Friday, August 10, 2012

Amul's India

Title: Amul’s India 
Author: NA
Publisher: Collins Business (HarperCollins India)
Pages: 212
Price: Rs 299

Format: Paperback
Genre: Non Fiction / Business
Rating: 10/10

If I had to say just one word to describe the book, it would be ‘delicious’.

Who isn’t in love with Amul’s topical ads? It never fails to garner a second look, whether on hoardings or in newspaper. It would not be preposterous if I go on to say that subconsciously I felt the need for this book. I would look at one of their hoardings or newspaper ads, and just wish if I could see all of them together.

The book goes beyond just being a chronological anthology. This fitting tribute to the long-running campaign, with a cute little moppet in a red polka dotted dress, packs in a lot of punch. From important world events to political crisis, from most talked about movies to achievements in sports, from scandals to controversies; the Amul moppet has a witty take on everything that captures our mindspace.

The campaign started by daCunha Communications nearly 50 years back, has mastered the art of connecting popular events or latest happenings with the brand through humour. Because of the need to be relevant at any given time, the ads are doled out every week. The best part is that the ads always accommodate the brand through clever interplay of words, and perhaps that is why Dr. Varghese Kurien showed tremendous faith in the agency by allowing them to churn out ads without the mandatory client approvals.

The book is a mixed bag of best Amul ads over the years, essays and personal favourites by illustrious people from diverse fields like Amitabh Bachchan, Santosh Desai, Sania Mirza, Rahul Dravid, Rajdeep Sardesai, to name a few.

‘The Amul Story’ in the beginning tells us how Amul is not just a brand but a movement that stands for economic freedom for small farmers. Dr Verghese Kurien shares his thoughts on the long-running Amul campaign. Sylvester Dacunha, who started the campaign, pitches in with interesting anecdotes from the Amul girl’s early days, and how the Amul ads found its niche and a place in people’s hearts.

Santosh Desai, in his essay observes how Amul’s hoardings chronicled history over the years. To quote him from the book, “for nearly fifty years now, the Amul billboard has watched over India, punctuating its progress with wry observation, heartfelt tribute, sly comment and the occasional controversial slip.” Alpana Parida (President, DY Works) points out, in her essay, that milk and milk products are traditionally associated with abundance and good health. The inspiring story of GCMMF adds tremendous value to Amul’s brand.

Shobhaa De highlights the feminist voice in Amul ads featuring women. Cyrus Broacha reminisces about his early association with a few Amul hoardings, while Shyam Benegal brings in the story behind ‘Manthan’ (the docu-film on Amul story).

The likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Sania Mirza, Rahul Dravid and Harsha Bhogle talk about their personal favourites. There are Rahul Dacunha sharing the process of making an Amul hoarding every week, Manish Jhaveri (the copywriter) weaving a poem around his experience in creating Amul ads and Alyque Padamsee talking about why the mischievous little girl took everyone’s fancy while a lot of other brand icons failed to make the cut. If that is not all, there are little things like how record of all creations (ads) has been maintained and evolution of technology in hoardings - from handpainted hoardings to vinyls. And of course, several best ads from the stable on a wide range of subjects like scams, bollywood, politics, sports, etc.

My personal favourites are the essays by Santosh Desai and Alpana Parida. Besides, Rajdeep Sardesai’s parallel between R.K.Laxman’s common man and Amul’s moppet, and Alpana Parida’s comparison of Amul girl with Bal Krishna, are interesting.

Amul’s India’ is certainly a collectible. Every person who reads on different subjects or every person in love with marketing or advertising, even those interested in current affairs, will fall in love with this. It has been priced well, and the decision against creating an anthology in the expensive coffee table book format, speaks for the brand. They want to reach maximum people, just the way their product and brand does. To quote from the back cover, which I absolutely vouch for, “Amul’s India is a celebration that would be of enormous interest to an observer of contemporary India, be it a brand manager, a management student or a fan of Amul. Or just somebody who wants a rollicking good time.” Moreover, I think it will also make an excellent gift.
The pre-release ad for the book

P.S. A red blurb in the beginning also tells us that “the profits from the book will be used to honour deserving Class X and XII students in India under the Amul Vidyashree and Amul Vidyabhushan Award schemes.” Well, a good book for a good cause, what more do you want!

Image source: Image 1, Image 2


  1. Amul ads are simply outstanding! Does this book has all the advertisements till the date of publishing??

  2. Totally agree. Even I used to think if I could get all of them together :-) but coming back to your question, this book does not have all the ads but several of them for sure. The book actually is much more than just a collation of ads. Eminent personalities and social commentators observe how Amul ads have chronicled history and share their personal favourites. The best part is that it has been priced so well. It is absolutely a must have!