... as we caught up with him on the sidelines of a company event announcing the brand as the official sponsor of the Afghanistan cricket team for the upcoming ICC World Cup.
Dairy major Amul is to be the principal sponsor of the Afghanistan cricket team for the upcoming ICC World Cup hosted by England and Wales. Sponsoring a cricket team in the World Cup is not a first for Amul. The company was associated with New Zealand and Holland in earlier tournaments and "proved lucky for them", as an official spokesperson candidly shared at a press-con in Delhi recently.
Interestingly, the 'historic' bond between Amul and Afghanistan goes back a long way as Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Frontier Gandhi, visited the Amul facility in 1969.
The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets dairy products under the Amul brand, exports around ₹200 crore worth of products annually to the neighbouring country. Regarding the recent tie-up, R S Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF, says, "The World Cup is a good opportunity to connect with youth. At the same time, we have a very old association with Afghanistan whose team is rated as the fastest growing cricket team in the world."
Catching up on the brand's advertising and marketing budget:
When compared to major rivals from the same category, that tend to spend nearly 8-15 per cent on endorsements, Sodhi states that the brand does not spend much on ads with only 1 per cent of its total spending aimed at marketing.
He adds that even the iconic Butter Girl, with her timely punchlines on topical issues, clever wordplay and tongue-in-cheek humour, costs 4-5 per cent of the company's total ad spend.
Quite unlike the annual FMCG spends of other food brands currently operating in the Indian market, Sodhi says, "We spend only 0.8 per cent of our annual turnover on advertisements and we've been following that for the last five years. The reason is, we do umbrella branding. We do not have many genres and we sell everything under Amul's name."
Throwing light on the company's average marketing spends, he adds, "Our strategy is to keep the advertising spending as low as possible as we don't believe that by spending more you can build the brand."
As a brand, Amul is not really up for a change in the marketing strategy anytime soon. With the 'Utterly Butterly Delicious' campaign (which has been around for over 52 years) standing the test of time, the company has found what Sodhi calls - a winning formula - in terms of brand marketing. He intends to stick with the same format that has captured the consumer's imagination for this long. "'Amul Doodh Peeta hai India' has completed 15 years, whereas, 'Amul the Taste of India' has been in the market for 25 years. Once we create, we adhere to it," Sodhi says signing off.