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Indian dairy giant Amul doubled its marketing spend across media during the lockdown across the country and is now reporting gains over rivals in sales, brand building and top of the mind recall with consumers.
Speaking to the Economic Times’ Brand Equity, RS Sodhi, managing director, Amul said the brand didn’t see the logic in reducing advertising spend during the pandemic.
“For us, brand building is like long-term asset building and not just a sales pitch. More importantly, advertising is another form of communication with the consumer, and for us, they are family. So if a family member is distressed, we should communicate more, rather than less,” he added.
According to TAM Adex data, during the months of April and May 2020, Amul’s ad volumes witnessed a 316% increase over the corresponding period last year. Between April and May, Amul’s ad volumes went up by almost 21%. The brand dominated with over 87% of share of voice in six out of 12 categories it operates in.
“After we upped the spending, it was clear that families were watching TV together. And just a week after, we hit a jackpot when ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’ came back on Doordarshan. We immediately grabbed the sponsorship deal,” Sodhi said. “We knew it would get good viewership, but we never anticipated such a response. We got 10 times more viewership than the Indian Premier League, at one tenth of the cost.”
More importantly, the company ensured that supply was uninterrupted, by incentivising supply chain partners during the disruption. “During the 80 days of lockdown, we have given Rs 11,000 crore (US$1.45m) cash to our farmers. Our milk procurement was also up by 17%, and there was a 30-40% increase in sale of milk, butter, paneer and cheese,” said Sodhi.
This helped the company not only maintain its advertising blitzes but also meet the surge in consumer demand during lockdown, as Indians were stuck at home. The jump in household demand helped the company offset losses in the hotels, restaurant and catering sector.
Amul has also tapped into rising consumer awareness towards health and nutrition products, thanks to the pandemic. In tandem with increasing demand for turmeric milk among customers, it launched ‘Ginger’ and ‘Tulsi’ milk variants in mid-June – ayurvedic drinks touted to boost immunity.