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How Amul’s witty marketing is done within 1% of overall expenditure

Creating blind faith in the brand is integral to its strategy.

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MUMBAI: Be it the ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ butter or the milk that India drinks, one thing central to all Amul products are the catchy taglines that have remained stagnant for years and are, thus, imprinted on the mind of every Indian. A heritage brand, the inception of which lies in the grounds of disruption that bought a revolution in the dairy sector of India, Amul, has been quite a disruptor in the marketing domain too.

Its topical content converts breaking news into jaw-breaking creatives within minutes and its jingles might have been a part of the ‘Antakshari’ games of many Indian families. While it may seem like a lot of money is being pumped to keep Amul in ‘the limelight’, it is surprising to know that only 1 per cent of its overall expenditure has been targeted towards marketing.

The revelation was made by its CEO RS Sodhi at the ongoing Zee Melt conference, where he opened the day 1’s sessions with a humorous and interactive session.

Sodhi shared that Amul has always been focusing on maintaining its products in the best quality and selling them at a price that is affordable for the consumers and benefits the producers, i.e., the farmers extensively. While marketing plays a big role in taking the brand name across the country, it is the integrity that Amul has maintained, which has made it a heritage brand.

This strategy has its roots seeded in the philosophy that founder Verghese Kurien has passed on to this generation of executives running the brand. Sodhi reminisced Kurien telling him that for a brand to become an integral part of the household, it is necessary to develop a blind faith in its capabilities.

A blind faith is just what Amul has gained over its decades of functioning in the country. Sodhi takes pride in keeping the core recipe and ingredients of each of its products same since ever. He told the room that the brand has never tried to upscale its bottom line and has ensured that the consumers get only the best quality products developed from the best quality raw material that comes directly from the farmers.

Having said that, Sodhi also beamed with pride when he noted that Amul, is probably the only brand that has got its recall in its campaigns.

He said that brands need not necessarily spend a lot of money on marketing itself. The trick is to work on ‘good creatives’ and a ‘carefully selected media’ that can take the message across to the right people.

Another factor that adds on to this robust environment of smart and creative messaging is the faith that Amul has in its young people. As per Sodhi, every time a new creative is designed, the young people in the company are first asked to give their feedback. It prompts them to present an honest opinion and helps the brand in improving itself.

Sodhi also mentioned that he has been very particular about the fact that the brand proposition and the creatives remain in line with what has been running over the years.

Sharing an interesting anecdote, he revealed that Nitin Karkare, who works with FCB Ulka on the Amul account, actually once wanted to change the tagline of its milk from ‘Amul Doodh Peeta Hai India’ to ‘Fresh Doodh Peeta Hai India’, but the idea was not approved as “Amul means Fresh” in the brand vocabulary.

On a slightly humorous note, he showed the creative featuring Amul Girl as Deepika Padukone and Aishwarya Rai from their Cannes outing this year, and noted how Padukone had shared the same on her social media handle and said, “Brands should get celebs promoting their products but they should not pay them.”

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