Super Seven

Thums up, forever

Ramesh Chauhan’s thirst for creating iconic brands is unquenchable

Tushar Mane

You know all those experts who insist that naming a brand is a task fraught with danger and high drama, requiring the delicacy of a miniature painter, the skill and precision of a brain surgeon and the combined artistic flair of Michelangelo, Beethoven and Shakespeare? They really need to meet the Chauhan family. Consider some of the brands the family owns, across separate businesses. The umbrella brand, Parle, is named for the village Parla, now a thriving Mumbai suburb, where the group started its operations in 1929 in a cowshed owned by the family (which then was in the garments and textile business). The flagship biscuit Gluco’s name was inspired by an imported brand available at the time, called Glaxo — and also because it contained glucose. The first soft drink introduced by the Chauhans, in 1949, was simply called Gluco Cola. When Coca-Cola, which began bottling in India only the following year but had already registered its brand name here, took Parle to court (the company makes it a point to sue anybody who uses the word cola in a beverage brand name), the Chauhans renamed their drink a singularly uninspiring Parle Cola. It didn’t exactly make the market fizz and was soon discontinued. Then, in 1952, came Gold Spot, the orange-flavoured soda that owed its name to a Parle peppermint variety called Gold Star. 

Still ahead

Chauhan’s creation continues to lead the soft drink market even now

Not exactly rocket science, is it? We’re not done yet. Take a look at the drinks launched by Ramesh Chauhan, the man who has given India some of its most successful brands ever. Bisleri — the bottled water and soda brand that’s become generic for the category — is named after Fellici Bisleri, the Italian who introduced the brand in India in 1965 and sold out to Chauhan two years later. Chauhan retained the name because “it sounded good”. Limca, the cloudy lemon soda, is simply a contraction of “limbu cha” (Marathi for “of lemon”) while Thums Up — still India’s most popular soft drink (we’ll explain the “still” in a bit) &mda

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