Iconic Ads: Amul – Taste of India

The task was to bring all the products under one umbrella and have a philosophy running across which would add to brand Amul.

By 1995, GCCMF aka Amul had grown to be a multiproduct company. And different products had different target audiences.

In each region, customers had different imagery of Amul. For example, in the north, Amul was famous for Ghee (Amul also has Sagar brand of Ghee), butter and cheese. In the south, customers were more familiar with the milk powders from Amul. Apart from this, there was Nutramul, chocolates etc.

The task was to bring all the products under one umbrella and have a common thread running across the products and brands – an identity/ philosophy/ message running across which would add gravitas to the umbrella brand Amul.

R S Sodhi, MD of GCMMF, compared the umbrella brand and individual brands to an Indian family. He said, “an umbrella brand is like an Indian family, where the father is the head, and he takes care of the children. When they grow up and become independent, they hold the umbrella for the family”.

The phrase, Taste of India, was written by Kannan Krishnan of ASP, for a film done before. However, it was Ulka who took the line and gave it importance.

Ulka, that time was helping Amul face multiple battles at that time. They had to promote the individual products, categories and the Amul brand. Since Amul had a wide range they were facing competition from multiple organizations both multinationals and Indian.

The creative team was led by Haresh Moorjani and Subodh Poddar.

Subodh says “the idea that was developed was ‘My Amul’. Here we played with the emotions of having grown up with Amul. Amul was so close to all our lives that it inspired me to write the lines to express all those emotions….ज़रा सी हँसी दुलार ज़रा सा (Zara Si Hansi Dulaar Zara Sa)”

Subodh directed this film. He saw this film as his memories of his growing up with Amul. And with this universal thought, he executed the film with all non-models to get a convincing look, with people who have never faced a camera before, to get that ‘real look’. There were no recognizable faces. It finally looked like he and his friends and neighbours in the commercial.

He had his pains though. He had to tear his hair with a tough combination of 65 fresh faces and one perfectionist DOP. The models could not understand any camera angles, focus point, acting and interacting while the DOP Barun Mukherjee wanted everything perfectly in place.

Subodh found a middle path but he lost a few hairs!

While the film gives an impression that it was shot all over India, but in reality, all the shots were taken in and around Mumbai.

There is one shot that Subodh remembers happened like a blessing from God. “We were travelling towards the south to an outdoor location that looked like hills of North India. We gathered a lot of Nepali kids and started at 4 am from Mumbai for the shoot. The unit was travelling in 5 vehicles. One driver, wanting to take a shortcut, lost his way. We reached the location that resembled the hills. But had to wait for the lost bus which was bringing the Nepali kids. It was a long wait. And to add more misery, the clouds came hovering over the landscape covering the entire backdrop in mist. We lost the look of the hills. Even if the lost bus found the way back to the location we would not find the North Indian hills! And I was in a conundrum.”

While waiting, Subodh got an idea. He asked every unit member to make prayer flags that were typical of Buddhist hill sites. Whatever clothes found in the middle of nowhere were cut into pieces and strung onto ropes as prayer flags.

Hours passed. The lost bus with Nepali kids arrived. To add more misery started to rain.

Subodh happily remembers “the North Indian hills were completely lost, but the prayer flags saved the day. The first shot of the happy Nepali kids in this TVC takes me back to that awesome day.”

Subodh admits that these real, non-models gave this first Amul the Taste of India film the look of “my India, my Amul”.

Vishwajeet composed the jingle. He used musical instruments from Assam, Bengal, Bihar, UP, Kumaon, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamilnadu. The multiple instruments added a deft touch to the music.

Coincidentally this was Sukhvinder Singh’s first recording in Mumbai. And to round it off, Garry Lawyer’s soulful voice adds so much more to the jingle.

Amul, the taste of India is unmatched until today.

The commercial evokes a larger-than-life feel and the spirit of Indian culture in a contemporary way.

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