A British Calamity leads to form India’s largest paints company

The time being on what the whole story depends is 1942. Civil disobedience movement was going on its full swing, and  at that point four friends in Bombay was setting up a paints manufacturing company in a tiny garage.

The scenario was like British government placed a temporary ban on importing Paints which left the country with very limited options,  it was either Shalimar paint or expensive foreign brands. This adverse condition gave birth to the idea of founding “Asian oil and paint company private limited by four friends Champaklal Choksey, Chimanlal Choksi, Suryakant Dani, and Arvind Vakil. Here the funny part is the name of the company derived from a telephone directory.

Now, here i would like to include some words of famous businessman Bill Gross

“I never thought I’d be quoting boxer Mike Tyson on the TED stage, but he once said, “Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face.” And I think that’s so true about business as well. So much about a team’s execution is its ability to adapt to getting punched in the face by the customer. The customer is the true reality. And that’s why I came to think that the team maybe was the most important thing.

Then I started looking at the business model. Does the company have a very clear path generating customer revenues? That started rising to the top in my thinking about maybe what mattered most for success.

Then I looked at the funding. Sometimes companies receive intense amounts of funding. Maybe that’s the most important thing?

And then of course, the timing. Is the idea way too early and the world’s not ready for it? Is it early, meaning, you’re in advance and you have to educate the world? Is it just right? Or is it too late, and there’s already too many competitors?”


Also most of the entrepreneur define success as when there is no specific target audience so that it caters to every type of individuals. There was a massive strategy they had had.  They evolved a new history of distribution. As the company invented tiny paint packets as opposed to giant tins in order to simplify and speed up the distribution process across the country. And if you want to know that if the strategy works or not I would like to tell you that this strategy help them to take a steady Pace and by 1952 the annual turnover of Asian Paints was 23 crore where the others  company only got the revenue of 3.5 lakh in the same here with just 5 colour black white red blue and yellow .  By the way 23 croces considered to be huge back in those days.

A British Calamity leads to form India's largest paints company

Source: Social Samosa

But the real explosion had take place with Gattu Don’t know about  Guttu ? Let me tell you. In 1954, the paint giant decided to go all out and initiate a marketing campaign that would reflect their philosophy. This strategy was also a way to ensure the existing customers remained loyal.

And thus was born the notorious kid with a paint bucket and brush in his hand, Gattu (a common nickname in north India) created by legendary illustrator, RK Laxman.

As per reports, Asian Paints had launched a contest inviting people to name the figure RK Laxman had created and the winner would get Rs 500. This was truly a masterstroke that served the dual purpose of igniting curiosity in people’s minds about this mysterious kid and letting them know that it was their revered cartoonist’s creation. Coincidently, of the 47,000 entries, two people from Bombay had sent ‘Gattu’ (a paint mascot equivalent of Nirma girl), that has now become a nostalgic figure for the kids growing up between the 50s-80s.


Gattu became the face of an affordable Tractor Distemper and generated a large audience in middle-class households.


The value you add is the real contribution you make to your organization’s success. Performing the activities listed in your job description or your job specification is important and makes a contribution. However, your value-add moves beyond mere activities or tasks performed and illuminates, instead, the overall contributions you make to your organization.


They though of using some taglines like “

Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Kehta Hai” 

Don’t lose your temper, use Tractor Distemper” changed people’s perspective that one does not need to wait for the peel to come off. It is a lifestyle choice.

Between 1957-1966 this company got and professional look throughout the world by working with big clients like “British firm”, “Balmer lawrie”.However, the turning point for the company came in 1967 when it emerged as India’s leading paints manufacturer ahead of any international competition, and a decade later, they established their first venture in Fiji.



In any case Asian Paints has always stayed ahead of time anticipating the future trends with the support of million followers of Facebook YouTube and Twitter. It was first-ever TV commercial in 1984, a premium product in the early 90s or establishing call-centre operations and a website as early as 1998-99.

\Now this company has captured a 53 per cent market share in India and is Asia’s third-largest paint company. It is known as Asian Paints and operates in 16 countries, across the world. In 2004, Asian Paints made it to the list of Forbes Best Under a Billion companies in the world and was even conferred With ‘Sword of Honour’ By the British Safety Council.


What a wonderful story it was !! Wasn’t it ?


 Featured Image Source: TheBetterIndia

Aditya Santra
" Came to inundate this world of dichotomy with words of adherence where limitation knows no deterrent "

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