Unilever in India launches a marketing initiative that provides entertainment and ads in areas unreachable by other media.
To reach the consumers in India’s “media dark” rural areas, Hindustan Unilever Limited worked with agencies PHD India and Lowe and Partners Worldwide to create a mobile media channel that leveraged the high mobile phone usage in the region.
Kan Khajura Tesan, which translates to “ear worm radio channel,” is an entertainment-on-demand, mobile-based initiative that has become the largest radio channel in India. To tune in to the mobile radio station, mobile phone users make a call to the station and the station will call them back and play songs, jokes, and ads in 15 minute segments. Users can call again and listen for another 15 minutes. The service is free to all mobile phone users.
The mobile radio station continues to be highly successful in areas like Bihar and Jharkhand since the villages in these areas cannot be reached by traditional media channels like TV, radio and print. These villages have no electricity for several hours every day, but a large percentage of the population own mobile phones – allowing the residents to be easily reached by the mobile radio station.
The mobile radio station was launched with a catchy jingle and a phone number that’s easy to remember. It also came with the promotional message, “Missed Call Lagaao, Muft Manoranjan Pao,” which translates to “Give Us a Missed Call and Get Free Entertainment!” The initiative was first launched in Bihar and is now being extended across Asia. The initiative has been so successful that Hindustan Unilever stopped advertising on radio in Bihar since the mobile radio station is capable of reaching more consumers than other stations.
In a news release, Priya Nair, Vice President at Hindustan Unilever said,
Areas that were otherwise termed to be ‘media dark’ are now ‘entertainment-enlightened’ with ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’ reaching out to more than 11 million subscribers. In total, we have had 180 million minutes of engagement with our consumers and our ads have been heard 100 million times. We developed the idea to address a business problem of reaching consumers in deep rural markets. Creating a mobile based radio channel has brought entertainment to consumers who have almost no access to traditional entertainment.
The initiative was awarded three gold awards at the Cannes Lions 2014 last June. The mobile radio station won awards in the Media/Best Use of audio, media/best use of mobile devices, and mobile category for Response /Real Time Activity categories.