Rabindranath Tagore endorsing products and brands? Naah…you got to be out of your mind! Or…hey, hold it! Is this for real? Or is this fake news??
According to Tagore researcher Arun Kumar Roy, he is estimated to have appeared in some five hundred ads! Read about this here and here. Probably the most prolific celebrity brand ambassador of all time!
Going through old ads is fun. Celebrity endorsement seems to have been with us for decades – this is a screenshot of the search results when I typed “old Indian ads” in Google and hit the “Images” tab. How many famous faces can you recognize?
Some are classy funny.
Some are WTF funny.
One of my lasting memories from my childhood days is a Lipton tea ad at the Chowringhee crossing – opposite the Metropolitan Building (the old Whiteaway Laidlaw stores, if I remember right) – this is the glowing white and gold building in this pic.
Notice that framework of a hoarding on top of the dilapidated brown building on the right of the picture? That’s where the Lipton tea hoarding used to be – at least that’s what I remember. It was a mechanised and neon-lit hoarding, showing a teapot slowly tilting and filling up a cup with golden liquid. After a while, the tea in the cup would slowly reduce and the cup would be empty – and then the teacup would tilt again to fill it up one more time. And so on, ad infinitum.
It was a fascinating sight for my little boy’s eyes.