Reviewers: Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt
With about 13 years’ experience in advertising, Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt, founder-directors of Scarecrow Communications Ltd, have worked on brands such as Asian Paints, Future Capital, Nestléand Vaseline.
Wrong flavour: Raghu Bhat (left) and Manish Bhatt.
The new commercial for Amul by Draftfcb+Ulka India is inspired by an older brand campaign for Amul which highlights the cooperative movement and underlines its effect on Indians in urban as well as rural areas.
What did you think of the advertisement?
The ad is like a milk formula that has gone stale. It consists of a collage of village women milking cows and distributing it to Amul trucks, set to a classic 1970s’ Vanraj Bhatia song from Manthan. Running this old ad at this stage is like giving chloroform to someone who probably needs oxygen. The production values aren’t all that great. If the positioning is “Taste of India”, why would one use a Gujarati folk tune and lyrics that may not be understood across the rest of India? Also, trying to “inject” modernity into the film through the grafted images of mobile phone- and laptop-wielding village women looks forced and sucks out the innocence from the film.
Out of context? Nostalgia may not work with younger customers.
Is the theme still relevant to the brand?
This ad is trying to do two things: a) reinforce its social credentials; b) create nostalgia. Today, besides retaining loyalists, Amul is trying to appeal to younger customers who have never experienced the magic of its earlier landmark campaigns. Homespun nostalgia has been used successfully across the globe, as a creative device, to amplify flavour and taste (for example, David Ogilvy’s legendary Hovis bread campaign and closer home, “Yaad aa gaya mujhko guzra zamana” for Indana ghee). However, to the younger lot, this nostalgia may seem out of context. But it may be possible to make the audience respond to brands with a social agenda. Then again, for this there needs to be an emotional pay-off. For instance, the Anna (Hazare) movement gave its supporters an active sense of being part of a mass movement. Or there should be an element of surprise (like Ben & Jerry’s launched an anti-nuclear ice cream). Rather than being a self-proclaimed agent of social change, there needs to be dialogue and engagement.
What must iconic brands like Amul do to retain their stature?
Milk, cheese and dahi are almost commodities. Plus, they are highly price sensitive. Purchases are driven by inertia and habit. Re-evaluation of brands happens when there is a price disruption or an innovation. To stay relevant, brands have to provide the right products at the right price. Amul should use the rising health consciousness and wellness boom to aggressively differentiate itself. For the benefit of the younger audience, it should flag its “social transformation” story in an interesting manner.