Pazhaniyappa Nadar (Kalimark)

  • Kalimark is the trading name of Bovonto – the native brand of Tamil Nadu that competes with International soft drink brands such as Pepsi, Coke etc.
  • It was 1916 when P V S K Pazhaniyappa Nadar and his wife, Unnamalai Ammal founded Kalimark. Today’s Virudhunagar was known as Virudhupatti during those days. This was the place that birthed this brand.
  • Pazhaniyappa Nadar’s family was originally engaged in the business of coffee powder grinding. But he didn’t show inclination in continuing this business. He wanted to start something new. During this period of searching for new business ideas, he stumbled upon Marks and Spencer’s soft drink. The drink’s packaging and the taste impressed him to the extent of inspiring an idea in him. The business idea he had been hunting for came to him – he decided to start manufacturing soft drinks.
  • He discussed this idea with his friends, and they encouraged him. With their help, he started Kalimark.
  • He started manufacturing sodas at his home and did not stop with manufacturing alone. He also put his efforts into marketing his product. One of his techniques was going to a shop and asking for a soda. If the shopkeeper gave him a soda of another brand, he would sip it, and comment “This soda isn’t up to the mark. Get Kalimark soda next time. It tastes good.”
  • The bottles for Kalimark soda were made in Germany. Gradually, people started liking the taste and quality of Kalimark. Kalimark’s sales started soaring with this increase in demand. The brand’s sales circle, which was initially limited to Virudhunagar, now expanded to Kumbakonam, Madurai, Kaaraikudi, and Chennai.
  • 1958 was the year this best-selling soda brand came up with ‘Bovonto’. Its flavour and colour won the love of the people. Soon, it became a practice for people to welcome their guests with a Bovonto.
  • Kalimark started facing trouble when the question of succession popped up. Pazhaniyappa Nadar had a big family. Naturally, it is not easy to appoint a successor, and in 1977, the family split up. It is during this time that India opened its doors for Globalisation. When international brands such as Coca Cola and Pepsi made their entry, they found it hard to compete with Bovonto.
  • The international brands were ready to spend big bucks, and started using movie stars and cricketers to advertise their brand. This impacted Bovonto’s sales greatly. It is also rumoured that in an attempt to give Kalimark an unrecoverable hit, the international brands collected the Kalimark bottles and destroyed them on a large scale.
  • Soon Coke and Pepsi started dominating the beverage industry. But Kalimark re-entered the field in 1993 when the split up family came together again. People started losing interest in Coke and Pepsi in due course, and people started giving importance to indigenous brands. In addition to this, the situation became more favourable to Kalimark, when the unions of shopkeepers banned the sale of Coke and Pepsi. From then Bovonto reclaimed its place in the market.
  • Kalimark adapted itself to the changing times by advertising and promoting the brand, and redesigning the packaging. Today Bovonto is Tamil Nadu’s favourite beverage. Its founder Pazhaniyappa Nadar continues to live in his brand.