MUMBAI: It was almost 65 years ago that a revolution started from a small village in Gujarat, and since then Amul has been a part and parcel of our lives, everyday.
The company, which saw Rs 18,150 crore turnover last year, has become a part of our lives like its products. From just sarcastic hoardings on topical issues, Amul has now ventured into the television screens through its limited advertisements, but what has caught more attention is its association with various sporting events.
The year 2011 saw the Anand-based Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) sponsoring the cricket team of Netherlands in the ICC Cricket World Cup and Switzerland-headquartered Sauber F1 team at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. It took a step further when it decided to sponsor the Indian contingent at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
And now with the football fever gripping the entire world, the ‘Taste of India’ can be seen on our screens every day before the game begins. Amul is the main sponsors of the shows – Cafe Rio and Football Extraa – on Sony Six.
“Our sponsorship of Cafe Rio and Football Extraa was a good option as it gave an opportunity to cover the entire event very comprehensively right from pre-match discussion to post-match wrap up during the breakfast show next day,” says the company’s MD RS Sodhi.
When asked why this sudden interest in sports, he says, “Milk is nature’s original energy drink and plays a pivotal role in building the physical and mental strength of the sportsmen. Nutritious dairy diet comprising milk, cheese, yogurt etc. is an important part in the diets of athletes around the world. India is the largest producer of milk in the world and Amul is not only India’s but Asia’s largest milk brand. This association with sports and activities around it will help us in engaging with the youth so that they can enjoy a healthy life and strive to become more competitive in their endeavours.”
It also believes that sporting events are now getting increasingly popular amongst all age groups, both men and women and hence, live sporting events provide a good opportunity for the brand. So much so, that it has become an integral part of its media plans. “We do not treat this as an additional spend,” points out Sodhi.
The cherry-picking begins well in advance since the schedule of most of the sporting events is available much in advance. So far, it has associated itself with events like F1, Olympics, IPL, EPL and now the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Many more such associations with other events is on cards.
The brand’s marketing strategy has changed as well. The girl in the polka-dot frock is inseparable from the brand’s identity, but through its recently launched digital campaign 'Har ghar Amul ghar’, because it wanted a longer format that went beyond 40 seconds followed by a humorous campaign featuring a person with a milk moustache who ‘Eats Milk with Every Meal’, it has (finally) moved on with time.
The audience plays the key role when it comes to media selection. “If a large number of our youth are on social media, we cannot ignore it. We have a very high traction on social media - be it Facebook or Twitter. Our topicals are first released on social media, then on hoardings, TV and print. The topicals are published in 35 newspapers every Wednesday with a print run of over 35 million copies,” informs Sodhi.
At the recently concluded World Dairy Innovation Awards 2014 during the eight Global Dairy Congress, Amul bagged the ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ award for the ‘Eat Milk with Every Meal’ campaign. The full-page format across leading dailies like the Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Telegraph, Deccan Chronicle etc. highlighted the importance of milk and dairy products in every one's diet. “We are happy that our efforts have got recognised at the global level,” says Sodhi humbly.
FY14 was extremely good for Amul and with its expansion plans the brand is optimistic about 2015 as well. “Amul has been growing at a CAGR of 22 per cent since last five years. Our last year's growth was 32 per cent. And we plan to grow by 20-25 per cent this year too,” concludes Sodhi.