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The year was 1966, Sylvester daCunha of daCunha Communications had been awarded the account of Amul Butter by the legendary Dr Verghese Kurien during their meeting in Anand, Gujarat. In their brief meeting, he was able to convince Dr Kurien about creating a light-hearted communication style for Amul Butter, which was against the existing norms of advertising through serious communication for food products.

Dr Kurien put faith into the ideas of this gentleman and gave him a free hand to create what is today known and loved by everyone as the “Amul Girl” or “Amul Moppet”. The Amul girl who lends herself so completely to Amul butter was created as a rival to the Polson butter girl. Eustace Fernandez (the art director) and Sylvester decided that a girl was needed who would worm her way into a housewife's heart. “And who better than a little girl?" says daCunha. And so the famous Amul Moppet was born with her first set of words “Utterly Butterly Delicious”, which would become the three most iconic words for the brand.

First Amul Topical

The first Amul Butter topical featuring the Amul Girl was released in the summer of 1966 on Charni Road, Bombay, and it has continued its journey for more than 50 years against the test of time. The Amul Girl has been a spectator of the developing India and has stood witness to it through its narratives. The Amul girl with her wide-eyed innocence is a counterpoint to her stinging wit; her young looks are balanced by her weighty statements. She has commented about every spectacle that has taken place – politics, international news, sports, music and cinema. She is loved by one and all, across age groups, socio-economic demography and cultures.

Amul Topical in 1966

Rahul daCunha, son of Sylvester daCunha and Creative Head, daCunha communications shares, “It all started off with butter messaging, but after a point, there’s only that much you can say about butter on a hand-painted outdoor hoarding. So my father decided to run some zingy messaging that touched upon current affairs and topical events, including everything from the weather to festivals and events such as the Derby, giving people food for thought. It was only in the ’80s and ’90s that we saw the birth of politicians, actors and cricketers as caricatures that people talked about. That was the birth of the celebrity-hood and of popular culture as we know it. It was also when the Amul ads started taking a more edgy, satirical turn.”

During the 1960s, one topical was made in a month; it increased in the ’70s and ’80s to one topical every fortnight and in the ’90s it increased to one a week; and now almost five topicals are released in a week. Our audience is the multitasking, up-to-date and opinionated 16-25-year-olds who see the world through their smartphones and have really short attention spans. Therefore our agency works tirelessly to create engaging content to trigger conversations around the topic, brand and the consumer.

I joined Amul in 1982 and had the opportunity to work under the direct guidance and mentorship Dr Kurien. Over the three decades of my service we ensured that the values cherished by Dr Kurien, such as integrity, dedication, courage, honesty, commitment to farmers and to consumers, remained deeply ingrained in the culture of Amul. Our agency is familiar with our value systems and therefore our Amul Girl is often shown encouraging such individuals or acts while it comments sharply against those who fail them.

It is said for any campaign, success can only be measured through top-of-mind recall; and the Amul Girl has been instrumental in providing this association to the brand Amul and its 400+ products. The Amul girl has given the brand the image of a precious, ‘priceless’ product that the consumer can trust completely.

This has been possible only because few right steps were taken by the legendary Dr Kurien and we continued to follow:

  • No interference in creative or the selection of topic by client.
  • Consistency in communication style.
  • Consistency in the team. It is the longest running client-agency relationship, which has been pivotal for strengthening the campaign.
  • Adapting the topical to the ever-changing communication media from billboards to print to TV and social media.

And all this has been possible as we worked upon the words of Dr Kurien, “I realise how wise a decision it was to give complete freedom to the ad agency to do their job in a professional way.”

The result, the Amul Topical campaign is the longest-running advertising campaign in the world on billboards, which is winning hearts every day for Amul.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BuzzInContent and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)