Anil Thakraney: Need more Amul girls

15 Jun,2012

By Anil Thakraney


The Amul baby has turned 50. And what a super brand representative she’s been for so many years. The babe’s lost none of her spark, wit and zip. And unlike heavily paid celebrities, she can live on forever. And guess what… she doesn’t charge a penny! I must tell you, I have been strictly advised against butter consumption due to my high BP. But once in a while, unable to resist the charms of the little girl, I do smuggle out a pack from the department store. Such is the pull of a human brand mnemonic.


This makes me wonder. Why don’t we see many more such powerful human brand symbols in Indian advertising? One would have thought Amul’s example would inspire many brand managers. Yes, it’s costly to build a brand mnemonic, you have to invest in it, and it takes many years to make it a powerful brand associator. But the long term benefits justify all that expense. Surely, movie stars and cricketers cost a lot more and they can never be exclusive to a brand. And long term association is out of the question. Even Taj Mahal tea had to eventually drop Zakir Hussein saab after using him for many years.


Incidentally, the Amul girl’s story reminds me of two other memorable desi brand figures. Both, unfortunately, died along the way. One is the Air India Maharaja. He was much adored for many decades, and His Royal Highness actually did not deserve to be killed. Brand Air India has deteriorated badly in recent times, and perhaps the guardians realized the Maharaja doesn’t fit in any more, that they don’t deserve him.


The other one is Asian Paints’ Gattu, the cute little painter boy. Although I once handled that account, I am not entirely sure why they wrote his obituary. I suspect it happened when Asian Paints launched their luxury emulsion, and found Gattu to be too ‘down-market’ for premium imagery. I personally think it was a mistake, a knee jerk reaction. Gattu could have lived on for many more years and served the paint company well.


Anyways, here’s hoping to see at least a few brand managers take a cue from the Amul girl in the near future.


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PS: I am aware a number of media, advertising and marketing professionals read my blog posts. But now I have discovered that politicians like Mamata didi and Mulayam bhaiyya are also my fans! As early as last month I had written a post suggesting that Dr Manmohan Singh be made Prez. Well, the two seem to agree with me! 🙂


Here’s the link.



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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Need more Amul girls”

  1. Himanshu says:

    Ha Ha…not for the current post but for your new found fans….hilarious…I guess the words “Abey Thakraney..” gave the fact that it had to be a neta!!!