The Jugaad Connection

This has been a very busy week for the world of brands. Big brands unveiled big campaigns and some homegrown brands had spunky new ads.

A bottle or can of Coke will no longer “open happiness”; it will make you taste the feeling. Rajasthan Tourism is no longer about colours and bravery and grandeur; it’s about how the state may surprise you. Titan launched a watch that is also a smart watch.

What caught my eye were two commercials – one from an online directory brand and other from an insurance brand – which had exactly same narrative and similar appeal.’s go #AntiJugad is about this crafty inventive Mr Jugadu who has a quick solution to every problem in life; from cooler and double-blower innovation using trousers to solving power cuts at home, he has a jugaad for everything. It’s his wife who is not happy with this and threatens to leave him if he doesn’t leave jugaad! Lots of memes that are doing the rounds on internet are seen in this ad as solutions.

The other is Exide Life Insurance’s #NoMoreShortCuts. This is about Mr Jugadulal who refuses to ever see life long term; who uses trouser as double-blower for cooler, iron for induction cooker, and eventually thinks of changing because his wife, kids and parents shame him for being Jugadulal.


Two commercials with two exactly similar narratives and two brands saying the same message: that frugality is a bane of happiness, long-term thinking and progress. Jugaad is something that has been written about a lot of late. All the memes going around on the web on this subject can be seen in the two TVCs. But is jugaad all that bad? Have we reduced this to a simplistic pop culture narrative?


Frugal innovation is something that the world is looking up to in a big way. Frugality has been our way of living as we were always short of resources; even today in many parts of India, frugality is a way of life.

Large MNCs are now investing in frugal innovations. These include the mighty Unilever, Renault-Nissan and Seimens which are looking at India to craft, scale and take the innovations to global markets. So much so that world’s finest educational institutions are paying attention to what Indians are doing. Read it here if you are interested:

We all know about Mansukh Bhai Prajapati who created Mitti Cool, or a refrigerator made from clay that runs without electricity. We also know about Arunachalam Muruganantham who created homemade sanitary napkin pad making machines that is revolutionizing female health across India. Time magazine placed him in its list of 100 Most Influential People in the world in 2014.

It was an Indian company that made sachets and sold Nivaran 90 cough syrup. This revolutionized the packaged goods market where the sachets now are the major contributor.

Likes of and are doing path-breaking work in making frugal thinking work for inclusive growth. Mocking frugal mindsets may be a slightly mistaken insight.

Frugality is a way of life in India as we are a resource-starved country, where farmers and social entrepreneurs have to factor in tough market conditions. There are hundreds of stories of homegrown frugal innovations that are helping a host of Indians live a better life. To all those who think frugality is a very Indian trait, do look at Hex Robot. This is also frugality, but from the Western world.

Frugality is something that we in the world of branding should not look down upon. It’s good to have a comical take, but seriously, a lot of jugaad in India is good jugaad.

Original published here:

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