Iconic Ads: NDDB – Doodh Piyo Glassful

The image of milk had taken a beating in comparison to the exciting cola campaigns and this Doodh campaign turned it around.

In the early 90s, milk faced a surprising challenge from soft drinks. Thanks to liberalization, people got access to colas, sodas and chocolates, etc.

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), along with founder Varghese Kurien looked for a solution. (Many attribute this to Amul when it was NDDB that commissioned this project)

Apart from children that needed the benefits of milk, the adults needed it too. 

Before liberalization, people had job security resulting in a stable life. But with privatization, Indians had to jostle with each other for higher paychecks.

With an increase in income came stress. Plus aspirations like maintaining a higher standard of health – jogging, exercising etc. Indians wanted to be fit.

There was a one-line brief from Dr Kurien. He told FCB Ulka to showcase the benefits of milk for the urban Indian – make it relevant.

Ulka researched and found that the image of milk had taken a beating in comparison to the exciting campaigns of the colas. Milk was seen as something forced down your throat by moms.

Shashi Sinha led the team and Haresh Moorjani (who led the creative team of Gayatri Chauhan & Jovan John) had the clever idea of making a Hinglish campaign (not done then) creating imagery similar to colas. It was Haresh who gave the creative idea of making milk hip. His brief ” What if milk was a cool, hip drink which came in trendy bottles/ tetra packs? How would we approach it then?”

Haresh, Gayatri and Jovan wrote the lyrics which were derived from each benefit of milk. And as Haresh recollects “But just so that it didn’t sound like a manual on milk, we added an English word at the end of each line, just for fun, to give it attitude and personality.”

Jovan who was musically inclined strummed a few lines of the song which was then given to Leslie Lewis to build upon, along with the lyrics. The reggae based music which is integral to the commercial had the Caribbean feel, conveying something tropical, fun, beaches, good times etc. Leslie took the idea of the doodh doodh sound, the lyrics & gave it form.

The word Doodh was repeated in the Kunal Ganjawala sung jingle to drive it home and for people to learn and sing along easily. Hence, you hear – Doodh, doodh doodh doodh; doodh hai wonderful, pi sakte hain roz glassful; Doodh doodh doodh doodh!”

Kids who usually changed channels as soon as an ad break came would wait for the Doodh ad to listen to husky “Moooooo“ in the end.

Deven Khote who directed the film had a larger role to play. He got models to act in this film for a paltry sum. He also worked with the Ulka team on the black & white backdrop as milk would show up best on that with the primary colours worn by models.

The film served a larger purpose. There was a unity in diversity theme featuring Indians of all ages & kinds – mime artist, Kathakali dancer, body-builder, policeman, a group of boys celebrating Dahi handi, an executive, a young couple, a healthy, jiving old Parsi couple dancing and singing with a glass of milk. They also had the milk moustache, all happy to be drinking Doodh.

Another objective of advertising was to show the logo of Operation Flood, which is like a drop of milk.

No one expected it to do so well, including the folks at Ulka. Actually, Sinha’s boss did not approve of the ad.

But as they, the rest was history. The client went ahead with the film and within a couple of months, they found out that people loved it and were watching the ads even during breaks.

Since the TVC was serving a greater good, channels gave the agency discounted rates for a time. Then came multiple awards. Kids were singing it on school buses. Radio stations were talking about it. It was a super hit!

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