Indian dairy brand Amul allocates only a tiny proportion of its turnover to advertising but that hasn’t hampered its growth, which its managing director predicts will hit 20% in 2019-20.

R S Sodhi, managing director of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets dairy products under the Amul brand, told Afaqs! that “we spend only 0.8% of our annual turnover on advertisements and we’ve been following that for the last five years”.

That’s far below category norms. A US study, for example, has shown that the food industry in general spent 3.7% of sales on advertising (in 2017) while the dairy sector came in at almost twice that, on 7.2%.

“The reason is, we do umbrella branding,” Sodhi explained. “We do not have many genres and we sell everything under Amul’s name. Our strategy is to keep the advertising spending as low as possible as we don’t believe that by spending more you can build the brand.”

Amul has developed a unique approach, a big part of which involves the iconic Amul Girl, first created in 1966 to promote the brand’s butter and who has spent the past 52 years making topical comments from billboards.

“Give me an example where brand recall is throughout the campaign,” demanded Sodhi. “If you look at the other brands, you’ll recognise them by their products but Amul has been completely different from others, because it’s the consistency in communication,” he told Exchange4media.

Amul Doodh Peeta hai India has completed 15 years, whereas Amul the Taste of India has been in the market for 25 years,” he added. “Once we create, we adhere to it.”

A disinclination to spend on advertising, however, has not prevented Amul from investing in some high-profile marketing: it has just announced it will be sponsoring the Afghanistan cricket team for the ICC World Cup, which begins at the end of this month.

“The World Cup is a good opportunity to connect with youth,” said Sodhi. “At the same time, we have a very old association with Afghanistan whose team is rated as the fastest growing cricket team in the world.”

Sourced from Afaqs!, exchange4media, The Better India; additional content by WARC staff