Audiences, weaned on social media, want a brand conversation. Today, we are a nation with a mass AD (attention deficit disorder). Hot stories are in cold storage by the evening. Everything is an event, everything a potential earthquake. All this makes it massively interesting for us in the Amul bunker. In the pre-social media era, the Amul creative team waited for an issue to gain national importance. Then, we created a topical at a leisurely pace. A wiry gent went up on bamboo scaffolding and painted our artwork on a billboard, safe in the knowledge that he wouldn’t have to risk life and limb for another month. But today, it’s all changed - the country has become hugely fragmented and localized. We now have several Indias - there’s the Northern region inclusive of Delhi and Haryana; the Hindi Belt; there’s Mumbai; the South is a universe of its own; as is the East; and social media, a little country by itself.
Very little is of national importance anymore, except a cricket loss, perhaps. Every morning, the Amul creative team, that’s Manish Jhaveri the writer, Jayant Rane the cartoonist and I are faced with a myriad possible topics, trends and issues to tackle – the Indian cricket controversies, Imran Khan’s comments, insensitive comments made by illiterate ministers, the ‘I’ obsession with selfies, Indo-US relations, Instagram stories, Internet slang, take your pick. A bag of goodies all crying for a cheery comment, a gentle prod, a proverb, a pun, a punchline. We have to decide whether our Amul girl becomes a crusader, a celebrator, cheerleader, a commentator or the social conscience. The consensus is that we tackle all these issues. They have traction, they all appeal to an audience.