Archive for February 2010

Dove ‘Evolution’: No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted

February 27, 2010

Evolution, a largely web based phenomena by Dove has been an astounding success both commercially and artistically. Dove’s parent company Unilever reported a growth of 5.8% in sales of Dove products following the release of Evolution. The spot also won the Grand Prix in the Cyber category at Cannes in 2006, apart from numerous other advertising awards at various festivals. All good!

However, the reason I like this one minute 14-second spot is because it appeals to the social activist in me. It made me realize that to some extent I have been successful in keeping the unabashed persistence by brand forces at bay. I have not let them take complete control of my psyche.

Evolution tells a sharp story, by effective use of stop-motion animation technique and haunting music. A young woman is transformed into a stunning, albeit unreal model by harsh lighting, a team of make-up artists, hair stylists and some ‘Photoshopping’. In the process, an illusion is revealed to the viewers. The images of ‘beautiful’ that women often aspire to, are really just computer wizardry and for the most part, unreal.  Notwithstanding the allegations that it’s just another marketing campaign for a beauty product, what I find refreshing is that it has sparked a debate with its provocative social message.  It has successfully pulled back the veil on manufactured images in magazines and billboards. And really, its huge success just goes to prove that there is a bit of activism enduring in most of us…

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Amul Butter: Utterly Butterly Delicious

February 24, 2010

I suppose I don’t really know why I chose to discuss Amul’s “Utterly Butterly Delicious” campaign as I begin my blog.  The campaign’s innate Indianness may have something to do with it. Its sensibility is uniquely Indian so much so that Amul Billboards have become a part of the culture…no moment of significance is significant enough if it hasn’t been cheekily celebrated by Amul Butter. Increasing popularity of social media; legalizing of homosexuality in the country; swine flu pandemic; success of Slumdog Millionaire – all have had a place among the many ‘topicals’ of Amul.

Delhi High Court judgement legalizing Homosexuality

Growing popularity of social media

Growing popularity of social media

Amul’s brand ambassador – a round faced little girl with chubby cheeks and bow tied hair, holding out a packet of Amul butter in strategically posted billboards has been around for more than 3 decades now.  Taking their cue from popular culture – a headline grabbing news piece, a controversy, or a bollywood film, the billboards say something that is on people’s minds and thus find almost an instant connect with the audience. Over the years, the ads have gained an inimitable identity which by extension lends itself to the brand. Along the way, these ads have also caused ripples and stirred controversies – the one with Amul girl wearing the Gandhi cap rubbed many in the political milieu the wrong way. But such episodes haven’t disrupted the risqué tone. And yet, with their tongue-in-cheek humor, the yummy spoofs and the adorable mascot provide an endearing and long lasting quality to the brand.

For those of you interested, the Amul website showcases the entire collection at


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