Category Mascots

A six-year-old elephant calf named Kutti-narayanan from Kerala became which mascot of the 1982 Asian Games held in Delhi?

The mascot of the Asian Games held in New Delhi, Appu provided a sneak peek into India’s culture and outlook. The words, ‘Friendship Fraternity Forever’ in English and Hindi accompanied the image. This was the first time that the Asian Games had a mascot. A real-life elephant was the inspiration behind it.

Appu was based on a real elephant, who at the time of the games was just six-years-old. The organizers were denied making a mascot out of a real animal and hence transported Appu’s image on a page. The mascot became associated with the Games that help Delhi on its path to becoming a modern capital city.

 The authorities did not want to make a live animal the mascot but the elephant reportedly captured the public imagination. He fell into a tank in 1992 and was maimed forever but only died in Kerala in his late 20s in 2005.


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In 2005, Bengaluru-based airlines Air Deccan used which iconic character created by cartoonist R.K. Laxman as its mascot?

Bangalore-based Air Deccan has struck a deal with R K Laxman, India’s most famous cartoonist, to use his legendary ‘Common Man’ character as the airline’s mascot.     

When Laxman began to draw cartoons he was inspired by Manas in The Times of India, he attempted to represent different states and cultures in India. In the rush to meet deadlines, he began to draw fewer and fewer background characters, until finally he found only one remaining—the now-familiar Common Man. The Common Man generally acts as a silent witness to all the action in the comic. According to anthropologist Ritu Gairola Khanduri, “Clad in a dhoti and a plaid jacket, the puzzled Common Man is no dupe: his sharp observations miss no detail of the political circus.”

Salman Rushdie, who grew up in Bombay on a daily fare of Laxman’s pocket cartoons, mentions the Common Man in two of his books—his 1995 novel The Moor’s Last Sigh and his 2012 autobiography, Joseph Anton.

A statue of the Common man, created by the sculptor Suresh Sakpal, was installed in 2007 along the sea face on Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan road, Worli seaface, Mumbai.


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Owned by a duo from Goa, which pug was the popular face of advertisements – despite protests from PETA – for mobile operator Hutchison Essar?

Cheeka is a pug who appeared in the “You & I” advertising campaign of Hutchison Essar’s cellular service in India, along with the child actor Jayaram.

The television ad was the first to be shot, a 60-second sequence in lush green Goa. The role of the boy was played by Jayaram, an eight-year-old who had already starred in four other ads. Cheeka was suggested for the role by an assistant at Nirvana Films, the makers of the ad. The campaign became a hit, and was soon followed by a print version for newspapers. Cheeka earned ?150,000 for the campaign, and appeared in Hutch ads, till the merger with Vodafone India, representing the network. She featured with her pink nose, when Hutch changed its signature color from orange to pink.

The ad campaign was followed by a rise in the popularity of pugs in India, and the sale of pugs more than doubled within months, with prices shooting up from about ?10,000 to ?20,000-60,000. A few other ads also appeared in the following months, inspired by the idea of a dog following a boy. In addition, Cheeka was the wallpaper most often downloaded by Hutch customers onto their phone screens in 2005.


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Created by noted cartoonist R.K. Laxman, which little boy with a paint-brush was the mascot for Mumbai-based Asian Paints, for decades?

Gutsy Gattu was conceived by renowned cartoonist R.K. Laxman in 1954, when Asian Oil and Paint Company had a massive turnover of Rs. 3.5 lakhs. GATTU, the little Boy with wet Brush in hand happens to be the mascot / trade mark of Asian Paints in India.

The Gattu experiment was vastly different from what rivals at that time were doing. Jenson & Nicholson, for example, attempted to speak to an upwardly-mobile, urban audience in the seventies, with the ‘When you think of colour, think of us’ campaign. Gattu appealed to the masses and helped Asian Paints become the leader.

With Gattu’s track record, it was tough to axe it, but Asian Paints went ahead. It was trying to shake off its mass-market tag for a more premium appeal in the 21st century. This was the first of its two brand makeovers, where the emphasis shifted from the lovable icon to a corporate identity. The second makeover, three-four years ago, saw Asian Paints shortened to AP in the logo.

Asian Paints has also consolidated its earlier home solutions offerings under its paint solutions brand, Ezycolour, determinedly moving into the services space.


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In 2017, the Kanha Tiger Reserve got an official mascot named Boorsingh. The mascot is Madhya Pradesh’s which state animal?

Kanha has become the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot — Bhoorsingh the Barasingha — to present the hard ground swamp deer as the spirit of the reserve and spread awareness to save it from possible extinction. Barasingha, or swamp deer, is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh.

The mascot aims to present the hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha) as the spirit of the reserve and spread awareness to save it from possible extinction.

The mascot has been designed by cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty, who runs a popular website which showcases over 350 cartoons, comics and illustrations on wildlife and nature conservation, environment, sustainability etc.

Barasingha, or swamp deer is a deer species distributed in the Indian subcontinent. It is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh.

Kanha National Park was created in June 1955 and was made the Kanha Tiger Reserve in 1973. Today it stretches over an area of 940 square km in the two istricts Mandla and Balaghat.

The park has a significant population of Bengal tiger, Indian leopards, sloth bear, barasingha and Indian wild dog.


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Created in the 1970s, which little girl in a white frock was the face of advertisements for an Ahmedabad-based detergent brand, after which she was named?

The girl on the Nirma packaging was actually the daughter of the founder of the company, Karsanbhai Patel. Even the name “Nirma” was derived from her – she was called Nirmala, and had passed away in an accident.

In the 1970s, the Indian washing powder market was dominated by Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) and its Surf was pretty much THE detergent powder to use. While Surf was seen to be a little on the expensive side, people were willing to pay a slight premium for the convenience and consistency it provided. And well, the alternatives were either just as expensive or not really quite as good in terms of quality and performance. That changed with the emergence of a washing power called Nirma in the early seventies.

The ad started out as a relatively short one, but as the years passed, it became slightly longer, going up to a minute. And it almost always followed the same template – it featured a number of people singing, dancing and otherwise being very active at a variety of locations, ranging from a stage to locations like India Gate. These shots are interspersed with clothes being washed (of course, always by women). And then towards the end, the ad focuses on four ladies carrying packets of Nirma powder with them. It begins and closes out with the “Nirma girl,” the brand’s mascot who is seen twirling on the packets of washing powder.

The Washing Powder Nirma jingle is still widely played by people who just like to listen to it. People even sing the song on Smule, a social networking platform. Now, how’s that for being a chartbuster.


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For more than five decades, which little girl in a polka-dotted frock has been the face of a Gujarat based cooperative dairy brand, after which she is named?

Amul girl refers to the advertising mascot used by Amul, an Indian dairy brand. The Amul girl is a hand-drawn cartoon of a young Indian girl dressed in a polka dotted frock with blue hair and a half pony tied up. The Amul girl advertising has often been described as one of the best Indian Advertising concepts because of its humour.

Amul did not always have the round-eyed moppet as its mascot. The Butter Girl was born in 1966 when Sylvester daCunha, the then MD of the advertising agency handling Amul butter’s account, created her for its campaign. It was a pleasant change from the dull, corporate ads that the previous agency had come up with. Being a seasoned marketer himself, Dr Kurien gave daCunha complete creative freedom to create and release the ads without taking the company’s permission. 30 years later, the Utterly Butterly Girl still wins hearts wherever she is, whether on a billboard or on the packet of butter.

Amul is not just a brand; it is also a movement that represents farmers’ economic freedom. The name is now a household term that is here to stay, and the chubby-cheeked Amul girl will continue to cast a spell on the public.


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On the occasion of the 150th year of Indian Railways, which elephant became its mascot?

On the occasion of IR’s 150th year, a mascot in the form of a cartoon elephant, ‘Bholu’, was adopted. A real elephant was used in some of the celebrations.

Railways were introduced in India on 16 April 1853, with a line from Bombay to Thane. To commemorate the 150th year of the event, Indian Railways planned a series of events in 2002–03 which included launching a mascot. Bholu was designed by the National Institute of Design in consultation with the Railway ministry and was unveiled on 16 April 2002 in Bangalore. On that day, Bholu flagged off the Karnataka Express at 6.25 pm from platform number 1 of the Bangalore city station. According to the Indian Government (Railway Board)’s Manual for Public Relations Department (2007), Bholu was designated for official use effective 15 April 2002. Later, on 24 March 2003, they decided to retain Bholu as the official mascot of Indian Railways.

The mascot became very popular in India. When asked why they chose an elephant as their mascot and of their opinion on Bholu, Indian Railway officials said that Bholu is friendly and helpful. An Indian Government official release in 2003 described Bholu as an “ethical, responsible, sincere and cheerful icon”. The same report stated that other than denoting stability, it represents the Indian Railways workforce as well. Also in 2003 the Indian Government released a two-(?) rupee coin which carried the impression of Bholu on its reverse side.


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Created in the 1940s, the Maharaja has been a mascot for which government-owned enterprise based in New Delhi?

Air India’s mascot is the Maharajah (high king). It was created by Bobby Kooka, the then-commercial director of Air India, and Umesh Rao, an artist with J. Walter Thompson Limited in 1946. Kooka stated that, “We call him a Maharajah for want of a better description. But his blood isn’t blue. He may look like royalty, but he isn’t royal”. Air India adopted the Maharajah as its mascot in 1946. It was used in promoting it although initially designed only for the airline’s memo-pads. The Maharajah was given a makeover in 2015 and the brand is represented by a younger version.

The airline was founded by J. R. D. Tata as Tata Airlines in 1932; Tata himself flew its first single-engine de Havilland Puss Moth, carrying air mail from Karachi to Bombay’s Juhu aerodrome and later continuing to Madras (currently Chennai). After World War II, it became a public limited company and was renamed as Air India. On 21 February 1960, it took delivery of its first Boeing 707 named Gauri Shankar and became the first Asian airline to induct a jet aircraft in its fleet. In 2000–01, attempts were made to privatise Air India and from 2006 onwards, it suffered losses after its merger with Indian Airlines.

Air India also operates flights to domestic and Asian destinations through its subsidiaries Alliance Air and Air India Express. Air India’s mascot is the Maharajah (Emperor) and the logo consists of a flying swan with the wheel of Konark inside it.


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A toddler from Manali – named Kagyur Tulku Rinpoche – with a finger on his face was which popular icon in print advertisements for a radio brand in the 1970s and 1980s?

A wooden box, a short, straight antenna on the top left and a picture of a chubby toddler with her finger placed near her lips with a quizzical smile – this is what Indian radio memories are made of. And the brand was Murphy Radio, one of the earliest radio brands in Indian homes.

In the 1960s-70s, Indians who had radio sets in their homes often boasted about it. A Murphy Radio set usually occupied pride of place in their homes, especially in their drawing rooms. It would be kept at a higher plane away from children’s reach. Many Indians would actually stitch an embroidered cloth cover for it. Families would play the popular radio programmes on high volume, attracting radio-less neighbours to stand outside and listen.

The brand of home radios was founded in 1929 in England by Frank Murphy and E.J. Power.

The original radio company played a crucial role during World War II, making radio sets for British Armed Forces to use.

Murphy was the first British radio to be fitted with automatic tuning correction with station names on the tuning scale.

Frank Murphy left his own company in 1937 leaving E.J. Power in charge and found another company called FM Radio – Frank Murphy Radio.


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