From Garage to Practically all Indian Homes: Read the Success Story of India’s Largest Paint Company

In 1942, when Indians were writing a glorious chapter in India’s freedom struggle through the civil disobedience movement, four friends in Bombay were forming a paints manufacturing company in a small garage.

The idea was born after the British placed a short-lived ban on importing paints. This which left the country with very few options. So, Champaklal Choksey, Chimanlal Choksi, Suryakant Dani, and Arvind Vakil decided to enter a less travelled road and translate their ambitions into reality with ‘Asian Oil and Paint Company Private Limited’, apparently the first Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Project.

Today, this company, with a random name that was derived from a telephone directory, has gained a 53 per cent market share in India and is Asia’s third-largest paint company.

The ‘Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Kehta Hai’ tagline we all remember from the television ads that played. It reiterates their theory of providing thousands of colour shades, themes, textures and patterns to its entire customer range.

There is an unsaid rule that entrepreneurs and startups should make intrusions in every corner possible with their product or service. This strategy was the main reason behind Asian Paints massive popularity three years later in 1945. The company made tiny paint packets as compared to the giant tins to simplify and speed up the distribution process across the country. It tied up with small distributors in every corner of the country.

The desi company had measured a revenue of Rs 3.5 lakh in the same year with just five colour choices — black, white, red, blue and yellow. This trick helped them pick a steady pace, and by 1952, the annual turnover of Asian Paints was Rs 23 crore.

In 1954, the paint giant decided to go all out and initiate a marketing campaign that would reflect their theory. This strategy was a way to make sure the customers remained loyal.

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

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

Gattu soon became the face of a pocket-friendly Tractor Distemper and gave a broad audience in middle-class households. The tagline “Don’t lose your temper, use Tractor Distemper” changed people’s perspective in many ways.

The plan worked, and the sales increased tenfold over the next four years. The rapid growth gave them their first plant in Bhandup. There has been no looking back since.

The Success Mantra

Being constant in quality but adjusting to current market trends and developments is one of the biggest reasons for the company’s exponential growth.

Whether it was its first-ever TV advertisement in 1984, a product in the early 90s or establishing call-centre operations and a website as early as 1998-99, Asian Paints has always been ahead of time by envisioning the future trends.

Remember when Deepika Padukone campaigned the issue of indoor pollution and promoted the non-pollutant colour ‘ Royale Atmos’? It earned a great deal of attention and reestablished the trust in the company paints that are safe for everyone.

Another reason that includes to its impressive strides is how they are were never afraid of trying. Of the few companies that began before independence, Asian Paints has managed to stay relevant to this day. Not just that, it has also become one of the most sought-after companies across the world.