Utterly Butterly Delicious: The Amul Girl Story

Morff
5 min readJun 17, 2022

U-t-t-e-r-l-y B-u-t-t-e-r-l-y Delicious, AMUL !”

Did you just read this line with the same tune, run in ads? Hah!

We are well familiar with this veteran brand ever since we gained consciousness. Interestingly, this brand baseline has always been there and is considered to be the most stable baseline ever.

Back in 1946, Amul or Anand Milk Union Limited was born as a response to help poor dairy farmers and landless labourers. In no time, Amul became a very recognisable brand and also the country’s largest producer of milk and milk-based products.

Amul has created a revolution due to its premium products, exceptional quality and fast availability in every nook and corner of the country and beyond. Not just that, with effective marketing techniques Amul was able to dominate the market equally in all segments be it, butter, milk, cheese etc. The reason is the availability of products for every season and for everyone.

With such a distinguishable brand image, equal efforts were needed for advertising to reach a larger audience base. So, to advertise the brand more efficiently, Amul designed the perfect mascot. A hand-drawn cartoon of a young Indian girl with big round eyes, a polka-dotted dress and a blue ponytail. The poster child for Indian dairy brand Amul butter has charmed her way into millions of Indian households. For decades now, we have been familiar with the look and the brand she promotes. But what’s her story?

Let’s find out.

The Amul mascot, referred to as the Amul girl has always been known for her ready wit and spot-on humour. This little girl has become one of the most famous and relevant mascots, much ahead of her time. With her unique visual humour and comments, her presence on billboards and print ads is highly anticipated. Her remarks are usually immediately viral as it is based on current trending events.

In the social media age, she has made the news sound cool by adding witty taglines to the world’s major milestones and preoccupations.

Woah! That sounds insane.

At least, now we all know how advertisements work. But we don’t know the history behind it.

Well, you see, The main reason for using a mascot as an advertising gimmick was a response to their then-rival, Polson (Polson was a dairy product brand started in1915 in Mumbai. The first setup was in Anand, Gujarat in 1930) who had their mascot as a girl. So, to make it charming and easily recognizable, a little girl was chosen for the design. Hence, the responsibility was assigned to daCunha communications in Mumbai, led by Sylvester Da Cunha. Back then, advertising on television was extremely expensive so Da Cunha decided to bring out the narrative on billboards and print ads.

While the design was sketched by Eustace Fernandes, the art director, the tagline “utterly butterly delicious” was coined by Sylvester’s wife, Nisha Da Cunha. Initially, the word “ butterly” met with skepticism as it was ungrammatical. But, in due course of time, it worked out perfectly well and became one of the most well-known and memorable taglines around India.

And this is how our utterly butterly girl came into being.

No doubt, Amul had topped the game of marketing. The introduction of topical advertising (taking advantage of a current event or story to create relevant and related campaigns around it) with the relevant adaptation of day-to-day news has helped the Amul girl own the marketplace. With our little girl, Amul has managed to adapt creatives that have an instant connection with the context and the audience and ultimately bring out a smile at the end.

But, have you ever wondered what makes Amul phrases so catchy? There is an entire mastermind behind it.

Well, for starters, it uses wit and humour as a priority. On top of that, interesting punchlines diversified with bilingual techniques add to the charm. The ads are made in a way to update the audience with the latest happening in the world, subtly. For simplicity, they generally use cheeky one-liners which are not offensive to anyone.

All of these guidelines are mingled to create a visual treat with a main text and slogan. The catchy illustration adds curiosity to further read the slogan to relate better. With an important event underlined, the contextual knowledge then forms a cohesive link between the audience and the advertising, in a witty manner. And, this entire gameplay, takes no time to get viral. It is ultimately uploaded on social media platforms, and published in the newspapers the next day. On hoardings, it takes a day or two.

Phew! That was too much back-end hustle for a perfect advertisement strategy.

Well, even till today Amul girl has been our daily pack of humour. Half a century later, she continues to rule the billboards and entertain the ever-growing audience. To celebrate the Amul girl’s golden jubilee anniversary, daCunha Communications have released a coffee table book titled, Amul’s India. It tells the story of major events from the Amul girl’s perspective.

Definitely, she remains the most appropriate entertainer to date. No doubt, Amul has gained a place in the Guinness Book of World records for the longest-running ad campaign for its Amul Girl mascot. With an unchanged theme and style for over 50 years now, this is probably the only ad in the country, loved and appreciated by all.

Now, we know a tad bit about Amuls’ marketing and advertising strategy. Every advertisement has made a mark and gives a good representation of what the organization stands for. No wonder, Amul topical ads are the most talked-about ads and have become an intrinsic part of India’s economy and society through unique visual humour.

To get to know similarly interesting stories about brands which cater to you daily, watch out and stay tuned with your buddy, Morff.

References:

https://www.logodesignteam.com/blog/amul-a-creative-inspiration-a-legacy-of-visual-humor-satire/

https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1804/1804.05398.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polson_(brand)

https://mediasamosa.com/2020/01/22/mascot-diaries-adventures-of-the-amul-girl/

https://amul.com/m/amul-topical-story

https://brandequity.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/advertising/how-the-amul-girl-got-the-nations-fingers-licking/87550660

https://www.thebetterindia.com/71904/amul-girl-golden-jubilee/

https://www.quora.com/Who-is-the-inspiration-behind-Amul-Girl

https://www.forbesindia.com/article/real-issue/the-amul-girl-why-shes-still-standing/47021/1

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Morff

Morff is a managed design freelance marketplace.