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Throwback Thursday: How Asian Paints' 1992 ad celebrated a poignant homecoming for Diwali

On Thursdays, we revisit old ads from the yesteryears to see how much has changed in the ad sensibilities over the years

by Sandhya Raghavan
Published - Sep 29, 2022 8:50 AM  |  3 min read

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India is gearing up for the festive season and like every year, brands are cranking out ads that celebrate the spirit of Diwali. They are usually a mixed bag of fleeting films. Some are memorable, some cringe-inducing and some you may forget the moment the ad ends.

Advertisements are often a reflection of the thoughts and sensibilities of the time. Modern ads are therefore the perfect reflection of today with our smartphones, social media, hectic jobs and fast-paced lives. Yet, there was a time not too long ago in the 90s (ok, maybe a little long ago) when life was seemingly simpler and quainter.

Every Thursday, we will revisit an ad from the yesteryears and this time around, we go back in time to 1992 and look at Asian Paints’ Diwali ad that will make you long for a Diwali that exists only in our memories. 

The ad film was released in July 1992 months ahead of Diwali. For most Indian homes, Diwali is a time for new beginnings. Fixing up peeling walls and putting up a fresh coat of paint is a common practice that may begin months before the festival. So, the months leading up to Diwali are important for paint brands who bring out festive ads for the occasion.

Asian Paints has an overarching theme of the great Indian family, togetherness, celebrations and love in its ads. This Diwali ad stays true to the theme, depicting the journey of a soldier coming home for the festival. Back home, the son anxiously awaits his father’s return as the rest of the household swings into a festive mode with diyas, lanterns and pujas. The ad was made by Ogilvy who has been handling the account for over three decades.

The hauntingly beautiful melody of “Khushiyan naye rang layenge” plays in the background, adding to the film’s poignance. 

The ad ends with a shot of the old Asian Paints logo with it's mascot Gattu, who has been phased out in 2002.

It’s hard to picture an ad like this today, especially if it’s directed at modern households. Thirty years ago, families were bigger, occupations were different, festivals were opulent and patriotic fervour was high. However, unlike the blink-and-miss ads we see by the dozens today, this Asian Paints ad has stayed in our minds for three decades. It washes us over with nostalgia every time it plays, reminding us of simpler times when Diwali was inarguably the happiest time of the year.

On Thursdays, we revisit old ads from the yesteryears to see how much has changed in the ad sensibilities over the years.


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