4 December, 2020

The moppet who put Amul on India's breakfast table

18 February, 2010

Summer of 1967. A Charni Road flat. Mrs. Sheela Mane, a 28-year-old housewife is out in the balcony drying clothes. From her second floor flat she can see her neighbours on the road. There are other people too. The crowd seems to be growing larger by the minute. Unable to curb her curiosity Sheela Mane hurries down to see what all the commotion is about. She expects the worst but can see no signs of an accident. It is her four-year-old who draws her attention to the hoarding that has come up overnight. "It was the first Amul hoarding that was put up in Mumbai," recalls Sheela Mane. "People loved it. I remember it was our favourite topic of discussion for the next one week! Everywhere we went somehow or the other the campaign always seemed to crop up in our conversation."

Call her the Friday to Friday star. Round eyed, chubby cheeked, winking at you, from strategically placed hoardings at many traffic lights. She is the Amul moppet everyone loves to love (including prickly votaries of the Shiv Sena and BJP). How often have we stopped, looked, chuckled at the Amul hoarding that casts her sometime as the coy, shy Madhuri, a bold sensuous Urmila or simply as herself, dressed in her little polka dotted dress and a red and white bow, holding out her favourite packet of butter.

For 30 odd years the Utterly Butterly girl has managed to keep her fan following intact. So much so that the ads are now ready to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest running campaign ever. The ultimate compliment to the butter came when a British company launched a butter and called it Utterly Butterly, last year.

It all began in 1966 when Sylvester daCunha, then the managing director of the advertising agency, ASP, clinched the account for Amul butter. The butter, which had been launched in 1945, had a staid, boring image, primarily because the earlier advertising agency which was in charge of the account preferred to stick to routine, corporate ads.





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