The Making of Amul – The Taste of India
Who isn’t familiar with the cute girl in red polka dots dress and matching bow in her hair who has a cheeky take on all the current world events? The Amul girl over the decades has adorned the billboards, newspapers and has even become a part of the social media – her charm, wit and spirit has enchanted us all. The brand she represents is the epitome of not only a success story but a successful revolution in India.
How it all began
In 1946, farmers in the Kaira district of Gujarat, formed their own co-operative society after suffering in hands of middleman for years. Under the directives of Sardhar Vallabhai Patel, the farmers of two villages formed co-operative societies and pasteurized milk for the Bombay Milk Scheme. Today, the society is known as Amul and it has gone from strength to strength to become the top dairy brand of India.
Milkman of India
Few years later, the legendary Verghese Kurien, who would later be called as the Milkman of India, entered the Dairy scene in Anand, Gujarat, which later became the headquarters of Amul. He was entrusted with the job of managing the dairy. His visionary led to the the revolution of the dairy industry in India which became referred to as the Operation White Flood.
Those days, India was a dairy-deficiency country. Operation White Flood was a co-operative movement that turned the tables of fortune for India. India from being an importer of milk has risen to become the largest producer of milk, thanks to the efforts and vision of one man. Under his leadership, the dairy farmers were able to centralise the marketing and quality control facilities. In the early seventies, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) was founded to market milk and affiliated products of six district co-op unions of the state.
The Amul model
Amul was sensitive to the needs of the farmers and the representatives managed the dairy business for farmers in the most impeccable way. The success of the amul model or Anand Milk Federation Union Limited as it was initially called was noticed by the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Seeing the umpteen benefits of what Amul brought for the farmers and the economy, he set up the National Dairy Development Board to replicate the amul model across the country, in the year 1965, chaired by Kurien.
When the point came where Kurien had to come up with a brand name, he chose a name that would bring a sense of familiarity and Indianness. Thus, Amul was born. Kurien decided that if the farmers owned the brand, it will make them more responsible for the quality of products along with giving them a sense of ownership. It gave them strength to adapt to the new challenges and strive to produce quality products. This is also why states have their own brand names. Today, the brand has grown to market an umbrella of dairy products.
The amul girl
Kurien approached Sylvester DaCunha to create a mascot to market the Amul brand. This gave birth to the ever-delightful mappot “Amul girl”. Eustace Fernandes had the pleasure of sketching the mascot. Kurien gave the Dacunha Communications free-reign to release ads without any prior consultations with the company.This is why we see the Amul girl never wavering or delaying to speak her mind on the current events of the world with her wit. Even today, that legacy of creative freedom is carried by Dacunha agency under Sylvester’s son Rahul DeCunha.
Growth and success story
By the eighties, the marketing federation in attempts of strengthen the brand, started to build its distribution network. As a result, a number of other products were marketed by Amul. In the last decade, the marketing federation has been successful in procuring milk from other states and strengthening the brand. In 2012, Kurien, who dedicated his life to the welfare of dairy farmers, passed away due to illness.
Today, GCMMF is a tall global brand that has ventured outside the traditional amul products to bring out into new products ranging from flavoured butter to ice creams. Amul has its presence in over 50 countries with remarkable success. The story Amul remains to be a source of inspiration for every entrepreneur taking the road less travelled.