How Amul won hearts with tasteful creatives in testing times

Industry watchers say the brand has further strengthened its positioning in the consumer mindspace by stirring up nostalgia while staying relevant

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Published: Jul 16, 2020 7:54 AM  | 5 min read

At a time when most advertisers decided to axe their media spends, dairy brand Amul continued doing what it does best - regaling consumers with its creative gems. The brand seized the opportunity and decided to double its marketing spends. Interestingly, demand for Amul’s liquid packaged milk has been up by 5-7% compared to the pre-Covid times as households seem to have chosen a trusted brand over loose milk. Demand for its cheese and paneer products too has been at least 30% more despite closure of hotels and restaurants, while butter and ghee sales are up by 10-20%.

Dialling up nostalgia

Experts give a thumbs up to the brand for continuing to create delightful advertising despite the storms. Many say the brand has further strengthened its positioning in the consumer mindspace by stirring up nostalgia while staying relevant.

Says K V Sridhar (Pops), Global Chief Creative Officer, Nihilent & Hypercollective: “Amul kept it true to its personality with likable fun. Never went overboard on tall immunity or Covid claims. And more importantly never stopped production, distribution, sale or advertising. Important lesson for essential marketing.” 

According to TAM AdEx data, during the months of April and May, Amul’s ad volumes witnessed a three-fold (316%) increase over the corresponding period last year. Between April and May, Amul’s ad volumes went up by almost 21%. The brand dominated with over 87% of share of voice in six out of the 12 categories that it operates in. 

 The brand also re-released retro advertisements on Doordarshan every Sunday alongside the popular reruns of Ramayana and Mahabharat on the channel.

N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA, observes that as soon as the lockdown was announced, Amul started dominating the TV media in advertising, taking the maximum TRPs which combined with the low advertising of other brands worked strategically in its favour.

 “Amul is one of the few brands that one can truly say has touched the life of most Indians. I also think Amul is one of the smartest marketing companies the country has. As explained by R S Sodhi to me personally, during the lockdown families were consuming media like never before and it made sense for Amul, which formed a part of the essential daily consumptions of the family. Not only did it use its old ads and bring in a feeling of nostalgia and reconnect, I think it also has virtually outdone every brand in terms of occupying mindshare,” Chandramouli noted.

The topicality quotient 

Amul has also been consistent with its topical creatives. When the government announced the nationwide lockdown for 21 days with effect from March 25, Amul, through conveyed that it hoped people “stay healthy” and “not hungry”. Moreover, stressing on the fact that flattening of the COVID-19 curve was the need of the hour, Amul dedicated a topical saying, “Yahi Curvana padega!” “Amul, flatten it in bread”.

Brand guru Jagdeep Kapoor, Founder and CEO, Samsika, also lauds Amul for using its timely strategy and aggressive implementation well. “Amul ‘The Taste of India’ has decided not to ‘waste’ any time ever since the lockdown started. Using its inventory of ads and media space on Doordarahan on Ramayan and Shri Krishna, it catapulted in vibrant awareness and robust brand recall. The showcasing of the entire range of Amul products also helped,” he opined.

 According to Kapoor, bringing in nostalgia through lovable old ads also added flavour to the brand’s appeal. “New ads were created quickly and played on various channels including news channels, keenly watched these days. A family touch helped make Amul a stronger family member, thus increasing the bonding with the brand.” Themes like daughters and mothers, and the family serving Amul products with love helped alongside the great distribution and availability of the brand leading to jump in both sales and brand loyalty, Kapoor noted.

Furthermore, referring to the resumption of domestic flight services on May 25, Amul’s topical ad read: “Ab boarding paas hai”. Domestic air travel resumed on May 25 with limited flights after remaining suspended for two months due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Meanwhile, expressing gratitude towards the healthcare workers who have been at the front of the COVID fight, another Amul creative read: “MBBS: Makhan Bole Bahut Shukriya”.

Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru and Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc says, “Amul advertising has always been in sync with the mood of the nation. The brand and the managers of its advertising creatives have the pulse of the nation and make it an essential part of its advertising. It therefore seldom fails.” 

 Doubling of advertising budgets might have been a calculated risk but it paid off for the brand as it leveraged topicality, nostalgia and strategic execution to continue reigning over the hearts and minds of its consumers even as the going got tough. 

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