Ad guru Alyque Padamsee: the man who redefined the advertisement scene in India


The big, fun world of advertising has always been an wonder for us. With creativity ruling the roost, product ads and brand endorsements perhaps provide the much needed ‘respite’ from those bland mix of same formulaic television shows. And when it comes to iconic ads that have long outlived their success by being a permanent imprint on the minds of all its viewers, there haven’t been many who have aced in the sphere.

True, iconic ads have been many, but exalted admakers have been few and far between. And while it’s easy to judge an ad man based on the number of ads that he has created, more importantly it should be the number of products his ads have managed to sell. Alyque Padamsee is one such iconic ad maker who brought about a virtual revolution in the world of ad making in India at a time when the concept had just begin to evolve in its entirety.

Alyque Padamsee
Source: YouTube

As the Advertising Man of the Century passed away early morning on 17th November, let’s take a moment to relive some timeless geniuses that has been a result of his ever flowing creativity.


Undoubtedly, the ad that pushed Padamsee to the limelight in the domain of Indian creative ads has been the Liril waterfall visualisation. As the visuals of model Karen Lunel frolicking about in her refreshing under waterfall bath unfolds, we all drift away to a parallel world of freshness with Liril. Indeed, as the Freshness Soap, Liril managed to bring in a cult follower base. With underlying notions of freedom incorporated into the refreshing notions of a summer time bath, Padamsee succeeded in making Liril one of the fastest selling commodities through his excellent creative skills.

And if liberation of the housewife wasn’t what that could keep you hooked to Liril, the accompanying infectious jingle surely did!


While with Liril, it was a idea somewhat nestled outside the realms of reality, Padamsee came up with a rather commonplace yet hugely successful ad campaign with detergent brand Surf. An economical Lalitaji not compromising on her unwavering belief in Surf as the detergent she vies for did wonders to take the brand to the zenith of its popularity. Lalitaji’s iconic dialogue “Surf ki kharidaari mein hi samajhdaari hai.” resonate well with the audience and for quite some time then, washing detergents became synonymous with Surf!


Alyque Padamsee went further with his ventures to ensure that the products he was associated with advertising for managed to stir the public psyche. In the Cherry Blossom Shoe Polish ad, he went as far as evoking the image of Charlie Chaplin to produce an ad that glorified shoe polishes for perhaps the first time.

Perhaps Alyque Padamsee’s success in bringing forth ads that struck a chord with the masses rested on his concept of character development in each of his ventures. As a man who had been associated with the world of theater and who had been the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Padamsee ensured that his ads had logic as well as appeal.


Padamsee was associated with several other path breaking ads like that of the MRF Muscle Man, the Our Bajaj ad, the Kamasutra couple as well as the Fair and Handsome ads. Named the Advertising Man of the Century by the Advertising Club of Mumbai, Padamsee went on to win the coveted Padmashri Award in 2000. Also the only Indian to be voted into the International Clio Hall of Fame, the Oscars of World Advertising, Padamsee as the head of advertising agency Lintas indeed ushered in a new era in advertising.

As the giant of advertising in the Indian sphere passed away today at the age of 90, we cannot help but look back to the times when his creativity lighted up many moments for us. May his soul rest in peace!