Nothing misses Amul's target

MUMBAI: Indeed, the pony-tailed and polka-dotted li’l girl of Amul fame has come to be an iconic part of the country’s socio-political and economic landscape, courtesy her cheeky yet responsible comments on issues ranging from IPL spot fixing to the more recent prosecution of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in USA.


When Amul approached Sylvester Da Cunha in 1966 to design a campaign for Amul Butter, little did the company imagine the ads would go on to become somewhat of a national tradition.


With Sylvester’s son Rahul now in charge of all Amul ads, we ask him to reveal the secret behind such brilliant, pun-intended ideas week after week?


“If I tell you, then I have to kill you,” laughs Rahul, attributing all the enthusiasm and creativity to the ‘raw material’ available in the country currently.


“From Bollywood to politics to issues, there is so much happening in this country. I don’t think we would have been able to do what we are doing here in any other country. It is all because of the colorful characters we have,” he says.


Rahul is part of a three-strong core team that works on the witty, topical ads. And while the trio is unafraid to take a stance on anything under the sun, there’s one topic it steers clear of - religion.


“It’s dicey and too sensitive a topic to indulge in and we try to avoid it unless and until it has got to do with someone like Asaram Bapu,” says Rahul.


At a time when most brands do not believe in commenting on ‘sensitive’ issues, Rahul prides himself on being part of a company that has never shied away from taking a stance. “It is our USP and others doing it is a rare case,” he adds.


Not that all their ads have met with bouquets; there have been the occasional brickbats too, for example, Amul’s recent commentary on the Tehelka scandal, which didn’t go down well with a majority of the people. But that doesn’t deter the team from keeping up the good work. As Rahul puts it, “We don’t look back as we feel it is all part and parcel of the industry and we cannot make everyone happy.”


As the year comes to a close, brings you some of its pioneering ads of 2013:


The year began with Kashmir’s top clergyman issuing a fatwa against an all-girls rock band, reasoning music is banned in Islam and girls should imbibe ‘better values’ instead of vices.


The IOC’s decision to drop wrestling from the Olympics came as a huge setback for fans and practitioners of the game. The only saving grace being it would be included in the 2016 Olympics.


Around mid-year, the Madras High Court passed a judgment saying that an unmarried couple of the right legal age “indulging in sexual gratification” would be considered married and could be called “husband and wife”. An entire nation was shell-shocked by the forward-thinking pronouncement.


Escalating prices and economic slowdown notwithstanding, some politicians were brazen enough to say food is cheap in this country. Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar went to the extent of saying it is possible to have a full meal for just Rs 12 in Mumbai even today. And the junta didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this cruel joke...


In a body blow to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, the Supreme Court recently turned back the clock on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes any kind of sexual activity “against the order of nature” including homosexual acts. In a 2009 judgment, the Delhi High Court had decriminalized all such activity, leading many such people to live together.


Meanwhile, at least one other Supreme Court judgment did not disappoint. The apex court ruled that persons in lawful custody – whether convicted in a criminal case or otherwise – cannot contest elections. The common man rejoiced even though the ruling does not apply to those on bail.


When a colleague claimed founder-editor of Tehelka Magazine Tarun Tejpal had sexually assaulted her in an elevator during a fest organized by the publication in Goa, it went on to become the mother of all scandals. However Amul’s take on the matter attracted a lot of criticism, possibly because rape doesn’t lend itself to humor.


The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was just that… till the unlikely hero of the Delhi Assembly Elections decided to take Congress support to form the government in the national capital.

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