Monday, June 8, 2020

Tit4Tat, again: Fresh ‘China twist’ as Twitter does a Google with Amul!

My article in REVOI dtd. 06 june 2020

After Google, Twitter also falls in China’s line - Removes Amul weekly ad temporarily - Amul refuses to withdraw.
On a day India was actively engaged with China in military-level border talks to reduce tension in an ongoing standoff in Ladakh, Twitter went hammer-and-tongs against Amul, the Taste of India, by temporarily pulling off its weekly comment on current affairs—this time on “Exit the Dragon” theme which apparently irritated China.

The Baby and the Dragon!
Recently, Google Play Store suspended the “Remove China Apps”, which facilitated the deletion of China-made apps, and also the Tik-Tok replacement Mitro’n app, without assigning any clear reason. Google was suspected of being under pressure from China. It is no secret that several multinational companies have historically toed the Chinese line, even crawled when asked to bend.

Twitter may have tried to keep China in good humour and ‘Enter the Dragon’ as the micro-blogging site is not allowed to function there!

On Friday, Twitter suddenly pulled the plug on Amul by temporarily blocking their twitter handle, @Amul_Coop, for putting up a routine news-based topical creative, although now it is back: “Exit the Dragon”, the Amul girl warned China in the weekly comment from Amul, Made in India.

As usual, Twitter tried to explain it away: “Caution: This account is temporarily restricted. You are seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account. Do you still want to view it?”

Interestingly, Twitter is engaged in a war of even with US President Donald Trump as well. In America, Twitter claims freedom of expression; in China, it toes the Chinese line!

When Revoi sought comment, an Amul official refused politely: “We do not want to get into it. We do topical advertisements with a very clear intention to comment on what is the mood of the nation. We don’t favor anybody, we don’t spare anyone. But our ads are humorous. Twitter and Amul are in touch with each other to understand the technicalities.”

Asked if Amul would delete the “Exit the Dragon” message, the official rejected: “No, Amul is not going to change its stand and will stick to it. The only issue was that Twitter did not inform Amul before taking any action.”

Amul Butter Topical is recognised as one of the longest-running advertisement campaign in the world. The Amul social messaging was launched in 1967 from Mumbai. With increasing popularity of the weekly comments, Amul increased its frequency to four or five campaigns a week, changing theme each time.

Amul’s advertising agency D’Cunha Associates began popularising the theme with its Chairman Sylvester D’Cunha at the helm of affairs along with Usha Katrak and Eustace Fernandes as illustrators.

Sylvester’s son Rahul D’Cunha took command in the early 1990s, supported by Manish Jhaveri, the sole copywriter, and Jayant Rane, the illustrator, for Amul campaigns. The posters are still hand-painted. And the famous Amul girl, in blue hair and red polka-dotted frock, has stayed in the campaign. In March 1966, when the first topical ad was launched, she was seen riding a horse with the pun “Thoroughbred”, followed by the famous slogan “Utterly Butterly Delicious” slogan.

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