Brand Amul – Is it heading for a change ?

“Utterly, Butterly Delicious- Amul’.
This tagline with the Amul girl in the background resonates among all Indians alike. For much of the past half a century, Amul has managed to capture and delight us with its dairy products.
Let us take a walk down memory lane with the brand. Founded in 1946 under Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd. in the small town of Anand in Gujrat. It was only in 1973 that Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF) came into being. GCMMF was a cooperative that was formed among five major districts in Gujarat to harness the potential that existed in producing, processing and delivering dairy products.
GCMMF procures around 5 billion litres of milk annually from 3.5 million milk producers in more than 16,000 villages, twice a day, and processes and markets its product range comprising butter, cheese, ice cream, fresh milk, yoghurt, milk powders, UHT milk, flavored milk, ghee, paneer, etc., in 3,000 cities and towns in India and 40 countries around the world. Its annual sales turnover in 2012-13 was $2.5 billion.

For those of you who are film buffs, the movie ‘Manthan’ captures the lives of the women farmers who eroded the power of traditional bosses in villages through the milk cooperative network and achieved financial independence. Let’s now talk about the brand Amul through the various category and brand extensions. It’s a brand that is positioned for both the classes and masses. For a marketer, the biggest challenge is how you differentiate your product from another. How is the USP of a product bought out in the public consciousness? For a largely standardized product like Milk, the challenge is even more. 
It is easy for a brand to bring that sense of differentiation from say a superstar endorsing a product. Amul did not go with any celebrity endorser. Instead what Amul did with the Amul girl was indeed truly remarkable. Since 1967, Amul’s mascot , the Amul Girl is no longer considered an inanimate person but very much a real life manifestation of Amul in her polka dotted frock and head bow. In fact, the brand and the mascot can be considered as inseparable. Maybe, Amul should name the girl once and for all!
Amul has had over 4000 hoardings with a font, theme and style unchanged till date. They have incorporated new political, economic, social happenings in their ads but the core has remained the same. The brand is contemporary but has an old world charm to it. Over the years, the Amul brand association has expanded to multiple categories. The Amul Ice Cream being a case in point. The ‘Let’s go out for an Amul Ice Cream” is one such example for an ad that captured the attention of an entire family.

 Let us analyze the brand through its product portfolio which has 123 SKUs under it:


Cash Cows: Liquid Milk (contributes 40% of Amul’s revenues), Butter (85% market share),
Star: Cheese (75% market share), Ice Cream, Pure Ghee Range
Question Mark: Branded Tetra Pack (Milk), Amul Lassi, Amul Mithai Range
Dogs: Amul Chocolate, Amul Pizza.
Amul has been relying on its cash cows for its growth for a longtime. The utterly butterly campaign is focused only on Amul Butter to a large extent. The marketing and consumer awareness now needs to shift to other products if Amul wishes to increase the market share in categories like chocolate.
Let me now talk to you about why I decided to write this article. It is after seeing and reading about Amul’s new positioning. The value proposition of “Eats Milk with Every Meal campaign” seems path breaking and mind numbing. It is so because no more is Amul saying that it is a ‘Worlds original energy drink’ but rather it is part of your diet that you have to eat with every meal. The campaign aims to re-position milk and make the entire range of Amul dairy products trendy and ‘cool’ for one and all. Amul has always been a brand that has believed in saying the truth as it is whether through its TV Campaigns or through its print ads. It has been a brand that has evolved with the current times to remain relevant to the youth.
Its latest positioning captures this facet. The campaign “Eats Milk with Every Meal” has a tone that is quirky. The brand has beautifully leveraged popular culture. One can create his/her own meme with the Amul tagline in the background. This in fact is a good tool to generate online buzz and aid virality for the brand in the social space for today’s fast food generation. The meme would involve sharable content, referrals and participations on social media.


On careful observation, all brand communications of Amul have maintained the humorous element in the delivery of the message. For Example, in the latest ad, there is a tennis player who wins doubles single-handedly. The audience expects Amul to innovate and delight its consumers always and the latest campaign appears to be a step in the right direction!
[The article has been written by Angad Lamba. He is presently pursuing his MBA from NMIMS, Mumbai.]

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