Is there anyone in this country who hasn’t seen the Amul ads on the hoardings by the road sides, and not chuckled? The longest running ad, still hasn’t lost its charm with its never-changing famous moppet in polka dotted frock and a half pony tied up.
The slogan has always been ‘Utterly Butterly delicious’. What is it about the Amul ad that has kept the viewers wanting more? The biggest success seems to be like that of the Common Man, no particular time or period could have frozen this character. It does not belong to an era. It has moved along with time reacting to the new events through time.
46 years of Ad Campaign
In 1966, Sylvester DeCanha, who was the managing director of the advertisement agency, ASP, got the account for AMUL. The country saw the birth of a campaign whose charm has endured fickle public opinion, gimmickry and all else. Eustace Fernandez (the art director) and Sylvester decided to create a character that would charm the attention of every house wife in the country. They thought of a little girl and so it came about that the famous Amul Moppet was born. And she has always remained the cute little 4-year-old girl eating butter.
In October that year,in the city of Mumbai on many lamp kiosks and the bus sites the ad of the little moppet on a horse were displayed. The baseline said ‘Thorough bread, Utterly Butterly Delicious Amul’. It was a matter of just a few hours before the daCunha office was ringing with calls. Not just adults, even children were calling up to say how much they had liked the ads. And that was a clear indication of how successful this campaign was going to be.
Conveying a message
Through all the events taking place in the country, Amul always had a reply to it. It is up to date with current affairs. The first escalator in Mumbai in 1979 was celebrated with a slogan ‘Automatically Amul’. When the city witnessed a power shortage, the Amul girl said ‘Ta ta power?, Amul, Unlimited Supply’. When the Mumbai police were dealing with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar in cases ranging from extortion to cheating and forgery in May this year, the hoarding simply said ‘Haseena Maan Jayegi?’ In the early ‘90s, when the colas were getting popular, the tongue-in-cheek remark was ‘Eat the Real Thing’. When the world feared a collapse on Y2K, Amul girl interpreted the phenomenon as ‘Yes to Khana’.
The Amul girl, apart from promoting a $1-billion brand, has been bringing smiles to millions. And this smile has spelt a huge success and changed the livelihood of over 2.5 million Gujarat farmers. The sales figures of Amul butter have jumped from a few lakh rupees in 1966 to over Rs 500 crore now. Apart from rapid growth and trustworthiness, the four-year-old girl has also ensured a virtual monopoly for Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) that sells Amul brand of dairy products.
In the last four decades, the girl has dealt with all the contemporary issues – be it politics, sports, society, entertainment, art, weather, infrastructure, science or technology. But despite the cut throat competition in FMCG sector, GCMMF is not spending more than Rs 2 crore on Amul butter advertisements annually on the country’s oldest running campaign. The agency, daCunha Communications, which gave a face to brand Amul, doesn’t need to run to the client every time for getting the art work approved. The agency claims that even the top management comes to know about the art work when the advertisement goes on the hoardings.
From the Sixties to the Nineties, the Amul ads have come a long way. While most people agree that the Amul ads were at their peak in the Eighties they still maintain that the Amul ads continue to tease a laughter out of them.
Where does Amul’s magic actually lie? Many believe that the charm lies in the catchy lines. That we laugh because the humour is what anybody would enjoy. They don’t pander to your nationality or certain sentiments. It is pure and simple, everyday fun.
The success story of Amul says one thing to all the other ad campaigns that did not manage to last too long or had to get a whole new look in order to stay in the market. Its a mixture of keeping with the times, humor and understanding the need of the hour of the people. Amul boardings are a thing of attractions in India.