Zandu Balm, the Dabangg peeda-hari balm.

Zandu Balm, the Dabangg peeda-hari balm.

The ‘Munni Badnaam’ track from the latest action flick, Dabangg, quickly made its way into the hearts of an entire nation.With nearly the same speed, Zandu Balm also made its way on to the backs and necks of an entire nation. Malaika Arora-Khan’s high voltage dance on the song, replete with “Zandu Balm” and her active rub, worked its wonders on pain relief makers, Emami, the makers of Zandu Balm. Or did it?

According to industry reports, and confirmed by Zandu Balm VP – Sales, Zandu Balm saw its average monthly sales jump from Rs. 20 crore to about Rs. 25 crore in August, 2010. Just about the same time as the Dabangg soundtrack released. (Source: Mint). Ahem.


The Zandu Balm team, however, was quick to dismiss it as a coincidence, claiming that this quarter was a peak season for them, so sales were bound to increase. Moreover, instead of savouring the sudden sales upswing, Emami went ahead and filed a case against the producers, right after the movie was declared as one of the biggest hits of Bollywood. Emami felt that the song infringed upon their trademark, and worse, Munni’s association with the brand is making it badnaam. Badnaam, really? Isn’t any press coverage, good coverage?

And now, there’s one more twist in the tale. The latest news reports indicate that Emami and Arbaaz Khan Productions have not just reached a truce, but have also signed a deal through which Munni Badnaam is actually going to be endorsing the brand!
Now, let’s not open closed doors, but at least try getting under the hood of the situation. Emami could have easily enjoyed the success of its increased sales and believed the general grapevine, echoed by a general store owner in a small town of India, “Even my wife asked about the product after seeing the song.” But, it seems Emami chose to make the most of it. They sued, screamed and propagated the controversy. The media happily lapped up the hot news and splashed it across their ‘breaking news’ segment.

Result? Zandu Balm continues to see increased sales, and for the Dabangg team, well, they have nothing to lose. In fact, Malaika surely isn’t going to be unhappy about one more endorsement deal coming her way.

Now let’s dive deeper. As we see it, this certainly seems like a win-win. Especially from the brand value and sales point of view. Without spending the crores that brands usually do to advertise, the brand has received free publicity, and the best of its kind! The one that keeps you laughing for a long time – all the way to the bank.

Secondly, there is a definitive increase in the salience of the brand. This would certainly help Zandu Balm compete against other entrenched brands such as Amrutanjan Balm, Tiger Balm and Monison Malm (popular in rural areas).‘Item yeh aam hui’ is certainly the way it seems to be as of now.
Zandu Balm, Zandu Balm, peeda-haari balm. Sardi, sardard peeda ko, pal mein duur kare. Nostalgic, isn’t it? Immediately brings the images of an old man, a housewife, a working man, each one using Zandu Balm as a magic wand for their respective peedas. Echoes the values of trust, reliability and, more importantly, positions Zandu Balm as a ‘family’, old-fashioned balm. And I must admit, the balm has remained a favourite amongst the older generations, who have been extremely loyal to it. If we were to personify the brand, the brand would be someone like, let’s say, Amitabh Bachchan – gentle, caring, trusted and very likeable.

However, the latest makeover will bring along drastic changes. The brand will get a more youthful image, will be associated with a little bit of naughtiness, and not to mention, the oomph factor that Malaika Arora-Khan brings along. It would now be personified by someone like Salman Khan – young, brash, bold and cheeky. It will definitely have its share of followers, but is it a long-term vision? And what will happen once the popularity of the movie fades away. Will we remember it as an atom bomb darling or with the of fondness of Sardi sardard peeda ko, pal mein duur kare? Whether it’s a facelift, or a face-down, it remains to be seen.

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