Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Childcare India – “Push him out of Begging” Campaign

I am amazed at the pace the Indian advertising is going at. The creative juices undoubtedly are flowing throughout the country like never before. Also, it is not just the work of a few select agencies that could pile up all the credit but a pan-India phenomenon. Evidently, now their work is being recognized the world over and different parts of the world are looking up to the Indian sub-continent for "creative inflows"! Undoubtedly, there is a lot to learn from some of the Creative masters of the country.

For instance, this campaign for Childcare - an organization for the betterment of the homeless children in India, talks about the attitude of common Indians towards these children, who are a common sight at the Traffic lights and Shopping Complexes.

This Campaign has already done the rounds of most of the Ad Blogs. For the Ad freaks, this would be classic piece now. However, couldn’t resist putting it up here, simply because of its Indian roots!

The campaign forces the viewers to introspect and think about these children. It reads "Push him out of Begging and not out of your Way". Have a look at how the message is communicated and sent across to people like us.


Brilliant work indeed! However, on second thoughts, I feel that there is very little that most of us can do, except, at best, appreciate this campaign.
Can we eradicate begging per se? Can we change the attitude of people pre-occupied with their own fast-paced lives? Can the attitude of millions of beggars be changed where they are coerced into doing something constructive?
Most of the answers would terminate with a negation. However, what the least we CAN do is appreciate someone's effort in making an attempt towards this effect!
Kudos to the agency (Grey India) and the organization (Childcare India) !

[Source: Sandeep Makam]

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Social Marketing in Liberia - Voice of a Nation..

Thanks to a tip from Ilya Vedrashko at Billboard, I found a whole new dimension of Marketing - a tool that acts as a voice of a community - a voice that has the power to move a nation - power to change the perspective of a society.

Billboards in Liberia are being used to convey messages to the tortured, abused and hurt sections of the society, who have so far stayed quiet and numb under pressure and fear from the stronger sex. Be it messages on respect for women, sexual abuse or mob violence, billboards have become essential elements of trauma therapy throughout Monrovia.
One such billboard talks about Women being a friend and not to beat her.

Another one talks about using Condoms for Safer sex - a trend which is virtually absent in the country with men averse to use them at all.

You would snub this saying that this is a common site throughout the world. How is this different in Liberia? What has happened in Liberia that makes these messages "that" important?
Most of us, too engrossed in our own lives, are not even aware of the state of affairs in the war-effected regions of Africa. I myself was not aware of the intensity of torture that has taken place in Liberia. Read this piece to get some insights into the condition of the nation

Can you imagine a country without the basic neccessities of water and electricity for more than 14 years?? Liberia is one. The water pipes are decaying and water is taken on rickshaws in cans and given to people. Electricity is only available to the upper class through generators, and the city gets dark by evening. Normal lamps are available, if at all, to select few. To add to this, the ever increasing sexual violence which continues even today!

A strong perspective, given by Jestina Doe-Anderson, a Liberian residing in the US, talks about the culture of Liberia and the way women are enticed to engage in transacional sex to fund their family's need for survival. This abuse has even extended to Education and normal work life for most of the young women in the country.
Thus, there is a pressing need to build institutions to reinforce respect for women, and her position in the society. It is imperative to equip her with the requisite skills and confidence level, that obviate the "terrible" means of living that she undertakes currently!

Similar thoughts were expressed by Eric from Monrovia during his stay in Liberia, who reiterates the need for "rebuilding infrastructure and caring for those who hid as their country slid into chaos. After 15 years of neglect, the people of Liberia are in great need of assistance." He talked about another Billboard - that shows a menacing crowd gathering around an unfortunate man. At the top, it reads ‘Stop mob violence now. Call 911 for help.

A beautifully written article by Rebecca Singer, a member of "Doctors without Borders" highlights the conditions of the traumatized women in the country.

She wrote that even after the war was over, sexual violence continues to affect Liberians. It is now estimated that 40 percent or more of women and girls in Liberia have experienced some form of sexual violence with daily cases being reported to her.
The links in this post give a detailed account of some of the horrific and painful acts of violence and the terrible experiences the women of Liberia have gone through.
But things are improving and message is being passed.. Awareness is increasing and conscious citizens would realize soon that if the economy has to improve, if the nation has to rise from the dumps, the orientation has to change - MSF (doctors without borders) have posted three billboards with an image of a man assaulting a woman. The written message is blunt, it reads, "Raped? Seek Free Treatment Now." Though slightly strong, it conveys the message intended.

It is to this cause that awareness billboards have been put up in Monrovia. Billboards are used as instruments to spread the word - In such cases, one realizes the importance of such instruments - not to expose a brand or attract attention by putting hot celebrities, but simply to save an entire community from being tortured and abused - a message to respect the opposite sex, a message to save a nation. It is at this point that I believe that there is a different meaning attached to Marketing as well - a whole new world derived from this small, but critical element in it having significant impact on the society!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Lifebuoy "Swasthya Chetna" Campaign for Rural India

Last week, Chief Post Master General of Maharashtra Circle, K Noorjehan, released a special Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetna Postal Cover on the occasion of World Health Day.
It was the first time that an Indian Brand had been featured on a postal cover, and the fact that the Indian government has recognized the efforts of HLL in health and hygiene in such a manner reinforces the strong Brand Association of Lifebuoy with Health!
According to Business Line, the postal cover has been released to recognise Lifebuoy's pioneering rural health and hygiene education initiative, Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetna
The ED of HLL, Nitin Paranjpe asserted that “Lifebuoy is the one brand that wants to start that one movement that will change the world”. To a certain extent, an orientation has already been made to this effect. Said Ms Noorjehan – “I congratulate Lifebuoy and Hindustan Lever for initiating and assiduously implementing this socially beneficial movement”. That’s a perfect Brand Endorsement right from the centre!

A major part of the credit goes to the Global Branding of Lifebuoy. It is not only in India, but across the globe that Lifebuoy is associated with Health and Hygiene. Right from the time it was launched (in 1894), it has been marketed on the Health Plank itself.

Picture some of these old Ads of Lifebuoy featured on eBay UK – right from the time of the World War, Lifebuoy links itself to health and hygiene.

This is also not the first time that the postal deparment of a country is recognizing Lifebuoy's Effort. A stamp had been released in New Zealand some time back, which I found from eBay again

Coming back to India, Lifebuoy's Swasthya Chetna (meaning "Health Awakening") campaign is the single largest rural health and hygiene education programme ever undertaken in India, aiming to reach 200 million people over five years.

According to Unilever,
The theme of the campaign is based on the serious implications of laxity in Health Care, like Diarrhoea. In India a child succumbs to diarrhoea every 30 seconds. This results in almost 3 million deaths a year! However, a report by WHO showed that simple handwashing with soap and water can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by up to 48%. This was leverage by Hindustan Lever to develop the campaign.
To add to this, health care in Rural India is given importance due to its direct impact on labor productivity, and in turn, loss of income. Also, for decades, Lifebuoy has been synonymous with soap in rural India. All these factors led to “Swasthya Chetna”!

According to a Press Release on Lifebuoy in 2002, HLL announced the launch of LIFEBUOY SWASTHYA CHETNA on 9th May, the first single largest rural health and hygiene educational program. The objective? To develop a sustainable model to educate and apprise rural customers in 15000 village in 8 states across India, about maintaining good health through practice of basic hygienic habits including the handwash habit. It aimed at changing the underlying behavior and attitude of the villagers, which was a definite challenge indeed.

But what was the exact plan of action?
In a nutshell, the campaign was divided was a multistage initiative.
[Reference: Unilever Report] After seeking permission from village elders, the Swasthya Chetna teams, consisting of a health development officer and an assistant, visit village schools to teach children about germs and the importance of handwashing with soap through various tools (flip chart/glow-germ demonstration/quizzes) and orienting them to become influencers in the community.
“Children are invited to take part in a ‘glowgerm’ demonstration. This involves applying a white powder to the palms of hands, then washing with water only. Hands are then held under an ultra-violet light and the powder glows where dirt remains, showing that handwashing without soap is not enough. The children then repeat the process, this time using soap, only to discover the UV light shows no trace of the powder” – a simple but highly effective demonstration.

This message was reinforced through subsequent contacts, “thus preparing the community to sustain and internalize the messages.”
Subsequently, in coordination with the village children, the Health officer interacts with the parents and expose them to the impact of health and hygiene in their community. This was done to ensure that the model is sustainable, which involved self initiative and ownership from the community itself, wherein the officer was simply a facilitator and onus of improvement was not on the officer per se, but on the community as a whole. The process culminated into recruitment of children and parents as volunteers to start up health clubs that, in turn, organize events such as community bathing at the pond villagers use for washing.
The whole process, from initial contact to self-managed health club, takes two to three years.

Media vehicles used: Wall paintings, cinema vans, weekly markets (haat), fairs and festivals. Given the rural consumer's fascination for cinema, the cinema vans show popular movies, interspersed with products advertisements.

Low Price Points: To help people on low incomes afford to buy soap, an 18 gram bar of lifebuoy soap was introduced - enough for one person to wash their hands once a day for 10 weeks.

Impact of this initiative? It started with 8 Indian states, and covered more than 70 million people by the end of 2004! This campaign was well received by the media as well as the government, the effects of which are evident as above!
In 2003-4 sales of Lifebuoy grew by 20%, with particularly strong sales in the eight states where the programme operates. This model is also being replicated in other countries like Bangladesh, where close to 3100 villages have already been visited. Such events surely reflect the successful Marketing of the brand in the subcontinent. Need I say more?

But is this simply a CSR initiative by the multinational? According to the report by Unilever, “Swasthya Chetna is not about philanthropy. It’s a marketing programme with social benefits. We recognize that the health of our business is totally interconnected with the health of the communities we serve and if we are to grow sales of our brand, we have to increase the number of people who use soap”.
As long as it has a long-term perspective to it, overcoming the behavioral aspect of Rural Consumers is a daunting task, especially in the Interiors - something that HLL has done it in a confident style so far!
Kudos to the initiative. A well deserved recognition indeed.

Incidentally, I found some really interesting facts about the Brand –
  • During the Blitz of London in 1940, Lifebuoy soap provided free emergency mobile washing facilities to Londoners. Lifebuoy vans were equipped with hot showers, soap and towel
  • In the aftermath of the Tsunami in Asia in December 2004, Lifebuoy bars were a key element in the relief packages distributed in Southern India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases so endemic in the aftermath of such disasters
  • In 2005 over 200 000 bars of Lifebuoy soap were donated to UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross to support their earthquake relief operations in Northern India and Pakistan
  • Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Eggvertising: Unbundling opportunities for Advertisers..

    Though this article is done with its round of Blog-attention almost 2 months back, I could not resist myself in putting it up here too.

    By tapping a very specific attribute of Consumer Behavior, a company has invented a whole new concept of Advertising for Marketers and Convenience for Consumers.

    Attribute? Consumers’ apprehensions and their scrutinizing of the Eggs pre-purchase, entailing time engagement with the eggs; This results in high visibility of the eggs, which can be considered to be a marketable touch point and hence, can be leveraged to advertise!
    Well, in simple terms, eggs are to be used as another Advertising MediumHow? When? Why?Where? .. are still not formalized, since there is not much of a mature market for it yet. But yes, what is appreciable is the ideation, innovative thinking and workability of the entire concept.


    Encouraged by a huge market of 50 billion eggs sales per year in USA, Bred Parker, the creator of EggFusion and the brains behind the creation came up with this new concept of printing the expiry date and a traceability code as part of the traceability management system. Along with these details for the consumer, also comes an opportunity for companies to become visible to the consumer, thereby opening a whole new avenue for the marketers.

    Taking advantage of the fact that the eggs attract high visibility and the time spent per egg is more since the consumer checks the eggs properly has encouraged EggFusion to promote Eggs as a media vehicle. Thus, emerged the concept of “Eggvertising”!

    With so much cluttering in the Advertising world and uncountable touch points for the consumers, how does “Eggvertising” position itself as a unique profitable proposition?
    If one closely follows the entire life cycle of the product, there are specific attributes of this media vehicle:
    • Short life of messages and so pertinent to events that are time sensitive and need to generate a pulse in the market
    • Ideal for short-term effective virals which need not be sustained for a long period of time
    • For a specific target segment, which is regular at the grocery shops and regular egg eaters
    • Directed towards the buyers of the grocery – the woman of the house, who would in turn act as the influencer or decider in buying the advertised products/services!
    • Ideally timed for breakfast meals - one of the few times the entire family is together, entailing high visibility and a possible trigger point for discussion
    • Multiple engagements with the same brand, with every egg carrying the message/brand – thus ensuring a good recall value
    Thus, there is a gamut of advertisers who would be willing to invest in such an opportunity, commonly referred to as “Eggvertising”!

    What pushed the creative of eggfusion?
    According to a report in Fox News, Ninety-nine percent of eggs are never touched by humans.
    This alludes to the fact that a large proportion of eggs is wasted, and some streamlining of the production process and in turn, the supply chain is imperative. Eggfusion considered this point and introduced a laser-etching technology that placed tamperproof marks directly into the eggshell as it passed through the packaging process.

    Lessons for the Indian sub-continent
    Though this might not be the best time to talk about “Poultry” and “Eggs” with the entire continent gripped with the dangerous Bird-Flu, on second thoughts, I believe this in an opportune time for the producers and the marketers to reinforce the quality of their produce and garner trust of the consumers.
    A streamlined production process, with certified production and expiration dates is something that every Indian consumer would look forward to. Though this does not obviate the apprehensions of the consumer, a visible effort by the manufacturer is definitely creditable.

    According to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, India - with the annual production of 33 billion eggs, is the world’s fifth largest egg producing country and the annual growth rate is almost 8-10%.
    Picture these Stats -
    Annual per capita Consumption_____________________________: 33 eggs
    World Average_____________________________________________:124 eggs
    Recommended by National Committee on Human Nutrition______:180 eggs

    Thus, requirements would be close to 180 billion eggs in 2010, in contrast with the estimated production of only 46.2 billion eggs. Thus, there is a huge business opportunity in this market, waiting to be tapped (For more details, please refer to the report).

    FAO recommends a vertical integration of the entire production process and sustainable infrastructure to meet the increasing demand in India.
    “It needs to be supported by providing infrastructure for meat processing, packaging, preservation and marketing with value addition of products and maintaining a cold chain till the product reaches the consumer.”
    Since there is a need to improve processing, preservation and marketing of eggs and poultry products, what better time could it be than to invite EggFusion to incorporate its ideas with Indian manufacturers?

    Looking ahead, as this media vehicle takes shape, there is scope for a lot of innovation in this line
  • face paintings, manufacturers, FMCGs, coupled ads (3-4 eggs together conveying a message),
  • Social advertising
  • collectible bundled offers (a specific number of characters to be collected, to complete a full set and be eligible for prizes)
  • Secondary discounts, wherein discount is offered on exchange of previous used shells
  • Egg fairs and event marketing
  • Community development of egg-itarians


  • Many more ideas can be pumped into this, post-conceptualization.

    A major bottleneck in this initiative is the Indian culture and the eating habits. A vast majority of the Indian population is strict vegetarian and do not eat eggs. How to change this habit and how to convince people to become egg-itarians triggers a completely different debate altogether!

    As of now, let me stick to the ideation per se and not the execution.
    Kudos to this egg-static idea! Definitely, a great example of out-of-the-box thinking, or should it be called …out-of-the-shell thinking? ;-)

    [Original tip from Adjab]