Saumya Tewari

Amul: Get a Milk Moustache

Weaving a story around the age-old adage, 'Mooch nai toh kuch nai', Amul's latest campaign is all about milk and machismo.

When Amul launched its latest campaign, "Mooch nai toh kuch nahin", featuring a young girl sporting a milk moustache there were cries hinting that it was 'inspired' by the popular ad campaign, 'Got Milk?', created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the US dairy industry. The campaign, which ended after 20 years in February this year, featured celebrities from different fields sporting a milk moustache in an effort to boost milk consumption.

Amul: Get a Milk Moustache
Amul: Get a Milk Moustache
Amul: Get a Milk Moustache
Rahul daCunha, managing director and creative head, daCunha Communications, the advertising agency behind the Amul campaign asserts that the 'milk moustache' is a common symbol of an ad for milk and cannot be owned by any brand as such. "My father (Sylvester daCunha)," he points out, "did a campaign featuring a girl with a moustache back in the '60s."

For the record, the 65-seconder features different men (a man of royal descent, an actor, a young man at a salon and a police inspector), who are proud of their moustaches (real or fake) and take care of it. The film ends with a shot of a young child drinking a glass of milk with the back towards the camera. The last shot reveals that the child is a girl sporting a milk moustache, now proudly facing the camera. The ad ends with the tagline 'Mooch nai toh kuch nahi'.

What is original?

According to him, the idea of either an adult or a child with a milk moustache is so old and common that it can't be copyrighted. He refers to Cadbury Dairy Milk that has a boy with a milk moustache in one of its campaigns, adding that the Amul campaign has been executed on the core idea that there are several moustaches in India but the main moustache remains the Amul girl's milk moustache. Is that what originality is all about?

"I think originality means bringing together two elements, which existed in the system, in a manner that is totally novel. So, while 'Moustache' and 'Milk moustaches' as an idea existed, nobody thought of bringing the two together," argues daCunha.

The catch, according to daCunha, is in how you use two popular elements to create something that is native, yet relevant to your consumer base and geography. "The idea came from the fact that a 'moustache' is one of the symbols of Indian manhood and since there is nothing more symptomatic to Amul than a milk moustache, we combined the two elements. Instead of a boy with a milk moustache we kept a girl with the moustache - that's the twist in the end," daCunha explains.

The campaign is on air and is running mainly on youth-focused channels like VH1, sports channels, MTV and Star World. It is also being promoted on digital platforms. Englishman Patrick Graham of Final Call Productions has directed the film. "We picked Graham because he's truly rooted in the Indian culture and has been living in Mumbai for last four years. Along with his partner Preetika Chawla, who provided the Indian inputs, they have managed to bring out the contemporary, yet rustic Indian look that we wanted in the campaign," he notes.

Narendra Chandravarkar has composed the fusion background score. The singer is Suhas Ahuja while Gopal Tiwari has penned the lyrics. The campaign was shot in two days in Juhu, Mumbai. Amul, as a brand, has a pan India presence. daCunha Communications has been handling the brand's account since 1966.

Founded by Verghese Kurien, the Amul brand is owned by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation. It registered a turnover of Rs 18,143.5 crore in 2013-14, a 32 per cent jump over the previous year's figure. Amul's long-life UHT Milk grew by 40 per cent in value while sales of Amul Cream increased by 37 per cent. The cooperative claims that its entire value-added milk beverages range grew by 25 per cent. Sales of Amul fresh milk in pouches went up by 23 per cent. In the sweetened condensed milk category, the cooperative claimed to have achieved a 22 per cent growth in 2013-14.

Cool enough?

Amul: Get a Milk Moustache
Amul: Get a Milk Moustache
Applauding the execution of the campaign, the experts we spoke to nevertheless believe that the element of 'manliness' is an overdone concept. Suraja Kishore, executive planning director, McCann feels that in an age where gender clichés are being challenged, it is not cool to portray manliness expressed in a classic macho style.

Speaking on the resemblance of the campaign with the global "Got Milk" ad, Kishore asserts that a brand like Amul should not fall prey to lazy thinking and lack of originality. "I like the execution, I wish they had given credit by saying 'Indian adaption of the 'Got Milk?' campaign'. The truth could have made the milk campaign sweeter," he says adding that brand should discover new insight and relevance in the life of the consumers."The idea of milk and machismo should have been redefined and new stories built around it could have made the brand go further," he says.

For Jagdeep Kapoor, brand guru and CMD, Samsika Marketing, a brand consultancy the campaign is different and will cut the clutter. "While the production values are good, the music does not suit the mother brand Amul's loveable personality," says Kapoor, adding that the little girl with the milk moustache will be recalled because that is the only genuine connect with the mother brand. He says that featuring women, across ages, with the milk moustache and more melodious music would have made the campaign more endearing and memorable.

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