Bisleri, Colgate and the Honda Activa

Added in: Features


Ever noticed how most of us ask for a ‘Bisleri’ instead of a bottle of water. How the market is flooded with fake brands called ‘Biloori’, whose labels look similar to the brand of packaged water that, at one point of time, wanted you to play safe. How someone who cares about you will always suggest drinking only ‘Bisleri’ when you travel. How even the waiters in some restaurants still ask, “Sir, normal water or Bisleri?”

colgate1 India Daily Life

The same holds true for something else that has produced poster boys across India who think it’s cool to roam around the neighborhood with a toothbrush in their foam filled mouth, Colgate. Walk into any local supplies shop and if you encounter anyone who is there to buy toothpaste, they’d ask for a Colgate. Even when they need a different brand, they’d ask for the Colgate made by brand XYZ. Some grey haired folks are still stuck with the habit of asking their middle aged kids, if they did some Colgate before eating breakfast or just when they are about to hit the bed. We might be forgetting Cadbury here, are we? Anyways..

2013 Honda Activa HET (15)

Something new has joined this league of extraordinary brands which make a particular commodity synonymous with their brand name. This product though belongs to the automotive world and entered the Indian market at a time when another manufacturer who specialized in making scooters decided to shift focus towards motorcycles. For the last 14 years since launch, the Honda Activa has been so popular, people queue up for months to buy not an exotic piece of machinery but a gearless scooter. The Activa has been lapped up by many for the simplicity of use it offers while also being reliable at the same time. Some extended families I know have a fleet of these machines parked in the courtyard for anyone in the house to just come down running, push the button and scoot away. Travel to any part of the country where the terrain is flat and you’d see these little Honda machines in swarms. A particular business community in Bombay swears by the Activa, for it helps transporting their goods from one part of the city to another on the flat footboard by day. Whereas after dark, an extended fabricated seat behind the grab rail ensures the young family can venture out for some ice cream in the night without the need to lug around the flashy BMW.

For a review of the Honda Activa 125, click here

2013 Honda Activa HET (14)

The Honda Activa isn’t a revolutionary product. However, it is a surprise to see so many of our fellow countrymen, women and teenagers astride one. We aren’t sure if it’s the Honda tag or that bullet-proof engine and mechanicals which has made this product so popular. Although ease of use certainly isn’t the only reason people buy these as there are similar products in the market which offer that, most of them at a lesser price. Whatever it might be, the Honda Activa for sure activates some switch within Indians for us to be buying them in so many numbers. A recent incident confirms the popularity of the brand, where during a conversation, a man who bought a scooter which wasn’t an Activa said, “I was about to buy the Honda, but I bought this Activa by manufacturer XYZ because Honda guys don’t offer a metal body.”

Such is the popularity of this scooter, even when travelling to a place like Goa, the first question you ask yourself is, from where will you pick that Activa?

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  • swap says:

    Would someone like if Mr Karan was referred as Ms. Kiran. You should respect the name Mumbai Mr. Karan. Good article though

  • rohit says:

    I don’t think people refer mopeds to as activa! The most common name that come’s along with mopeds are scooty ! Even today my mother who rides an Access ask me ” where are my scooty keys” though she had never owned a sxooty before! Yes but before scooty was launched in the market the name commonly referred to the mopeds was kinetic!!

  • Completely agree to Subhendu’s view – a whole lot of people refer to Activa/Deo/Swish/Access as Scooty itself. Though times have changed and the sales of Scooty has dwindled to much lower levels, the brand has continued to remain in the minds of the Indian consumer.
    Ever thought none of the Xerox (say photocopies) that we do currently is done on an actual Xerox device? Rather Canon/HP/Brother or other companies have dominated the space, but we still ask for Xerox at the local shop.
    Hence, choosing Activa over brand Scooty would be unfair!

  • Krips says:

    Yes. As far as my experience goes, people say ‘Hero ka Scooty’ or ‘Honda ka Scooty’.. I never heard Activa being used as generic name. By market share, yes Activa is big, but mind share, still Scooty word rules.

  • We agree with you Subhendu but as you rightly mentioned, it was before the Activa arrived.