Today is the birth anniversary of the man who ushered in the ‘white revolution’ in India and lifted millions out of poverty.Google has a doodle celebrating Verghese Kurien’s birthday on India home page. Kurien went on to lead the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd whose Amul is one of India’s iconic brands.
The Amul moppet takes a witty take on current events on hoardings and newspaper ads across the country. There have been over 4000 Amul Butter hoardings till date and a lot of amazing facts associated with them.Here are 15 extremely interesting facts about the moppets.
1. Amul butter had been selling in the market for 10 years before the Amul moppet was conceived.
2. The ‘Utterly-Butterly’ tagline was suggested by author Nisha daCunha, who is also the wife of Sylvester daCunha, the man behind the Amul butter advertising and chairman of daCunha Communications that has been handling the Amul Butter for 49 years.
4. The moppet was created by Eustace Fernandes, who was then the art director at daCunha Communications. Fernandes passed away in March 2010.
5. The first of the ads featuring the girl in the polka-dotted frock and a matching ribbon were put up on a few lamposts in Mumbai.
6. The first ever hoarding featuring the Amul girl had her saying a bedtime prayer (see the ad below). Interestingly, in her first major appearance, the Amul girl wasn’t in her trademark polka-dotted frock.
7. The Amul Management (including Dr Verghese Kurien) did not interfere in the making of the ads and daCunha Communications did not even need to get their approval before putting up the ads.
8. While Amul ads are not known to trigger a controversy, but there have been a few ads that created quite a furor. The most controversial Amul butter ad of all time was perhaps the one after incidents of UK authorities conducting virginity tests on Indian women arriving at London airport. The text said, “Indian virgin needs no urgin’!” Following protests, Amul came up with another billboard apologizing for the ad.
9. Indian TV’s funny man Cyrus Broacha worked as a trainee copywriter with daCunha and of the many Amul hoardings that he helped conceive was the famous “Lara, kya mara!” following Brian Lara smashing Garry Sobers’ record for the highest score in Test cricket.
10. Jagmahon Dalmiya had tried to sue Amul for Rs 500 crores for a hoarding that said “Dalmiya mein kuch kala hai? Amul Maska khao, paisa nahin’ but had other thoughts when the courts required him to deposit 10 per cent of the amount.
11. The Ramalinga Raju (Satyam, Sharam, Scandalam) ad following the Satyam scam drew the ire of the Satyam board and they sent a letter demanding an apology else Satyam employees would quit consuming Amul products in protest.
12. In April 1995, the Election Commission got an Amul Butter hoarding painted black. The ad showed Congressman in a tug-of-war with the hand symbol and the Commission interpreted it as a political advertisement.
13. Pia Benegal, director Shyam Benegal’s daughter had as a kindergarten student lent her voice for the ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ ad jingle.
14. The present Amul Butter cartoons are drawn by Jayant Rane.
Bonus: A mosaic of the Amul moppet made up of 1,432 individual Amul ads
(With inputs from various sources)