The two brands have released a slew of innovative umbrellas and have cleverly marketed their brand with catchy ad campaigns since the 90s.

Watch Tracing the rise of Popy and Johns the umbrella kings of Kerala
news Business Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 18:53

In Kerala, monsoon showers are almost synonymous with Popy and John’s, the two umbrella brands which the state is obsessed with. For over 2 decades now, the two umbrella manufacturers have been able to entice their buyers and carve a huge market for themselves in the state. However, what many don’t know is that the fierce rivals go way back and are part of the same family. 

Way before the birth of Popy and John’s was the St George’s Umbrella mart, which was founded by Thayyil Abraham Varghese, the original umbrella tycoon of Alapuzha. When Abraham Varghese passed away, he left no succession plan and his two sons continued the umbrella business until they parted ways in 1995. 

In 1995, the St George Umbrella mart was dissolved and the two Varghese sons founded Popy and John’s. Today John’s is headed by Joseph Thayyil, and Popy by his cousin Davis Thayyil. Both are grandsons of Thayyil Abraham Varghese. Over the years, both have managed to outdo each other with their umbrellas,  in terms of quality and creativity. 

Among the most creative umbrellas by John’s is the Star Wars umbrella (adults and kids version), John’s blast - a water gun umbrella for kids and FRP (Fibre reinforced plastic) umbrellas which do not break easily. Popy also introduced a host of products including a blue tooth umbrella, soft drink bottle umbrella (where the umbrella has to be pulled out of a soft drink shaped cover), MP4 umbrellas etc. 

The brands also owe their success to the stream of catchy ad campaigns which began from the 90s. While John’s came up with an ad campaign called Kunjaja (a name coined for rains), Popy released their Mazha Mazha Kuda Kuda jingle which became a monster hit. John’s also experimented with product based campaigns and Popy released several memorable ads including Ayyappante Amma, Ente Mazhekku Ente Popy etc. 

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