Hey folks, we are back with a new edition of Sunny Side up and we will start off with a story that's been brewing for quite a while now.
We already covered this a couple of weeks ago. However, the feedback we received didn't inspire a lot of confidence. People were upset that we didn't simplify it enough. They said it was too complicated. So we wanted to make things right and we decided we were going to record a new YouTube video simplifying the whole saga some more. This should be the definitive guide to understand both sides of the coin. It's also perhaps the best video we've done so far. So do take a look at it. Link here.
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Not a love song by Sanjeev T featuring Native Indian
Are we ready to roll?
A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀
Surf Excel is now worth a billion dollars
Yup! We’re talking about that detergent you use to lather and shine your laundry. Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL’s) Surf Excel became India’s first personal care brand to hit $1 billion in annual sales in 2022.
Launched in 1959, Surf was India’s first detergent powder. 45 years later, HUL phased out the generic Surf brand and called it Surf Excel Blue to lure customers with a premium-sounding name.
But premium products aren’t easy to sell, especially in a market dominated by middle-class households no? Then how did Surf Excel do it?
See, before detergent powder arrived in India, women who mostly did the chores preferred to use soap bars to scrub and rinse dirty clothes. But Surf came up with a non-soapy detergent powder which encouraged people to just soak the laundry to remove tough stains rather than scrub them.
That didn’t go down quite well with the Indian mindset, because for us scrubbing was the OG washing. So, Surf introduced door-to-door campaigns to coax people into changing their habits. They could even avoid soiling and spoiling their soft hands if they switched to Surf.
This worked and Surf began dominating the detergent space. It was just then, in 1969 that Dr. Karsanbhai Patel, a chemist from Gujarat realised that Surf was quite an expensive daily-use product. So, he thought ‘What if I made something similar, but sold it cheap?’ And Nirma was born.
People loved it. By the 1980s ‘Washing powder Nirma’ and the girl in a white frock on the packaging became a household staple. That hurt Surf. So, HUL was forced to come up with ‘Wheel’, a low-priced detergent that could compete with Nirma. Surf meanwhile, took a backseat.
It was only with its innovative ad campaigns like ‘Daag Acche Hain’ and a wide range of products that it was able to make its way to the top. Surf Excel even increased prices several times over the years owing to inflation, which may have contributed to higher revenues. Today it controls over 20% of the ₹35,000 crore detergent market.
Changing people’s mindset today could be tougher than it was decades ago because folks love quality products. So, maybe the Surf Excel domination is here to stay?
How India got hooked on whisky
India just did something amazing! We just overtook France to become the UK’s largest importer of Scotch whisky in terms of volume. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said that we imported 219 million (700 ml) bottles of Scotch last year compared to France’s 205 million. That’s a 200% growth in the past decade!
How did we get so hooked on it, you ask?
You’ll probably say ‘British influence’. And you’d be right. But then, there’s something else too.
Before Scotch came in in the 19th century, the only foreign liquor that the Indian elite knew of was Cognac, a French brandy. But an insect infestation in France destroyed the country’s grape harvest, affecting Cognac imports.
This made room for a replacement in the intoxicants market. So, the British thought of importing Scotch whisky with the hope to get Indians hooked on it.
But there was a problem. The Indian authorities would definitely protest it as Indians loved their traditional intoxicant ― ganja (cannabis). Back in the day, it was legal. And if whisky which was cheaper than Cognac were to come in, then the intoxication habit would only get worse amongst Indians. Besides, they didn’t want to flood the country with foreign poison again.
So the government set up an enquiry commission to find out if bhang and ganja are as safe as Scotch whisky. Turned out, that they were both equally harmful. But the latter was still safer. And that’s how the Scotch whisky travelled to India.
Cannabis use continued though even after independence since it was considered a soft social drug. It was only in 1985, that the government passed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and banned ganja under immense pressure from the US, which had been running a campaign to ban cannabis since the 1960s.
This increased Indians’ appetite for booze. And they soon developed a taste for Scotch whisky, a spirit that the domestic market already had.
That was the only trigger we needed to now become the biggest consumers of whisky in the world!
This didn’t make the cut ✂️
On Thursday, we wrote about why the makers of Oreo took Parle to court over its Fab!o brand of biscuits. But as we were doing our research for the story, we also found 2 other really interesting cases. Everything to do with the phonetics or the pronunciation.
- In 2011, the Delhi High Court looked at a case involving two brands — Zegna, an Italian luxury fashion brand. And Jenya, an Indian clothing brand. Both sound like completely different names, no? But wait… Zegna is actually pronounced Zen-Yah. And the Italian brand was able to prove that. So despite the names that were spelt so differently, the court sided with Zegna and said that Jenya was actually deceptively similar.
- In 2007, Diageo North America and Shiva Distilleries battled it out in court. The name in question was the famous Vodka brand Smirnoff which was in use since 1930. Apparently, Shiva Distilleries concocted a Brisnoff brand of vodka and began selling that in India in 2003. Sounds too similar, no? But the Judge actually ruled against Diageo and Smirnoff. See, Shiva Distilleries had agreed to drop the specific eyebrow visualisation and colour combination because it was too close to Smirnoff. So without that, the Judge didn’t feel the names were similar. Especially since many vodka brands apparently ended with ‘noff’.
Quite interesting, no?
Money tips 💰
Why you must buy a term plan in your 20s
The biggest mistake you could make in your 20s is not buying term insurance early. Here’s why.
- Low premiums, forever!
The same 1Cr term insurance cover will cost you much lower premiums at 25 years than at 35 years. What’s more- once these premiums are locked in, they remain the same throughout the term! So if you’re planning on building a robust financial plan, consider buying term insurance as early as you can.
2. You might not realize that you still have dependents in your 20s
Maybe your parents are about to retire in the next few years and funding your studies didn’t really allow them to grow their investments — which makes you their sole bread earner once they age.
And although no amount of money can replace you, it sure can give that added financial support in your absence.
3. Tax saver benefit
You probably know this already — section 80C of the Income Tax Act helps you cut down your taxable income by the premiums paid. And what’s better than saving taxes from early on in your career?
So maybe, it’s time for you to buy yourself a term plan. And if you need any help on that front, just talk to our advisors.
1. Go to Ditto’s website — Link here
2. Click on “Book a free call”
3. Select Term Insurance
4. Choose the date & time as per your convenience and RELAX!
Readers Recommend 🗒️
“How not to be wrong — The hidden maths of everyday life” by Jordan Ellenberg.
The book is an excellent explainer of how we use mathematical concepts like geometry, algebra, probability & statistics in everyday life. Rich with the history of the evolution of these concepts, the book is quirky enough to make reading math fun.
Thanks to Sugandh, our reader for this great recommendation.
That’s all folks!
Don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Until next Sunday…