘Jab Main Chota Ladka Tha’ still remains the favorite catchline, it was first reprised in the memorable Bajaj bulb ad with a catchy jingle.
- Vicks ad –The Vicks Goli ad of the 90s was quite popular and could be easily be called ‘viral’ in today’s parlance.
- Other ads: Other popular Doordarshan TV ads of the 80s and 90s include the Pepsi ad featuring Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Mahima Chaudhary; the very funny ECE Bulbs ad; the zingy ‘The Zing Thing!’ Gold Spot commercials; Vicco Turmeric ad featuring Sangeeta Bijlani; Ajanta Clocks; Dhara refined oil; Whirlpool refrigerators; Rasna-I love you Rasna; Lifebuoy-thandorusti ki raksha karta hai Lifebuoy; Vicks Goli- Khich Khich dur kare; Surf featuring Lalita Ji; Parle G; and Woodwards gripe water.
What makes old TV ads on Doordarshan so special?
Currently, the TV ads on Indian television are cacophonous, where the jingles are loud withe every brand literally ‘screaming’ for attention. The DD ads of 80s and 90s were subdued, classier and had heart-warming content. The ads were heart-touching with jingles that you remember even after so many years. Also, the ads were non-obtrusive and would feature before the start of any TV program. Check out old Doordarshan TV serials and shows that still remain memorable.