Back in 1961, when the White Revolution was at the cusp of greatness, Amul’s advertising agency, ASP (Advertising & Sales Promotion Ltd), was in search of the ‘perfect face’ to represent its brand. They were in the midst of a lot of trials and errors. Around, we kid you not, 712 babies’ faces were examined to represent Amul, but none matched the ‘feeling’ Amul was trying to portray.
ASP’s then creative head, Sylvester da Cunha, who was a close acquaintance of Chandran Tharoor, Shashi Tharoor’s father, had given it one more shot by asking Chandran to show a picture of his baby girl, Shobha. There was no looking back. Shobha was the chosen one, and she was the first-ever Amul baby.
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A year later, when ASP decided to venture into colour advertising, they wanted another baby’s face to do a colour ad campaign. However, by then, Shobha had grown up. But, Chandran’s second daughter, Smita, caught the ad agency’s attention. It was then decided that Smita’s innocent face would be used to promote Amul in its first-ever colour ad campaign. Therefore, she became the first-ever colour Amul baby.
Shashi Tharoor still holds it in pride as, growing up, he would see the faces of his sisters in newspapers, and posters plastered on walls and in various local shops. In fact, Shashi even recollects the day his sister, Smita, was stunned to have seen herself in the ad, some 30 odd years later. As a kid, Shashi considered himself to be a skinny child, and therefore, not worthy of being in the Amul ad. But, after his stint at the United Nations, when he became a well-known public figure, he found himself in many Amul ads, which was a sense of achievement, in many ways.
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