‘Catching the Trend’- Amul Butter
You might have seen their ads and wondered laughed about the humorous take on on what is happening in the country. Amul Butter ads, are part of possibly one of the longest ad campaigns, the country has ever seen. Amul began this series of innovative ads, which are but a portrayal of a current issue through its outdoor billboards.
These ads began in the year 1966, when Amul hired Sylvester da Cunha, the managing director of an advertising agency, to design a new campaign for Amul Butter. Da Cunha developed an ad campaign with a series of hoardings, with topical ads on day to day issues. The concept was well appreciated and the ads became widely popular among the public. What began in 1966, still continues to be one of the most successful and longest ad campaigns, and it has even found mention in the Guinness Book of World Records, for the same.
The ads portray day to day affairs, which make news. Thereby the viewers of the ad are able to relate it with the current scenario. Amul has rejected the use of celebrities for advertising. The Amul cartoons portray the current issues in a light hearted fashion.
A characteristic feature of Amul ads are the catchy lines it uses. It is in sync with the cartoon and also makes a subliminal reference to Amul butter. The taglines used by Amul are catchy, and makes one laugh, at the same time, it is not offending.
The ‘Amul Girl’
da Cunha and his team wanted to create a character, that would catch the attention of every housewife in India. They thought of a little girl, and so was born the caroon character who has represented Amul and still represents the brand as a cute little 4 year old girl eating butter.
Content and Messages
Amul has always been up to date with current affairs. With all the events happening in the country, Amul has a ready and humorous reply to it. The first escalator in Mumbai in 1979, was celebrated with an ‘Automatically Amul’ tagline. When the world was fearing the Y2K collapse, the Amul girl interpreted the phenomenon as ‘Yes to Khana’.
Over the decades, the Amul girl has dealt with all the contemporary issues be it entertainment, art, politics, society, sports, technology or weather. The agency, da Cunha Communications, which gave the brand its face, is given complete autonomy over the ads. The agency claims that even the top management gets to know about the ads only after they go up on the hoardings.
News and Controversies
Some ads of Amul have created a stir in the country, and have been faced with severe political pressure. Some of the contorversial ads include ones on the Naxalite issue in West Bengal, the Air India employees strike, and the Amul Girl wearing a Gandhi cap.
The success of the longest running ad campaign, lies in Amul keeping with the times, and understanding the need of the hour. What other marketers should learn is huge ad spends does not guarantee success. Amul has shown the country and the world that with a meagre spend on outdoor ads, and by merely interpreting current issues (which are not necessarily relevant to Amul’s business) humorously, they have been able to create a brand equity, which now they leverage (for butter and other products also).