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Gopal Palpodi matters!

January 18, 2008

During this Pongal eve, some of my relatives, old pals visited my home surprisingly, and I just really enjoyed my time this season. As we guys sat for some long chats, we discussed about life at our hometown. In our gang, one of our relatives used to work in a local soap company which was once famous. He was forced to quit that company as it went bankrupt. Later he went on to work in several places and have finally settled somewhere safely, securely.

As we were discussing about that company and its times, the discussion turned into a debate whether the government should have supported the local manufacturers, small industries (just as they do to ICICI bank etc.) or not. This post is not about the debate, but I just wanted to share some of the memories on these local small industries/products.

In our town (which was near Thanjavur) there were several such soap companies – some with funny names ‘Kuruvi soap’, ‘Pon vandu’ soap etc. There were others with the owner’s initials such as ‘TGM soap’ etc. I heard that only a few of these soap companies such as TGM soap are still on the market. This industry was once very busy and profitable. Whenever I see this Bajaj tempo ad ‘Chinna Yaanai’, I remember those  delivery vans of the local companies that were buzzing around.

antiwalmart.jpgOne of my friends told me, having such small scale industry locally in villages and towns would be doing a lot to the local economy by helping other subordinate/dependent small industries to grow in and around the sorrounding towns. Money flow would be controlled within the locality and it helps the people of that area to prosper. He supported his argument saying, even Americans have realized this type of co-operative economy growth, now in some states they are trying to make sure only locally made products are available in the market and their foreign competitors (even from other American states) are restricted as far as possible. He said, there is a rising voice for “Buy local” policy and there is clearly a mindset change in America to encourage the growth of local manufacturers, see for example they have started agitating against Walmart type of chain stores for their practice of foreign product sourcing.

Talking about local brands, the one thing immediately comes to mind is Gopal Tooth Powder. I am a big fan of Gopal Palpodi – I used it till I went to highschool. I like its taste – I used to gulp it a few times while brushing in the morning.🙂 gopal_palpodi.jpgThere was one notable competitor for that by the name ‘1431 Pyorea’ tooth powder. That Pyorea tooth powder had lot of Kraambu powdered and mixed with it so much that while brushing it would give a burning sensation – I hated that but elders in our home highly recommend that.

Apart from this tooth powder, soap etc, there were lot of soda companies. This Kalimark Soda (Trio, Solo, Bovonto), Mappillai Vinayagar soda, Torino etc. There were innumerous other nameless Goli soda/Panneer soda companies. One has to taste the Goli soda atleast once – its taste somewhat different from the drinks that we have now. This was before Coke, Pepsi et al. In those times, Rasna came with a bang on the cool drinks market. Rasna juice powder in sachet packets were selling like hot cakes.

Barring a few, most of these local products have already gone to the graveyard, only a few are still alive. Those local manufacturing people didn’t appeared to have had any idea/tricks of marketing products just as the international and some national level companies now do. The local manufacturers simply target the small shops (petti kadai) in villages and just pass the product for free or with lowest possible price for the first few times. I remember a local shop owner, who was a friend of mine used to say, “I wouldn’t give order to a new product for second time, even if suddenly so many people sprang up asking for the product. I would only buy it if atleast one of my long time customers ask for it”.

Nowadays, they just float so many new products in the market so easily just like bees springing out of their hive. The overabundance of many venture capital options, media, advertising, and so on could be a major reason for such trend. On the other hand, I wonder whether these new variety of product manufacturers ever care or acknowledge the buyers at all. They only seem to be trying to make the investers believe the product is doing well in the market.  

I kind of feel this funny sometimes on some of the product names such as “Easy off bang”, “White Giant” etc. (I am not particularly against the mentioned products, i am just citing them as an example for their names thats all🙂 ) Our local women-folk who are pretty sizable in buyer population, may not even know to spell it correctly, let alone ask for it. Obviously even for literate ones, asking for such products with correctly spelling their names is difficult. Apart from the names in these new variety of products, the quality, pricing are other parameters which are clearly pushed to the backseat as low priority.  Thinking past, its really a long way in the last ten – fifteen years, life has moved along in this world.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. sangs permalink
    January 18, 2008 1:09 pm

    What about Arasan soap-romba romba nalla soap😉 and,I still do see Gopal palpodi ads on sun tv sometimes.So i think these things,despite the biggies,are trying to hold to their own🙂

  2. January 18, 2008 7:12 pm

    This post gave me a nostalgic trip to my childhood. I am from swamimalai and am a great fan of Bovonto. They are still selling it and even now whenever I go home, I will sure take it.

    Thanks for throwing some light on this topic.

    Sadish

  3. January 19, 2008 10:46 am

    Old smells great!
    The missing local brands are the forefathers of the current FMCG market. Remembering the old radio advertisements of Torino- Valga valamudan, Pon vadu ponvandu pottu paarunga, Arasan soap romba romba nalla soap.

    Nagesh’s classic – “Korangu mark soapu seepu kannadi” is a proof for the once flourishing local brands:)

  4. January 21, 2008 11:08 am

    நானும் ஒரு கும்பகோணி. எனக்கும் அந்த கோபால் பல்பொடி,பொன்வண்டு சோப்பு,காளிமார்க் சோடா ,பொவாண்டோ, அரசன் சோப் இதிலெல்லாம் ஒரு ஈர்ப்பு உண்டு. நன்றி இனிமையான நினைவுகளைப் பகிர்ந்து கொண்டதற்கு.
    கமலா

  5. January 21, 2008 9:17 pm

    @Sang: Wow, you do have a watchful eye. In other words, we see more ads than programs isn’t it…🙂

    @Sadish: Welcome Sadish. Do visit often.

    @Na.Su.Krishnan: Nagesh joke ellam nyabagam vachu kalakkareenga🙂

    @Kalyanakamala: Oh, you too from kumbakonam? Wonderful town. Thanks for visiting🙂

  6. January 21, 2008 10:50 pm

    Hi Srikanth,

    Its nice to c ur post for the local brands…..
    I like Bovanto and Panneersoda very much. Mappilai Vinayagar is very famous for the panneer soda. The good thing is Bovanto is still alive in the market along with the marketing gaints. Noone can stop them..they didn’t even have one celebrity to market their brand..The taste that stands…

    Thanx
    Kamalkanth

  7. benjamin permalink
    September 18, 2008 9:40 am

    im a manufacturing supervisor in gopal palpodi

  8. benjamin permalink
    September 18, 2008 9:42 am

    its very good product. we manufacture also anjal allupumarunthu and s.p.s.muthu marunthu and anjol candy. jet palpodi

  9. April 28, 2009 7:41 am

    Hey i was wondering does anyone know the ingredients in this stuff, in north america everything has fluoride. So i switched over to use this, i was wondering if it too hs toxic chemicals😦.
    email at rpggamer_13@hotmail.com Thanks.

    • Mrs.D permalink
      November 5, 2009 1:15 pm

      The contents of this tooth powder are as follows (in tamil)

      Kundung Kathari
      Kirambu
      Neertha Sunnam
      Kadukkai
      Lavangampattai
      Pooneer

      All are herbal , I hope they dont give any side effects🙂

      • Shane permalink
        November 25, 2010 3:56 pm

        Mrs.D,

        Those are what you just find on the cover and they are added in a very few percentage to obtain the siddha license. I shouldn’t be saying this but as an Indian i need to tell you how businesses trick you into making you feel they are all herbal. just for your thought…with these herbals how do you get the fresh feeling in your mouth that only Menthol provides……

  10. ilango permalink
    May 19, 2009 8:31 pm

    Hey i need to know if gopal palpodi has sorbitol , xylitol . these are the two major constituents of toothpaste.

    they cause all sort of digestive problems.

    i am going to switch over to gopal palpodi.

    can benjamin answer this question about sorbitol

    • Shane permalink
      November 25, 2010 3:57 pm

      Benjamin can’t answer you on this….

  11. R. NAGARAJAN permalink
    July 21, 2009 10:23 pm

    Do you have the jingles for gopal palpodi, etc.?

  12. Premkumar permalink
    August 21, 2009 8:05 am

    It is an intersting post.I lived in Sholvandan (near Madurai) for 15 years.I have used all these local brands including Gopal Palpodi.When i was reading this post and answers,i re lived my Child hood.Both localisation and globalisation has got its own advantages and disavantages.In my opinion, both should be equally present in this new world.It is also an eye opener for many local manufacturers withrespect to quality,customer service,competitive pricing etc etc .Now my life style has changed after coming in to this new world but i cannot forget those old days.Thanks for publishing such an article.

  13. Prasanna permalink
    October 8, 2009 8:13 pm

    I used to listen to the gopal palpodi ads on the radio when I was walking to school. almost all the shops on the way to school (i used to walk down station road, west mambalam, and ranganathan street to goto school) would have radios tuned to Ungal Viruppam during mornings, blaring songs/ads.

    If my memory serves me right, the gopal palpodi jingle goes like this:
    parkalai palichida vaithidume
    eerugalai kapatridume
    vainatrathai agatridume..
    gopal palpowder aamam gopal palpowder

    inthiya ilangai malaysia singapore pondra nadugalil
    eralamaga virpanai avathu..gopal palpowder

    good times. and the toothpowder really good to eat too.. (No wonder i am need to get a root canal🙂 )

  14. vino permalink
    October 15, 2009 10:31 pm

    hey guys. my one of frient she eating gopal palpowder. some time gys if u know anyones pls repplay my e-mail
    psamwesly2004@hotmail.com

  15. Mrs.D permalink
    November 5, 2009 1:11 pm

    Gopal Palpodi is the Best ! Am 8mths pregnant now and I enjoy relishing the taste of the tooth powder….I dont use it to brush my teath , but to eat it🙂

  16. mach permalink
    August 16, 2011 8:41 pm

    can i get video link for gopal pal podi advertisement ??

  17. usha permalink
    November 12, 2011 2:30 pm

    it’s very taste to eat.,
    i like to eat that gopal palpodi.,

  18. Yasar permalink
    October 21, 2013 11:02 pm

    Gopal pal podi..
    Vennira parkaluku Gopal pal podi.,

    Thechu parunga Gopal pal podi.,
    Kettu wangunga Gopal pal podi.,

    i want dis ad song in mp3 format.,

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