Think Amul Butter and the first image that comes to mind is that of the 'Amul Baby'. Think the product's advertising and one would probably recall the quirky print creatives and outdoor hoardings featuring the chubby girl in her polka dotted dress.
However, the plot changes a bit in the latest television commercial by Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation for Amul Butter. Created by DaCunha Communications, the film is an obvious attempt to put the product centre-stage, rather than its mascot.
The film has been directed by Kailash Surendranath of Kailash Picture Company.
Talking to afaqs!, Rahul DaCunha, creative director, DaCunha Communications says that the film hits out at butter substitutes, such as margarine, which are available in the market.
"We wanted to make people more aware that when they eat out, they must insist on real butter. The brief to the agency was that the consumer must be able to differentiate between the authentic product and the other options available," adds RS Sodhi, in-charge managing director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation.
DaCunha acknowledges that while the hoardings and print ads are definitely more popular and would continue; somewhere along the way, the Amul Baby has become more than just a representative of the butter -- it has become bigger than the product and represents the brand as a whole. Interestingly, the character now is also used to promote Amul's packaged milk.
The current film, hence, attempts to focus on the product. With a clear emotional tug, it tries to position Amul Butter as the unanimous choice of the entire country.
"This is a brand that has been trusted and loved for years. The film shows that eating the butter is more than just a household habit," says DaCunha.
The television campaign will be supported by promotions in cinemas, posters and point-of-sale activities. The product will also make its presence felt in the cooking reality show, MasterChef India on STAR Plus, with Amul being the main sponsor.
When approached, ad experts have hit out at the film, saying that it looks more like a radio spot than a television commercial.
"It looks like a radio spot. The execution shows that some brands do not want to evolve; Amul seems to be stuck in time. This might not be the right way to look at it. The hoardings and print ads remain interesting, because they are witty and topical. Newer insights must be looked at," he says.
Arun Raman, senior vice-president, planning, Lowe Worldwide says that much better is always expected from the brand.
"When a ubiquitous brand like Amul Butter wants to communicate, the strategic planner is faced with a dilemma -- to focus on brand credentials or brands news. Here, it seems that the easy way out was taken by speaking about the brand's credentials, which was never doubted by millions of us Indians, to begin with," says Raman.
"It is a superb radio spot. Period. But no way can 'let us do a radio spot and slap a montage of visuals on it to make it a TVC' be called a TVC. The use of accents to stay true to 'Taste of India' is excellent, though I wonder why they did not use that as a baseline," he adds.
According to Raman, the script lacked topicality; while the execution failed on a key Amul Butter value -- wit.