Advertisement
Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Vox Pop

Bottled Water brands? My favourite is the one that indicates that the drinker is merely a middle-man, the necessary processing plant to produce the "real" product: it is simply called Pee Mee.

Vox Pop
Vox Pop
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

When Parle bought the Italian bottled mineral water company Felice Bisleri in 1969, they were going out on a limb. At
that point there was no market for bottled water, and the problem was: how do you sell something colourless, odourless
and tasteless? 

Parle liked the name Bisleri,because as chairman Ramesh Chauhan says, "The Italian name added a dash of class." I can only think of one other Italian who has so successfully integrated into the Indian milieu—apologies to our First Lady. An early advertising campaign showed a butler proffering two bottles of Bisleri with the hookline "Bisleri is veri veri extraordinari"—the misspelling deliberately highlighting the foreign in a uniquely Indian way. Bisleri, like biro or Xerox, has become synonymous with the product, and if you ask for "ek Bisleri" at a roadside shop, you’re likely to get any brand.

As the water wars hot up, the government seems to have abdicated its responsibility to provide safe, clean drinking water and handed it over to the ever-thirsty private sector. The market for bottled water in India is currently estimated at Rs 1,000 crore, and is growing at an astonishing 55%. Apart from biggies like Bisleri, Bailley, and Hello, India has close to 200 brands—80% of which are local. Most have chosen names that indicate freshness, purity, naturalness —Raindrops, Silver Springs, Pristine, Spaa Aqua, Himalayan—but some have less happy associations. The unfortunate truth is that the Hindi for ‘drink’ sounds awfully like the English for piss. My favourite is the Rajasthani brand that indicates that the drinker is merely a middle-man, the necessary processing plant to produce the "real" product: it is simply called Pee Mee.


This article originally appeared in Outlook Delhi City Limits, May 15 2006.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Two Vendors From UP, Bihar Shot Dead By Militants In J&K

Two Vendors From UP, Bihar Shot Dead By Militants In J&K

Police claim 13 terrorists have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir in nine encounters over the last nine days.

In Ongoing Poonch Encounter, Bodies Of Two Missing Soldiers Recovered, Toll Rises To Nine

In Ongoing Poonch Encounter, Bodies Of Two Missing Soldiers Recovered, Toll Rises To Nine

According to the Army, the bodies of a jawan and the JCO were recovered during the search operation on October 16.

SAFF 2021: Chhetri Equals Messi Feat As India Thrash Nepal To Win 8th Title

SAFF 2021: Chhetri Equals Messi Feat As India Thrash Nepal To Win 8th Title

India crushed Nepal 3-0 to win their 8th SAFF title, thanks to goals from Sunil Chhetri, Suresh Wangjam and Sahal Abdul Samad.

Kerala: Six Dead, 12 Missing As Heavy Rains Cause Flash Floods And Landslides

Kerala: Six Dead, 12 Missing As Heavy Rains Cause Flash Floods And Landslides

Several people have been injured and displaced. Dams in many districts are nearing full capacity. Small towns and villages in the hilly areas are totally cut off.

Advertisement