Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Immortal Daughters

Dads have a history of moving heaven and earth for their daughters. Mike Micka hacked an entire video game to let his daughter play saviour instead of Mario. Tom Cruise blew up 3 million pounds to hire a private jet to see his daughter Suri on her seventh birthday. Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan actually went all the way to the moon to etch the initials of his little girl (Tracy Dawn Cernan) on the lunar surface!

Entrepreneurs wow their daughters with a simple trick. They name their brands after their favourite child to give them the gift of immortality. When Karsanbhai Patel lost his daughter Nirupama to a car accident, he brought her to life again by christening his detergent as Nirma (her pet name). Just to make sure no one forgets her, he put her illustration on the pack and in the TV commercial. Result: Nirma lives in millions of households today and everyone knows her as the girl in that billowing white frock.

Steve Jobs’ case was slightly different. When he named Apple’s first ever PC as Lisa, it was to overcome his guilt as he had denied paternity in court by disclaiming the physical ability to procreate a child. So he couched it by planting stories that Lisa was an acronym for Local Integrated System Architecture. But later, he admitted that it was a nod to his daughter Lisa Nicole.

The commercial failure of Lisa brought to fore the inherent risks attached in the ‘immortalise my princess’ strategy. But the stupendous success of Barbie (nick name of Barbara, daughter of Mattel’s cofounder) doused the fire of doubt and emboldened Mattel to launch one more doll in the name of Barbara’s brother Ken!

Sara Lee, Wendy’s and Skoda Felicia are three more illustrious examples where daughter names have proved to be veritable blockbusters. The home appliances brand Usha and the fabric whitener company Jyothi Laboratories are some Indian success stories in this ‘beti brand’ genre. But fame for one daughter can cause needless sibling rivalry. The only way out of this logjam is to launch another brand in the other daughter’s name!