Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This is from the bakery near my office where I frequent sometimes for a bite. I went there for tea today and I see that Maggie has packaged their rich tomato sauce in a new manner - in a plastic squeeze pouch with a toothpaste tube like thing on top through which you can squirt it out. The thing has a photo of Javed Jaffery on its cover, with a manic grin on his face and holding on to a huge tube of sauce, squirting it out merrily. The product is apparently called "Pichku" - have you seen it?

There's this story by Saki in which a particularly tasteless breakfast supplement is given the absurd name "Filiboid Studge" and a wonderful marketing campaign started around it till it quite becomes the rage, and the owner makes a killing. Because it is so tasteless, housewives take particular demented pleasure in pressing it upon their husbands in the morning. If they would lose their appetite at the sight of that, in the evening they would be served a warmed up mess with the words "Your filiboid studge that you did not eat this morning." Ads were created where sinners were shown roasting in hell, with the ominous line:"THEY cannot have their filiboid studge anymore". You ought to read it.

Talking of advertising, another book to read is Dorothy Sayer's "Death must advertise" - it IS a crime thriller but since Peter Wimsey has to masquerade as an advertising professional in it the book has its moments.

Anyway I am getting beside the point. To think up a name like "Pichku" for a sauce squeeze tube is something ... the implications are legion.

It can be used as a readymade graffiti tool.

It can have a ready market in bloody films - anyway they use ketchup for bloody scenes, this is such a convenient way of achieving the bloody effect with not a drop of ketchup wasted - I am not sure applying it out of bottles is as economic.

The name would also appeal to kids who have a penchant for making a mess of sofas and car seats and walls - something like an amateur effort at graffiti.

Nestle is quite a reputed company - to convince them to name a product Pichku must have taken some doing.

Wonder how long the board of directors laughed when the name was first uttered and when they started taking it seriously and came round to the view that it could be a name for this product.

Or was there a pin drop silence of which an advantage was taken to hasten the decision?
Was it referred to the Swiss parent company, or was the decision taken about the name at the regional level?

- Contributed by Atrijit Dasgupta, Bangalore