• This is India! 144

This is India! 144

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Hippie in Heels.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I’ll start with what I read. I finished The Husband’s Secret and it did have a twist – really glad I read it and it’s definitely the same vibe as her other book, Big Little Lies. Next, I read Yellow Crocus and it really was an eye-opening look at slavery in the USA and how slaves helped raise the owner’s children. It was hard to read because it was so sad to think about, but I think everyone should know this story. I then read The Girls by Emma Cline which was an intense book about a young girl joining a cult which takes on a Charles Manson vibe. I read this so fast because it was just something you couldn’t put down. I just started Norwegian By Night but am having a hard time getting into it. 
  • I got back from Florida and spent the weekend up at Lake Erie with my family. After that, it was just chilling in Ohio, a family reunion in Cinci, and going back up to Erie to go fishing for walleye on my dad’s boat. 
  • I’ve started a monthly newsletter that will have some more up to date news since my blog posts are always so far behind. I might stop sending out the weekly emails that sum up my blog posts since you can just come to my blog website and see them :) If you read this from your email, and still want the emails please comment that in the comments of this post so I know.

Now your story,

How have I never told you it’s illegal to advertise alcohol in India!?

India has banned so many things, and advertising alcohol is just one of them. But that doesn’t mean you don’t see advertisements, it just means they are more clever!

goa monsoon anjuna

One of my favorite ads is a commercial on the TV for a CD you can buy sponsored by Sula Wine… but when you search this CD it doesn’t even exist. 

This is a form of advertising called Surrogate advertising and it’s a real thing.

Surrogate advertising is a form of advertising which is used to promote banned products, like cigarettes and alcohol, in the disguise of another product. This type of advertising uses a product of a fairly close category, as: club soda, mineral water in case of alcohol, or products of a completely different category (for example, music CD’s or playing cards) to hammer the brand name into the heads of consumers. The banned product (alcohol or cigarettes) may not be projected directly to consumers but rather masked under another product under the same brand name, so that whenever there is mention of that brand, people start associating it with its main product (the alcohol or cigarette). In India there is a large number of companies doing surrogate advertising, from Bacardi Blast music CD’s, Bagpiper Club Soda to Officers Choice playing cards.

You feel like everywhere you look are advertisements for alcohol in India, but if you look closely that is not what’s being advertised in the commercial, on the billboard, or well, anywhere. Alcohol brands host award shows, festivals, CDs, mineral water, and club soda. You can read more about it here

But when I say they advertise through water, I literally mean they sell water and advertise their brand that way when everyone knows they are advertising booze. Here’s an example for Fosters:

One very popular advertisement is for the Kingfisher calendar. Kingfisher is the local beer and it’s logo is painted on nearly every home and shop along Anjuna. The calendar features a different girl each month. Their whole advertising goal is to team up with anything that seems like “a good time”, their motto.

Kingfisher even teamed up with 5 teams from the IPL (Indian cricket team) and basically sponsors them, and they get advertising (this is kind of like how names of brands are on the side of cars in NASCAR).

This is their Facebook page, currently:

kingfisher india

The article above mentions the Johnny Walker Awards for Excellence, which is a way for them to advertise their Whiskey by giving out awards to people for their achievements in their career and life. 

In case you’re wondering, the ad below is for Hayward’s Beer… but it’s all about their new academy and how it will change your life.

But this one is really where it’s at. An ad for Blender’s Pride fashion tour… as they finally say at the end. Lol, I love it!


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. P Mandal July 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    cigarettes & alcohol are not banned products in India but only its promotion & advertising are banned.

    • Rachel Jones July 17, 2017 at 12:11 am - Reply

      Yes, that is the point of this post…(?)

      • Pradipta July 17, 2017 at 8:26 pm - Reply

        :D I mentioned something stupid, haha

  2. Christine July 17, 2017 at 7:06 am - Reply

    I especially enjoy your “This Is India” stories and I do like your emails. I fear that for me “out of view= out of mind” would happen to me. I’ve been reading your emails for several years due to you frequently travel to places I had experienced years ago. I compare for changes. I seems compiling a monthly newsletter is the popular thing for bloggers to do now-a-days, I just hope you don’t do this exclusively and lose your popular edge.

    • Rachel Jones July 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks for letting me know Christine!! I will keep the emails for the time being :) Thanks so much!

  3. Thursa July 20, 2017 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel, I like getting the email digest but I could subscribe with RSS if not. Your ‘This is India’ posts are my favourite too, I love reading about everyday life there.

    • Rachel Jones July 20, 2017 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      Hi Thursa! Thanks for letting me know. I hope more interesting things happen in Goa so I have more India stories to tell haha!

  4. Anne Shearer August 11, 2017 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Funny how advertising works in different countries, eh? Here in Canada when I was growing up you could advertise hormonal birth control but you couldn’t say explicitly what it was (and I don’t think you can still), whereas they could advertise condoms as long as I can remember and say what they were openly (something vaguely sexist there…) Alcohol advertising is permitted and cigarette ads are against the law unless they are promoting an anti-smoking message.

    What I found interesting was (according to my boyfriend) India has no ban on condom or birth control advertisements. I guess I just assumed since censorship is quite heavy and there is a big stigma surrounding premarital relations that they would not. Quite a surprising country there :)

    • Rachel Jones August 11, 2017 at 9:19 am - Reply

      How interesting! and I actually never thought about it but you’re right there are condom ads and they are so awkward here lol! the birth control ads for “unwanted” kill – me! I can’t believe they named the new Indian birth control that lol. The first time I went to the chemist to buy Yaz, they thought it was for the morning after pill and said “abortion pill?”

      • Anne Shearer August 12, 2017 at 1:25 am - Reply

        It’s right to the point, isn’t it? ‘Unwanted,’ lol. It’s good to know they advertise it though. Maybe eventually the stigma around them will lower because of it. Or maybe I’m just optimistic because I work in the industry. Fascinating stuff though!

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