Mumbai Memoir- ‘Utterly Butterly Mumbai!’
Driving through Mumbai during peak traffic hours creates a ‘slow motion’ life for commuters in a jet pace world of today. At such times one seeks for positive distractions from around. As one waits for the signal to turn green, various advertising hoardings and billboards displayed across the stretch of the city acts as mediums of ‘colourful infotainment’! Adverts of Bollywood films, electronic goods, retail cloth stores, various consumer goods etc. are seen tucked at every available space of the city.
As the city wakes and sleeps each day, fresh adverts are put up and ripped off as consumers decide the fate of the market trend. But one advertise that has become iconic of Mumbai’s urban skyline is that of ‘Amul Butter’! It is a ‘tweet’ in physical format that attracts the attention of every Mumbai’kar who loves to seek witty, humorous and intellectual one-liners. The advertisement informs us about the happenings of the world which is brilliantly conveyed through the cute Amul moppet girl.It is the longest running ad campaign in the world which has been formally recognised by Guinness Book of World Records!
The journey of this ad campaign started from Mumbai (then known as Bombay). An ad agency (ASP Communications) was hired to promote butter that was manufactured by a Gujarat based diary product co-operative enterprise named Anand Milk Federation Union Limited (AMUL). The butter was already in the market since 10 years but lacked brand value. It was only from 1966, when ASP communications took over the branding process, that the butter started becoming a house hold name. Dr. Verghese Kurien, the Founder-Chairman of AMUL had given the ad agency full freedom to execute on his behalf as the campaign’s popularity snowballed across India. Even today the campaign continues to attract attention as it enters its 50th year of success! To view the Amul Butter ads journey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpywT4W4kH4
Sylvester and Rahul Da’cunha, a father son duo are the master minds behind the campaign. Nisha Da’cunha (Sylvester’s wife) helped on improvising the tagline. From ‘Simply the Best’! to ‘Utterly, butterly delicious- Amul’! The ‘butterly’ part was non-grammatical but the team felt it to be catchy and released it anyways! Eustace Fernandes, cartoonist and original visualizer of the Amul moppet girl, gave a ‘face’ to the campaign. He is the creator of the cute, impish, polka dot frock clad little girl which the consumers started referring as the ‘Amul butter girl’!
The advertisement is quoted in various business schools as a classic example of product brand management, advertising and public relation. 6000 plus hoardings have been put up since its inception and is still going strong! Topicality is the main ingredient of the ad, which is the core element of the campaign’s longevity. The theme of the ad is derived from local, national or international current affairs and is cleverly linked with consumption of their butter product. Due to this approach, the ‘well informed’ onlooker can easily connect, both with the product as well as the wit, humour and subtle message which the ad attempts to convey as ‘infotainment’. Here’s a video link to few of the Amul butter hoarding ads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSg0VUoPX60&sns=em
Since my growing years I have admired the Amul butter ads that are strategically displayed at various traffic junctions all over Mumbai city. It acts as a positive distraction from all the buzzing traffic around and also serves as a quick update on some specific news. I am amazed as to how a rural project started in 1946 is influencing the urban population of India even today. AMUL is an Indian dairy cooperative, based at Anand in the state of Gujarat, India. Today the brand is managed by Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), which is jointly owned by 3 million milk producers in Gujarat! Here’s a video link about the project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DUhmAuwFBg&sns=em
Under the leadership of Dr. Verghese Kurien, the project economically empowered the rural population of Gujarat thus kick starting India’s White Revolution, which made the country the world’s largest producer of milk and milk products! One of their products being Amul Butter! The first ever AMUL butter ad hoarding introduced in Mumbai read ‘Give us this day our daily bread: With Amul Butter’- Utterly Butterly Delicious! Since then this butter product not only is adding culinary joy at breakfast, but its advertisement is also adding intellectual joy to millions of Mumbai’kars who buzz around the city to earn their daily ‘bread and butter’!