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Amul – ye butter hai ya twitter?

Amul – ye butter hai ya twitter?

Amul butter’s advertising makes for fascinating reading. One, because it’s so different from the rest of Amul advertising. And two, because it’s possibly one of the longest running campaigns in India transitioning from pre-doordarshan era to the world of Facebook and Twitter retaining the same freshness!

There is some learning for brands at the meeting point of the above two.

Amul – ye butter hai ya twitter?
Let’s look at the first one. Amul’s pre-dominant story for the consumer has been around Milk and the brand’s Indianness. Over rival brands – mostly multinational, it gives Amul a huge advantage. Few come close to the dairy credentials the brand has. And it very smartly helps Amul drive marketing for its diverse portfolio with one master-brand communication – The taste of India.

Amul – ye butter hai ya twitter?
It’s easy to see why that’s powerful. Milk in our culture is beyond mere nourishment. And the giver of milk – be it the mother or cow is treated reverentially. Combine this with the public sector welfare story backdrop Amul has and you have makings of a super power brand.

Interestingly however, Amul butter does not overtly refer to it’s milk credentials or even tries to be Indian in quite the same way.

Amul – ye butter hai ya twitter?
Instead, it has chosen to be an inseparable part of the ordinary Indian’s everyday just like the newspaper. Like a quirky editorial, it presents a point of view on all that’s grabbing media’s attention while weaving in its product in a deliberately spoofy manner.

Remarkably, it is this communication approach which has been around longer and still doesn’t seem to be running out of breath. Brands and campaigns launched much after the start of this series have been relegated to nostalgic memory while Amul powers on.

So what’s the secret sauce of Amul butter’s jawani?

Precisely what makes it different from the rest of Amul. Its ability to rise above product credentials (which aren’t insignificant mind you) and become a brand in a purer (no pun intended) sense.

That it comes from THE milk brand of India or any other rational product facet hardly figures in Amul butter’s story. Thanks to Amul’s other campaigns it is there somewhere in the backdrop, but never centre-stage for Amul butter. At the same time, it is not aimless humour. It is humour that helps us cope with whatever life throws at us over which we have little control. Much like R.K. Laxman’s daily cartoon strip, Amul butter the brand helps Indians take things light heartedly in their stride.

Be it a sad news or one that gets our blood boiling, Amul’s unique take makes it all palatable. And if it something to celebrate, Amul adds it’s own dollop of good cheer.

What a meaningful role for a brand that most of us begin our day with!

If you are working on a brand in any capacity, on the client side or the other end, you just have to ask yourself this. If Amul butter can relegate it’s immense milk credentials to a secondary position, do I need to be that worried about doing the same on my brand? Look where Amul has gotten with this approach!

By the way, if you think it was easy for them and they didn’t face the challenge you do, here’s Amul’s positioning statement, way back in the 60’s till a decade after it’s launch:

`Processed from the purest milk under the most hygienic conditions by a dairy co-operative in Gujarat`.*

Aren’t you glad they got past that! ?

* The story behind Amul`s `utterly butterly` ads - Sylvester Dacunha