Maska maar ke

The Amul Butter campaign with it's cute moppet has aroused interest since the last 36 years or so. tried to find out what goes behind making these ads, especially the ones which target television serials and related events like the conditional access system (CAS) imbroglio.

First some history. The 'utterly butterly' gal was born in 1966 and has been ruling in the hearts of all Indians since then. Amul ads are prominent on account of their topicality and element of pun. The ads introduced the concept of consumer humour or serious things spoken in jest in the advertising fraternity for the first time.

Consumers misery regarding viewing of pay TV channels on implementation of CAS.

The Amul butter campaign was launched in 1966 by Advertising and Sales Promotion Company (ASP). Kurian Kurian the then Group Head at ASP was in charge of the account. The account moved to da Cunha Communications later which was founded by Sylvester da Cunha. His son, Rahul da Cunha, who was the then manager at ASP now heads da Cunha Communications and the Amul account has been with them ever since.

For over 15 years it was celebrated ad man and theatre personality Bharat Dhabolkar whose name was intrinsically tied to the Amul ads.

He's moved on to other things a while back and today it is Rahul da Cunha along with writer Manish Jhaveri who are the creative inspirations behind these ads.

Be it topical events related to politics, television, films, celebrities, cricket, economy, environment, festivals, foreign affairs, great Indians, Internet, kids, lifestyles, music, sports, strikes or urban life - the Amul ads have covered them all.

But it is television that is under the scanner and da Cunha spoke to outlining the criteria that decide whether a particular show or event gets featured. "Only a serial or event that is very popular or very unpopular and controversial will feature on the Amul ads," da Cunha said.

The latest to feature on the Amul hoardings was Sony Entertainment Television's curiosity ticker Jassi Jaise Koi Nahi. "The hoarding campaign that we did for Jassi... was an imitation of the serial's hoardings which were seen all over the place. There were words like 'jaisi' and 'koi nahi' to play upon and hence came our ad which said - Amul Jaisa Koi Nahi," says Da Cunha. On the left hand side of the Amul 'Jassi' hoarding it says - '9am-9am', which means that Amul butter can be had all through the day, not just for breakfast but with all meals. The original Jassi hoardings have the serial's broadcast timing on the left hand corner.

Movie folks' resentment towards popular TV show host Shekhar Suman in June 2000.

"We try to identify the most popular aspect of a serial in terms of a particular character, a catch line or an event that got the common man talking about it. There has to be something about it to make it stand out from the rest," said da Cunha.

When asked about the latest ace up his sleeve, da Cunha said, "The Boom Amul hoardings are something to watch out for." The movie Boom (starring Amitabh Bachchan and three beautiful bodies amongst others) released yesterday (19 September) and has been critically panned.

Meanwhile, viewers await the next show that will get the attention of the 'Utterly Butterly' gal.

Click here to view a slide show of the Amul ads

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