Company: Hindustan Unilever India

Agencies: Lowe Lintas + Partners, PHD India, Ozontel, Hungama.com

Market(s): India (Bihar & Jharkhand States)

Timing: Began January 1, 2014

Hindustan Unilever India finds a clever way to bring entertainment and advertising to 130 million people who spend nearly half their day without electricity.

BACKGROUND

Bihar & Jharkhand, India contain 130 million people and 24 million TV sets — but lack electricity for 8-10 hours every day. The challenge was: how do you reach consumers for Unilever’s FMCG brands when they suffer from media darkness? Since existing conventional media could not reach them, Unilever’s team had to invent a new channel. Surprisingly, the solution lay within their own pockets: 54 million rudimentary mobile phones.

THE IDEA

The “Kan Khajura Tesan”: the first ever on-demand radio station that gave audiences free entertainment. Just call 1-800-30000-123, and you’ll receive a call back with 15 minutes of Bollywood music interspersed with brand spots. In creating this, Unilever created an identity that was visually sticky and musically memorable — and put it up wherever the consumer was: bus stations, markets, even posted on trees.

This idea became the first free mobile-based entertainment-on-demand initiative in India.

THE PROCESS

Hindustan Unilever India initiated the concept and then organized agency partners. Lowe Lintas developed branding and content strategy, PHD oversaw technical back-end development (Ozontel) and entertainment content (Hungama). The team worked collaboratively with an inordinate amount of openness in terms of views on each others domains.

Kan Khajura was the first of its kind, so the delivery was a continuous input-output-evaluate-improve process. Every phase of execution provided lessons: creating advertising and content, tracking listener patterns, and then feeding back new ideas to drive more listeners.

THE RESULTS

The campaign aimed for 30 to 40,000 calls per day. The height of the campaign peaked at 200,000 calls day. The Kan Khajura Station became the largest media channel in Bihar & Jharkhand with 24 million subscribers. Consumers heard 500 million minutes of content and 200 million ad impressions. Client brands saw an increase in spontaneous awareness: Ponds up 56%, Close-up 39% and Wheel 20%.