Amul innovating on their alternate ad campaigns

Restrictions on billboards pushes the brand to explore digital media:
Riding on eye-catching hoardings painted with smart ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious Amul’ spoofs, the table butter brand from Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) has grown to capture 86 per cent share of the market. Chief General Manager at GCMMF says that its Outdoor campaigns have helped boost sales.
Amul’s communication strategy has been consistently executed for more than 40 years. Though table butter is not an ethnic Indian dairy product, they have single-handedly managed to build the category that is growing on the strength of their marketing efforts. The Indian branded butter market is estimated at Rs 700-800 crore, growing at five per cent a year.
But now diminishing billboard sites seem to be posing a challenge for the brand built through the Outdoor Hoardings which are banned in Chennai and with Commonwealth Games round the corner, even Delhi is likely to impose mores restrictions on billboards. One independent brand consultant feels that Amul has already compromised on visibility. It’s presence in print has shrunk and today Amul is all about point-of-purchase advertising. Chlorophyll co-founder points out that the Amul campaign is restricted to urban audiences. Most of its ideas work best for those who understand English.
To stay visible, the company is re-jigging Amul’s media plans. In Delhi and Chennai, they have shifted the topical campaigns to print. But to be seen where it matters, Amul is experimenting with digital media. It has entered Second Life (an Internet-enabled virtual world in which users can create their virtual identities) by setting up its virtual parlor. The Amul parlors showcase its ads beginning from the late 1990s.
They are exploring new concepts and ideas on how to take the venture forward. Ultimately, they may attempt to replicate the entire Amul co-operative model in Second Life, including the plant and manufacturing process. Trimensions, a Gurgaon based company has helped Amul get on to the virtual world.
The brand has increased its below-the-line activities too. Every year, it gives scholarships (Amul Vidya Shree and Amul Vidya Bhushan awards to X and XII class students respectively) to deserving candidates in 10,000 schools across India. There is Amul food festival, too, which is held between October and December every year in about 50,000 retail outlets.
Not surprisingly, Rahul daCunha, creative director, daCunha Associates (full-service agency for Amul), sees no threat to Amul’s visibility. Amul messages will never run the risk of losing visibility. True there are hoarding bans in Delhi and Chennai, but the Internet and press have compensated. They are about to launch a major television campaign. Many modern techniques are around the corner to get their messages through to audiences.
The agency has been handling the campaign since its promoter Sylvester daCunha bagged the account in 1966. All the credit for the brand’s tag line ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious Amul’, the moppet and the yummy spoofs goes to daCunha. The brand (not just butter) spends less than per cent of its total turnover on advertising.
Planning ahead to win:
The creative process is a process. It takes a while for the brief to sink in and for all the obvious ideas to be flushed out of the system. It is only after that do the really interesting ideas begin to come your way and make your acquaintance. ‘Hi there stranger, my name is Zoozoo’.
We don’t say this because that’s just good for the creative, but because it is also good business. How many business owners you know will risk Rs 10 crore, or whatever your media budget is, on a few hours of thinking? Steve Hayden, the man who wrote the commercial of the century, once told you have to write at least twenty scripts to get a couple of good ones..
Looks like, the marketing community has had an infestation of Zoozoos. Clients are loudly wondering why their agencies can’t bring them such breakthrough ideas maybe they need added motivation in the form of a reduction in fees. Meanwhile, consumers of every stripe love the zany critters, unmindful of the deep introspection going on in the hallowed halls of marketing.
Let’s go over the statistics for the Zoozoo campaign. Six months: They started designing and crafting the characters six months ago. Most of that time, they didn’t know if they even had an idea to build on. The next number is three. That’s how much pre-production time Nirvana Films took to figure out how to shoot the commercials.
Zoozoos happened because both the client and the agency planned way ahead. They kept at it, through everything. Then when they saw they had a winner they put their all behind it. —