The ointment's core offering as a burn remedy is now popularly used to denote the discomfort bought on by figurative burns, the likes of envy and jealousy.
Pharma company, Dr. Morepen's Burnol, the over sixty-year-old household burn-relief ointment, is now part of social media culture and common conversations, complete with Twitter hashtag - #Burnol. While Burnol, as a product, is perennially used to treat burn injuries, a parallel narrative poses the ointment's identity as a solution for figurative burns, ones caused by feelings of envy or jealousy.
Social media posts are rife with the mentions of the term 'Burnol moment', especially in posts which are slightly political in nature. For example, a populist step taken by the Modi-led BJP government would be a 'Burnol moment' for leaders of the opposition and its supporters and vice-versa.
A similar scene could be seen among cricket fans - MS Dhoni's successful inning on the field could count as a 'Burnol moment' for his naysayers.
Apart from popular discourse, in the past, media houses have also used the 'Burnol moment' in their reportage.
However, what's remarkable about the development is the way it has organically grown over the years while keeping the brand's core idea of curing burns intact.
Another popular example of such an etymology could very well be the 'Kodak moment' influenced by ad copies of the brand's commercials from the early 90s. A 'Kodak moment' is the perfect life moment captured in a photograph. It could be the other way round if Burnol actually uses the 'Burnol moment' influence in one of its commercials.
However, unlike Kodak, in Burnol's case, the development seems to have been completely unintentional and unplanned.
Twitter, among other social media platforms, is abuzz with an 'L-shaped' ad of Burnol running on a news channel along a news item about the on-going Modi-Mamata tussle. While there is no way to ascertain if this was a coincidence or if the brand and the media agency planned to buy the spot depending on the exact context and news subject, this has definitely added fuel to the fire.
Rajesh Lalwani, CEO, Scenario Consulting says, "Once upon a time, life was not meant to be taken so seriously. For small burns that one encountered at home, Burnol was a handy remedy. Such was the power of the brand that 'Itna mat jal, Burnol laga le' was colloquially used in sarcasm when friends smelled jealousy. Ditto for small 'figurative' burns that life left you to deal with. Today, the term is back as the 'Burnol Moment'."
While Lalwani maintains that the connect with Burnol as a cure for burns - real or figurative - remains strong and valid, the brand should do nothing to disturb.
"Some things work because they are raw and untouched by sophistication and artificial flavouring. An intervention by the brand to propel the message may give it a short-term jump in mentions but might also make the mention monotonous and boring," Lalwani adds.
Brand and consumer expert Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy considers it a great development for Dr. Morepen's brand and what it stands for. "...albeit, in a hilarious way, it has caught the imagination of a whole country and its media. So, in my view, let it ride. Let it be and enjoy the free publicity," Swamy says.
"The 'Burnol moment' has become local currency. This is a pretty rare phenomenon in the lifetime of any brand since it usually cannot be forced. So, any publicity is good even if sometimes the context seems a bit negative. I am sure it has helped raise TOM (top-of-mind) awareness and brand recall. Also, people can see the humour in the coinage, so all this being in the news and being tweeted in the context of big names, is not at all a bad thing," she adds.
"Some of Burnol's taglines, historically, 'jalega toh sirf Burnol hi chalega' and 'keep it handy, you don't know when you may need it' may be the very reason that the 'Burnol moment' came up in local lingo. If the company wants to leverage its newsworthiness by integrating it into its communication, it would have to be done in a light-hearted, witty, tongue-in-cheek manner rather than a serious heavy-handed effort. Otherwise, just leave it be," Swamy signs off.
"What could be better than having epic 'fan jargon' associated with your brand? Unless it is used in a manner which is detrimental for the brand image, then the brand would need to take corrective steps. But if used in context, then yes, just let it be," says Sunila Karir, founder and creative partner, Boing!
"If it is used very cleverly then why not jump on the opportunity? Great idea, great timing," Karir says with regard to using the phenomenon in an ad.