Created as an answer to tackle the rival butter maker’s mascot, our sweet little Amul girl is the victorious soldier of the Battle of Butter. A brainchild of Sylvester Da Cunha, she was brought to life by Usha Katrak and Eustace Fernandes, the art director at Da Cunha Communications. The Amul Girl is an adorable chubby-cheeked, blue-haired, dressed in red and white polka dots mascot- holding a slice of bread smeared with Amul butter, smacking her lips.
In 1967, this hand-drawn cartoon was created for large-sized hoardings, posters, and panels across Mumbai to grab commuters’ attention. Advertising in the newspapers and on television was an expensive affair. Till today, it remains one of the most heavily spent upon means of advertising.
Polson’s Butter was the biggest rival of Amul. A similar girl mascot is observed in their promotional posters. This masterstroke was, to put to good use the under-utilised, relatively inexpensive outdoor advertising, which created a buzz like no other. Apart from promoting the butter brand, the Amul girl is often tasked with commenting on politics, issues of national importance, and significant items in history through simple illustrations and smart, punny dialogues.
The concept of this mascot is appreciated as one of the most effective ad campaigns in the history of advertising. Sales of Amul sky-rocketed after the butter packets featured the adorable moppet.
Nisha Da Cunha, wife of Sylvester Da Cunha is credited with the phrase, “Utterly Butterly delicious”. Although met with initial hesitation for being grammatically incorrect, this unconventional tagline has been one of the most successful catchphrases ever.
In 2016, the mascot turned 50. Still adorable, still the same round face that never fails to make one smile. Politically vocal, she has been embroiled in her share of controversies with political parties threatening to shut down or vandalize the Amul office over her punny commentary. But, the Amul girl has braved this all and now is an icon of Indian pop culture.
She still lives on through Rahul DaCunha, Manish Jhaveri and Jayant Rane’s creative minds taking on the world with her cute and innocent smile. Alyque Padamsee in an interview for NDTV on the occasion of 50 years of Amul ad campaigns spoke about how she was the genesis of ‘Hinglish’. It is through her, that we commented on and documented snippets of history across these years. She is the pulse of social opinion, summing it up into usually 5-6 words! Now that is brilliant marketing!
A Consistent campaign, evolving with times and combining nostalgia with renewal she has made way to success like ‘warm-butter-sliding- down- hot- toast’! (All the puns intended). The Amul girl is a wonderful paradox. She refuses to age but is quite old. She has stood the test of time and is an undisputable queen of Indian marketing history.