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Reliance Retail banks on BPL's high brand recall to get customers into the store

Reliance Retail has acquired the licence to manufacture and market BPL. Brand experts explain the strategy behind the acquisition and why it won't be difficult for Reliance Retail to revive the brand

Creating a brand from scratch is a cost-intensive project and it still may not guarantee success. But acquiring the licence for manufacturing and marketing a once cult but currently a redundant brand may make the customer acquisition journey easy. 

One of India's leading retailers Reliance Retail is hoping for the same with its acquisition of BPL, the consumer electronics brand name that once ruled the consumer's brand perception. 

Giving insights into the likely strategy of Reliance Retail for acquiring this iconic brand, Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and former marketing head of PepsiCo India and HP Asia-Pacific, said, “This was a hugely popular brand in the ’80s and ’90s when the consumer durables market in India was ruled by three Indian players — BPL, Onida and Videocon. It is a good sign that it is coming back. Now Reliance has got the brand. They will use the name to brand some of their products that are part of Reliance Retail. They are using the equity of BPL, which was sold by the original owners, the Nambiars.” 

“A lot of nostalgia and quality is associated with BPL. Instead of launching your own brand, it is a nice way to rekindle people’s memories. People will be happy to know BPL is back. However those who are aware would know it is just Reliance using an old brand name,” Mathias added. 

Sridhar Ramanujam, Founder and CEO of Brand-Comm, said on his first day in advertising in 1983, the first client he worked on was BPL. “I have a lot of regard for the brand and for nearly 15 years in different capacities, I have worked on the brand in different agencies. BPL was an amazing brand and everything was by the competitive framework, etc. Every South Indian household had at least one BPL TV. Their televisions were a leader in terms of image and quality. They had amazing equity with consumers.” 

Ramanujam further spoke about the expected reception of the brand now that it has been relaunched and said he expects them to do really well in the South. 

“BPL has its base in Kerala and their corporate headquarters are in Bangalore. They are very recognised here. However, I am not sure if they can be the market leaders again. They will be a significant niche player in certain markets and with certain sets of consumers. The older consumers will resonate with it,” he said. 

The brand has already started teasing the consumers with their ads on print and social media.

The development has excited loyal consumers of the brand that once ruled the electronics market in India.


According to estimates, BPL was India's first television company to cross the million mark sales in volume. Every household had at least one BPL product that people were proud to own. Many households continue to have BPL products in kitchens and living rooms, and the return will trigger nostalgia and appeal among consumers, brand experts say.

The rise and fall of BPL

Launched in 1963, and promoted by TPG Nambiar of the BPL group, the brand went on to become one of the most recognised names in India.

However, several factors led to its fall. After liberalisation, many brands such as LG and Samsung entered the market. The brand was finding it difficult to compete with these brands that were offering a good price. Some also say family disputes led to its flagship consumer business coming down.

BPL had a successful partnership with Japanese electronics brand Sanyo since 1982, which ended after an earthquake caused extensive damage to Sanyo’s semi-conductor manufacturing facilities in Japan in 2005.

The company then went on to manufacture medical electronics and continues to be a leader in the category. They specialise in making monitors and ECG machines.

However, in 2015, BPL and Flipkart began an exclusive partnership. BPL launched a few television sets for Flipkart. But in 2017, BPL scrapped the deal. They later joined hands with Amazon to sell their TVs, air-conditioners and washing machines.

Some old ads of the brand

BPL’s famous tagline, ‘Believe in the best’, and ads are still remembered by consumers decades later.

In the ’90s when the company was competing with foreign brands, it signed Amitabh Bachchan as a brand ambassador to push the nationalistic sentiment. In fact, this was said to be the actor’s first TV commercial and became popular during that era.


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