When it comes to smart, canny advertising, no one can beat Amul. Over the years, the dairy brand has built an advertising campaign for its butter that references current events, capturing everything from politics to movies to the latest controversy with its witty puns and sharp commentary.
The result? If you look at Amul ads through the years, you get little nuggets of insight into what was making the headlines that year. A 1991 Amul ad shows then finance minister, Manmohan Singh, perilously walking the tightrope. This harks back to a time when Singh drew wide-spread criticism for the government’s decision to mortgage gold to secure an IMF loan, a move that eventually helped India come out of a severe balance of payments crisis. “Stop cursing all things that are not Man mohan,” reads the ad copy.
We lined up some of Amul’s punchy post-liberalisation ads, from 1991 to 2016, to trace India’s at times triumphant, at times tumultuous journey through 25 years of economic reforms.
1992: On the Mandal Commission report
1993: When Finance Minister Manmohan Singh increased the income tax exemption rate
1994: Liberalisation opens the door for multinational companies. Coca cola, which exited the Indian market in 70s, makes a return.
1995: On the National Telecommunication Policy which liberalised the sector
1996: AB Vajpayee becomes the PM of a government that remains in office for 13 days after losing a vote of confidence by one vote. The following two governments last only 18 months.
1997: Kalyan Singh’s BJP government loses BSP’s key support in Uttar Pradesh, leading to a hung assembly. The government finally wins the confidence motion.
1998: India successfully tests a nuclear bombs at the Pokhran site, which results in the country being placed under sanctions by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
1999: On the hysteria surrounding the “Y2K bug”, which, many feared, would cause errors in computer programmes because they stored only the year’s last two digits(such as 99)
2000: On Kaun Banega Crorepati, the show that made television big in India again
2001: Chartered accountant and stock broker Ketan Parekh manipulates stock market by taking huge stock ositions through benami accounts using smaller stock exchanges in Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
2002: Private FM channels are launched in Mumbai, ending All India Radio’s monopoly in the FM entertainment sphere
2003: An investigation was launched into Telgi’s multi-crore fake stamp paper scam
2004: The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance came to power and in a surprise move, Manmohan Singh was declared as the prime minister
2005: On the budget incorporating the new Value Added Tax (VAT)
2006: The historic Indo-US nuclear deal, which faced opposition from both sides
2007: Congress - led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Left Party’s nominee Pratibha Patil becomes India’s first female president
2008: Financial crisis hits the United States, leading to repercussions around the globe
2009: On the Satyam scandal that rocked the Indian economy
2010: An expose of high-profile PR consultant Nira Radia’s telephonic conversations led to the uncovering of the 2G spectrum scam
2011: The year marked the rise of Anna Hazare, a Gandhian who led the mass anti-corruption protests. The movement led to the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party, but Hazare was eventually sidelined
2012: Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher Airlines enters a debt-crisis after logging quarter-after-quarter of losses. Airline exits low-cost business to improve performance
2013: The rupee hit its lowest in August, closing at Rs 68.85; the government drew sharp criticism for its policy paralysis
2014: The BJP’s historic victory in the general elections, helmed by Narendra Modi
2015: Arvind Kejriwal rides in as Delhi chief minister after the Aam Aadmi Party’s resounding win, decimating the opposition
2016: The butter brand weighs in on the controversy surrounding RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s second term
All Amul advertisements were sourced from http://www.amul.com/m/amul-hits.