Branding the ‘Thaggu’ way

Boardrooms talk about creativity and innovative Branding to support marketing. Here we see some creativity at grass root level in Indian businesses.

Those who have seen the famous Bollywood movie, ‘Bunty aur Babli’, may be well aware of ‘Thaggu ke Laddu’. The name translates as ‘Sweets from a cheat’ and this small shop in Kanpur also has an interesting slogan – ‘aisa koi saga nahin, jisko humne thaga nahin’ (We loot even our relatives, we spare no one).

Bollywood Famous Thaggu

The shop enjoys plenty of fame locally, and Bollywood lyricist Gulzar only added to it by borrowing their slogan for a song in the film ‘Bunty aur Babli.’ But the wonders of Thaggu ke Laddu goes much beyond its cinematographic fame.

Thaggu ke slogans

Thaggu ke Laddus as well known for its laddus as for its unique style of promotion. They constantly use topical stories as slogans based on national issues that attract a lot of attention from all over India.

Matha Panday, alias Ram Avtar, owner of the shop, told us that there’s more to the name than just a publicity gimmick to pull the crowd. “When I landed in Kanpur 60 years back, I had attended the speech of Mahatma Gandhi, where Gandhi Ji described sugar as the “white poison” because of its unhealthy qualities. His words put me in a dilemma. Being a follower of Gandhi, I wondered how I could prepare laddus without sugar. So I decided to be true to my customers and tell them I was using poison, and called my shop Thaggu ke Laddu”, he revealed. Basis of which is, “We make sweet laddus but without sugar and we prefer to keep it that way”.

Badnaam Kulfi and Communist Puri

Everything else at the shop has been just as brilliantly branded as the shop itself. Laddus are called Election Special Laddus or Bhaashan Bhog, with the slogan that says, “especially made for politicians, one laddu is enough to deliver a one-hour speech or eat two if you have a longer speech”.

Badaam Kulfi (almond icecream) is called, with a play on words,  Badnaam Kulfi (Infamous Ice cream). “Interestingly, kulfis are always sold on the footpath and things that are born on footpath are always infamous,”.

Of course even pooris, called Communist Pooris, have a very interesting story here. “In 1960, when the communist party was fully active, pooris were the cheapest food available in the shop. This was the only food that everybody could afford, it was a food for the masses, truly reflecting the communist party’s ideals ”.

Branding that just worked for Thaggu

The stories, the slogans, the branding and delicious sweets at this shop won’t simply fill your stomach with excessive “white poison”, but put a smile on your face. And for the first time, you will be happy to be robbed by a thug.

Satyam is a Consultant with Infosys Ltd. and editor / founder of When he is not talking about Digital Marketing or dreaming of CRM strategies, he can be found on a treadmill. He enjoys travelling, reading and listening to music! Catch up with him on twitter at @xatyam