‘For my dad Sylvester daCunha, Amul was at all times greater than the person’: Rahul daCunha

For a lot of Indians, the morning information is incomplete with out the Amul lady’s every day tongue-in-cheek tackle present affairs, newsmakers and celebrities. The long-lasting noseless lady with blue hair and a pink polka-dot frock made her Totally Butterly Scrumptious debut in 1966 and has stayed prime of thoughts ever since. The brainchild of adman Sylvester daCunha, it’s now within the Guinness E-book of World Information because the longest-running promoting marketing campaign on the planet.

Sylvester, who handed away on June 20 on the age of 92, was certainly one of India’s inventive legends. After he began his personal promoting company, daCunha Communications, in 1962, he labored with a myriad of main manufacturers, together with Britannia biscuits, Lakmé, and Tata Tea. A multitasker, he was additionally the founding father of the Theatre Group of Bombay, and served as a meals and vitamin marketing consultant on quite a few initiatives with the World Financial institution and UNICEF.

Sylvester da Cunha, creator of the Amul advertising campaign

Sylvester da Cunha, creator of the Amul promoting marketing campaign

Wanting again at his father’s legacy, his son Rahul daCunha says, “The Amul lady is a good Indian icon. One cause why she is beloved is as a result of she’s gone past the model — she’s everybody’s daughter. And that’s what an icon does. That’s what Dad did. With life being so uneasy, you look to those icons to reassure you that life is okay.”

Adman and digital marketer Shubho Sengupta catches up with Rahul, the present director of daCunha Communications, to reminisce his father’s legacy and the times forward.

Shubho Sengupta: India has misplaced a legend, with the passing of Sylvester daCunha. However his legacy is in ready palms. What’s the secret of your Dad’s best success, the Amul model’s longevity? The one icon that comes shut is The Rolling Stones.

Rahul daCunha: The one approach that we’ve a slight one up on the Stones is that they wrote all their songs between the 60s and the 80s, and are nonetheless dwelling off the identical songs. I need a new single each single day. [Laughs.] Simply kidding!

There is no such thing as a approach that one is ready to inform once you create one thing, if it’ll have longevity, sustainability. Will or not it’s an enormous concept? These days, there are too many promoting individuals. And I don’t know whether or not it’s due to social media, second advertising, or the meme tradition, however individuals don’t suppose when it comes to one thing that can final without end.

An old Amul hoarding

An outdated Amul hoarding

If you look again at my Dad’s time, take a look at the variety of mascots that had been created, whether or not it’s Dad doing the Amul lady, or Bobby Kooka doing the Maharajah, or Gopi Kukde doing the Onida Satan. There was an try to create icons. I see an advert in regards to the IPL at this time, and I don’t bear in mind it. Is it as a result of we over emphasise on celebrities and endorsements?

An Amul ad

An Amul advert

One factor I learnt from Dad was, you create properties that don’t come out of the manufacturing unit. The Amul lady has created a way of humour. After all, there’s style, and the entire ‘Totally Butterly’ factor. However once you discuss longevity, it’s about creating properties that you really want the patron to recollect. And when you do this, then the remainder is historical past. When Dad created the Amul lady, he didn’t suppose that it could final this lengthy. However I feel successive individuals have revered the model persona. And there’s no query: you want a superb shopper. The dying of promoting has been the revolving door of promoting managers, as a result of every man is available in attempting to create his personal legacy.

S: Within the age of memes and emojis, Twitter and Chat GPT, the Amul lady has not simply survived, however out-memed the memes, out-tweeted the tweets. Final night time, I used to be telling somebody that I’ll be interviewing you, and he or she instructed me the story a few well-known bakery in Pune (Kayani). This was within the early 2000s, and for some cause, Amul’s butter provide was a bit erratic at the moment. The baker shut down the store and mentioned, ‘When the availability resumes, I’ll get my cookies out.’ My pal requested, ‘Why don’t you employ another butter?’ This outdated man in his 90s gave her a dying stare and mentioned, ‘Don’t you already know what the model is?’ The core concept is so sturdy, it stays forward of any new medium, new expertise.

R: Overlook about Chat GPT and AI, my fear about the place we’re proper now’s that we’re making a nation and a expertise of imitators. There’s nothing distinct; it’s designed to offer you a conveyor belt sort of strategy. Massive concepts come out of a thoughts, they don’t come out of a pc. So, expertise is incredible, however the current expertise is worrying as a result of it lacks creativity, it lacks creativeness. The entire function of promoting and creativity is to create a USP. Chat GPT is the precise reverse of that.

Amul’s tongue-in-cheek takes

Amul’s tongue-in-cheek takes

Amul on Priyanka Chopra’s MET Gala dress

Amul on Priyanka Chopra’s MET Gala costume

S: I agree. Chat GPT is nice expertise, but it surely lacks empathy. And with out empathy, there’s no join with the model. The opposite factor I needed to ask is, you didn’t begin out at your Dad’s company, you went to Lintas. So, what made you be a part of your Dad later?

R: It’s a query I’ll at all times ask myself. The greatness of my Dad was that he mentioned, ‘You go and do your factor. And I’ll do my factor.’ He was at all times a inventive man. And what we didn’t need is a conflict as a result of we each got here from completely different inventive worlds. However as Indian boys, there’s something about taking up your dad’s enterprise [laughs]. I’ll say that engaged on the Amul model was an enormous temptation for me. There’s an amazing problem in taking over the mantle of one thing that’s so well-known and so iconic. The attractive factor about this marketing campaign is, it’s not a simple one. We’re not simply on a hoarding now, we’ve gone to every day press, we’re on social media and the web, which has given us entire new alternatives. One factor I’ve discovered through the years on this great nation is that what works within the East isn’t of any curiosity to someone within the South. So, one must be aware, each when it comes to matter and language.

Amul welcomes Rishi Sunak

Amul welcomes Rishi Sunak

S: It’s been 20 years because the authentic trio — Sylvester da Cunha, Eustace Fernandes and Usha Katrakanda — have been changed with (the brand new Amul trio) Rahul da Cunha, Manish Jhaveri and Jayant Rane. I’m struggling to suppose if any model on the planet has saved the DNA so true to the unique. How did this occur so seamlessly?

R: It’s an actual lesson in model consistency. When you concentrate on it, we’ve tried to keep up the identical feeling that Dad and his staff did, that you’re solely pretty much as good as your final advert. As a result of public reminiscence is brief. If you happen to return to The Rolling Stones band, what’s the cause that ‘Exile on Important Road’ and ‘Goat’s head soup’ had been so good? As a result of they realised {that a} profitable album is simply going to take you to date. If you happen to don’t comply with it up with a superb second album, individuals will overlook you — and they’re very fast to criticise within the fashionable Twitter period. Throughout Dad’s time, the rule was you retain your headline quick. Even now, you have got 5 seconds to catch the millennial or the Gen Z as he scrolls down on his telephone. So it’s the basic guidelines: preserve it tight, preserve it memorable. And the model is at all times greater than the person.

Rahul Da Cunha (centre) with theatre actors Rajit Kapur and Shernaz Patel

Rahul Da Cunha (centre) with theatre actors Rajit Kapur and Shernaz Patel
| Photograph Credit score:
Getty Pictures

S: Each your father and also you had been profitable admen, but additionally deeply concerned in theatre. In actual fact, your dad arrange the Theatre Group of Bombay. How did the 2 of you reside in so many alternative worlds?

R: I come from the final technology of people that did theatre and promoting collectively. I feel it comes from a sure mindset that multitasking is every part. For lots of promoting males within the 60s, 70s and 80s, together with my Dad, it was pure that they did the theatre. It was at all times a part of my DNA. Additionally, I feel promoting and theatre have at all times been linked as a result of each are performing arts.

The author is an adman and digital marketer.

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