I fail to understand the touchiness, if any, associated with this move. There’s a discussion about this on LinkedIn too. But the way I see it, ‘Hindus’ are part of ‘India’, a very integral part at that. If we start with that base, then this communication is simply talking to one segment of the audience to whom this is relevant. Like, say an ad for Licious (fresh meat). Is that relevant to me, a vegetarian? Of course not. I’d simply ignore it with the assumption that it is meant only for those who consume non-vegetarian food.
As for branded products that are explicitly targeted at one religion, we have always had Nilgiris and McRennet (Chennai) cakes meant for Christians/Christmas.
I quite like the ingenuity of Amul here. As a Tamilian, I have seen branded Panchamritham in religious places like Pazhani (the South version is very closely associated with Lord Muruga, Lord Shiva’s second, vastly under-rated—in the North—son!) where it features banana, fresh and dried fruits, jaggery, honey and ghee. These are local brands that had sprouted close to the temples. Amul making it a national brand is a smart move.
From a purely product point of view, even Amul says in this communication, “Hum isey aasaan se Bhagwaan ko chadhakar…”. The intent is to offer it as an item that eventually becomes holy. Off the shelf, it doesn’t remain that way. We see agarbatti too has a similar outlook – sold as incense sticks, it becomes room freshener. Sold as ‘holy’ agarbatti, the usage differs. Both are being sold in the market. In this case, Amul chose to use the ‘agarbatti’ narrative and not the incense stick narrative.
But the way it is produced, the way it is stored, the way it is sold – it simply is a commodity. It is produced in a mechanized plant, not in a pious looking temple. Seen from Amul’s point of view, and in the store shelf, it is just *a* product to be sold. And Amul is using *a* specific narrative to make it appealing to a specific target segment. That’s good, timely and contextual marketing. The key selling point is not that it is coming straight from God (even they say it is meant to be offered to God – that is, you, the consumer, makes it holy by usage; it is not holy by default) – but that it is ‘safe’ and ‘convenient’.