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Amul’s ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ Brand Elements

CASE STUDY, BRAND MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 10 pages
AUTHOR(S) : A. J. Swapna and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Amul’s ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ Brand Elements

 

“The Onida devil died away, the Liril girl did not live long and we don’t really know how long the Air India Maharaja will live. But innovation, in the Amul girl’s case, was never really needed. We never had to really play on the way she looked. Because along the way, she became the country’s darling.”

– Rahul DaCunha, MD and Creative Head, DaCunha Communications


“Amul has dangerously stagnated in Indian consumer’s psyche. While the elderly connect to it emotionally, the brand lacks an aspirational connect to draw the youth who would decide the fate of all brands during this decade.”

– N. Chandramouli, CEO, Trust Research Advisory


Amul Butter girl claimed her place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest running outdoor advertising campaign. Launched in 1967, the butter girl has been the mascot to advertise and promote Amul Butter for nearly half a century. Popularly known as ‘Amul Butter Girl’, the thumb sized – cute and chubby, blue-haired, round faced moppet with no visible nose, in a red polka-dotted dress – acted as a social satirist who delivered dairy-based topical4 on all the major happenings around the world (Exhibit I).

The topicals, mostly involved pun based on bread, butter or dairy, in a mix of English, Hindi or regional languages. These topical-signage’s have helped the company to build a brand identity, by highlighting contemporary issues, it identified itself and seemed to share the concerns of people. Analysts remarked that character branding has been used since time immemorial by many brands all over the world, but Amul continues to be a classic example of this technique. When brands use character-branding, can they keep up with the innovation or changes in the market? Should Amul continue with the consumer-connect model that has served it so well for decades or should it change its strategy in order to keep up with the changing socio-economic scenario? With ubiquitous digital footprint, how should Amul chart its course?........

Amul’s History

The Amul Dairy Cooperative, jointly owned by 2.8 million milk producers in Gujarat was formed in 1946. During those days, the farmers in the milk sector were exploited by the dominance of intermediaries and interference of the British Colonials. There was only Bombay Milk Scheme (BMS), run by government, but it was Polson Dairy (Polson), a locally-owned dairy in Anand Gujarat, which controlled the procurement, production and marketing of all the dairies...............

Amul and Dr. Verghese Kurien

Known as the ‘Milkman of India’ and the ‘Father of White Revolution’, Dr. Kurien completed his Master of Science from Michigan State University in 1948 and joined as an engineer in Anand creamery, a unit of government Dairy Department in 1949. When Dr. Kurien decided to quit his job in Anand, it was Tribhuvan Das Patel (Founder of the Kaira Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union in 1946), who persuaded him to stay back to help in creating the milk co-operatives...........

Operation Flood – The White Revolution (1970-1996)

Dr. Kurien launched Operation Flood/White Revolution in 1970 as a program of the NDDB, ranging over a period of 26 years. It is considered as the largest rural development program of India. It has been hailed as one of the transformative initiatives of rural India. World Bank financed the program, which was the world’s biggest dairy development program.............

Amul’s Brand Strategy

Branding played a key role to add a tinge of nationalism to the White Revolution. Amul was not just a milk and butter brand, it became an umbrella brand for all the products that GCMMF marketed. Amul products were available in over 500,000 retail outlets across India through its network of over 3,500 distributors. Amul is the common brand for most product categories produced by various unions............

Amul’s Brand Elements

Dr.Kurien wanted to choose a brand name that would not sound foreign. The brand name Amul was suggested by a quality control expert in Anand and it was chosen because it was a perfect acronym for Anand Milk Union Limited (AMUL). The word Amul (Amoolya) also translates to ‘priceless’ in Sanskrit language..........

Amul Girl Campaigns for the Brand

Launched in 1967, the butter girl moppet is being used for advertising and promoting Amul Butter for nearly half a century. It was created as an outdoor hoarding advertisement because there was no regular transmission of Television in 1966. The press was very expensive as they had only the Delhi press and Radio was not used by the common man..............

Amul gets Trademark Protection

In August 2015, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) approved that no one else can cash in on the Amul popularity for any products as it was trademarked. The brand name Amul, its fonts and other brand-related specifics became the intellectual property of GCMMF and no one would be able to copy it.............

Will ‘Butter Girl’s’ Magic Fade Away?

Even after 50 years of creating its outdoor advertising campaigns, Amul advertisements still hold that charm, which attracted Indian consumer’s attention whenever they passed by a billboard or a hoarding. By the end of 2014, Amul collected 447,000 liters of milk from 2.12 million farmers and delivered milk products worth 6 crore to over 500,000 retail outlets every day across the country.............

Assignment Questions

I. What do you mean by brand elements and what are the key brand elements? Why are brand elements important for building a brand’s equity?
II. What are Amul’s brand elements? How do they contribute to Amul’s brand equity?
III. ...............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Few Amul Butter Topicals

Exhibit II: Product Categories under the Brand Amul

Exhibit III: Amul Building its Brand Elements over the Years (1946-1994)

Exhibit IV: Amul Brand Elements

Exhibit V: Amul Butter Girl Over the years

Annexures

Annexure I: Operation Flood/White Revolution

Teaching Note Preview

Amul’s ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ Brand Elements

 

Synopsis

Amul Butter girl claimed her place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest running outdoor advertising campaign. Launched in 1967, the butter girl mascot is being used to advertise and promote Amul Butter for nearly half a century. Popularly known as Amul Butter girl, the thumb sized – cute and chubby, blue-haired, round faced moppet with no visible nose, in a red polka-dotted dress acted as a social satirist who delivered dairy-based topicals on all the major  happenings around the world.

Analysts remarked that character branding has been used since time immemorial by many brands all over the world, Amul is a classic example of this technique even after four decades. But when brands use character branding, can it keep up with the innovation or changes in the market? Should Amul continue with the consumer-connect model that has served it so well for decades, or should it change its strategy in order to keep up with India’s changing socio-economic scenario? With ubiquitous digital footprint, how should Amul chart its course?

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding (PCU)/Before the Classroom Discussion

This Case study’s discussion would be more effective if the participants understand the nuances of Choosing Brand Elements. A preliminary understanding of this concept can be had from the following suggested chapter:

  • • Kevin Lane Keller, et al., “Choosing Brand Elements to Build Brand Equity”, Strategic Brand Management, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education, Inc., 2011

 

Mandatory Viewing

The students/participants were asked to view the following that would help build a better connect with the case’s purported learning:

  • a) Manthan, (1976), Directed by Shyam Benegal, Produced by Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd.
  • b) Amul Butter Girl’s Renditions

 

Case Positioning and Setting

This Case Study is positioned to understand the process of Choosing brand elements to build Brand Equity. Ideally suited for “Choosing Brand Elements to Build Brand Equity” chapter of Strategic Brand Management course, this case study can be used in MBA, Executive MBA programs and Digital Marketing module.

Assignment Questions

  • I. What do you mean by brand elements and what are the key brand elements? Why are brand elements important for building a brand’s equity?
  • II. What are Amul’s brand elements? How do they contribute to Amul’s brand equity?
  • III. ......................

 

Preamble to the Case Analysis

Brand Elements, as Keller defined, refer to “those trademark device that serve to identify and differentiate the brand”. Needless to say, all the brand elements along with the accompanying guidelines form critical components of any brands long-lasting performance. As someone said while people buy the products, they pay for a brand and with intense category competition amongst brands within the category along with regional brands and private labels it is imperative for the brands to vie for top-of-the mind recall in a given category. And one of the established and proven ways is to chalk out memorable, meaningful and likable brand elements that can enhance a brands recall value. This case study enables an interesting discussion on Amul’s brand elements including an evaluation of Amul’s brand elements and accordingly this case study was orchestrated in the classroom [Exhibit (TN)-I]...................

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Abstract


This case study introduces the participants/students to the concept and importance of choosing brand elements to build brand equity. Brand elements - name, logo, color, imagery, tagline, jingles and packaging - go a long way in building a brand's equity. Amul's umbrella brand, which is operational since 1967, offers interesting insights into the importance of choosing brand elements. While there are definite criteria for choosing brand elements - Memorability, Meaningfulness, Likability, Transferability, Adaptability and Protectability - How has Amul's brand been soaring on these criteria? What lessons do Amul's tactics for its brand elements offer for building sustainable and thriving brand equity? While Amul's 'utterly, butterly, delicious' girl became the country's darling, does its brand performance also reflect the brand's acceptance?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the need and the importance of choosing appropriate brand elements to build brand's equity
  • To analyze, Amul's brand elements - name, logo, color, imagery, tagline, jingles and packaging - and discuss on the connect between these elements and Amul’s brand equity
  • To examine and access Amul's brand elements with the six criteria

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for the following:

  • In MBA Program - Brand Management course - To understand the concept and importance of choosing appropriate brand elements to build brand equity
  • In MDPs/EDPs - To demonstrate how brands build brand equity leveraging on brand elements




This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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