Generally most of us tend to skip channels so as to avoid the advertisements that come on TV in between movies and serials; I am one of them too. Therefore whenever some asks me which my favourite ad is, I’m generally lost because I never really watch them. But then I have to answer something and I tell I have no special liking for any particular TV commercial but like the Amul ads that come every week in the print media. Strange!; for a person living in the 21st century where competition is intense between the various media – TV, internet, radio, mobile phones and print –and yet still choosing the one that comes on one of the oldest kinds of media.
That is the charm of Amul advertisements. Coming into existence in the late 1960s, the Amul girl has captured many hearts and brought a new life to the advertising field and has brought over 500 crore rupees in revenue for the company. She was the brainchild and creation of Sylvester Da Cunha, the owner of the ad agency ASP (Advertising, Sales and Promotions) and his art director Eustace Fernandez that won the contract for Amul’s ad in 1966. The young cherubic girl, with her typical polka dotted dress and her cute smile, has withstood the many changes of the past four and a half decades and continues to be still vibrant and bright as ever.
Amul ads generally connect with a recent theme or event and try to adapt a catchy phrase that catches the essence of its product as well as the theme. It is these witty one-liners that give the ad its extra punch and makes it endearing to the readers. Amul ads in the past have made fun of events and people, have congratulated winners and shared the disappointment of those defeated and even shed tears for the first time on the death of its patron Dr. Varghese Kurian. Amul’s moppet has taught us to laugh at ourselves and to see a humorous side to most of the events that we consider serious and grim.
Celebrity endorsed advertisements have often seen companies shell out large sums of money for its marketing and advertising expenses. Also the company is often at risk if the performance of the celebrity becomes poor or if he/she gets caught in a scandal. By use of fictitious characters like the Amul girl or the ZooZoo as used by Vodafone, companies have innovated on the way advertisements can be portrayed and brought out a new form of advertising at lower costs. Such figures have also become a part and parcel of our daily lives like this simple Amul girl or the puppy in the Hutch advertisements. Amul ads have created a celebrity instead of using one!
The beauty of Amul ads is that it helps the viewers connect Amul with recent and everyday happening in way that is refreshing and entertaining. The mixture of Hindi and English (Hing-lish) used in its phrases is what is spoken and understood by the majority public. This helps the general public to comprehend the ads, enjoy the satire and humour and to create an association with it in their minds. Amul makes ads that are wacky and with a definite message and spices it up with a keen sense of humour.
What is really amazing is the speed with which they come up with the witty ad copies and illustrations and still manages to change it every few weeks. That is ultimate creativity! The ad has moved along with time, each time coming up with something that is recent and interesting. It is probably the longest running Indian advertisement. Its ability to maintain consistency and yet to move along with the times is amazing.
A collection of all the Amul ads since its creation will probably leave us with a prism through which a glimpse of the history of times since its creation can be viewed. Many people also indulge in collecting the Amul ads and making a scrap book out of them and thus re-creating memories. Amul has truly earned a place for itself in the history of Indian advertising and has also ensured that Indian history can be learned through Amul ads!
The article is authored by Gitanjali Maria from Loyola Institute Of Business Administration.
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