When Betty Botter said that a bit “of better butter will but make my butter better”, she was probably thinking Amul . This co-operative organization was a catalyst for the Indian ‘White Revolution’ and now has a turnover of USD$1.05 bn.
Amul is one of India’s most resounding success stories, and due to its advertising, one of the most heartening. Marketing expenditure is only about 1% of total turnover. Yet the brand name is ubiquitous because it has for so long captured the Indian Zeitgest, or spirit of the age. Amul’s USP is that it is quintessentially Indian, and its 30yr+campaign focuses on issues important to the common man, the ‘aam aadmi’: sports, politics, pop culture, religion and festivals, and the trials of daily life.
I’ve been up all night, caffeine-free, going through their entire ad archive , and I’d like to share some of my favourites.
The first few speak about Indo-Soviet relations, the next lot about America, the next few are clips from pop culture, snippets from sports, Indian life, festivals & religion, the Indo-Pak conflict, and finally newsmakers.
I love this. I am in awe of what technology can achieve, but I love this. Pencils & crayons, a mischievous mind, and an uncanny ability to tap into the mass mindset; that’s all it took to seize the public’s imagination. And we weren’t just ephemeral captives; thirty years on, my mom still talks about the Amul ‘butter baby’ ads. Amul was a pioneer in the sphere of Indian advertising; they set a precedent of wit and gentle self-mocking that still resonates today.
*Some readers may not get a few of the ads, as they deal either with uniquely subcontinental issues (such as the great load-shedding), and/or the punchlines may be a pun in Hindi/Urdu. Apologies for this, readers are welcome to shoot me questions in the comments section.
Utterly butterly yours,