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Dettol's Kumbh Mela campaign targets 6.7 million pilgrims and saves three million litres of water

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Dettol's Kumbh Mela campaign targets 6.7 million pilgrims and saves three million litres of water

Last year, as part of its nationwide initiative, Dettol tied up with McCann during the Nashik Kumbh Mela for their campaign ‘Kam Paani Mein Zyada Suraksha'. The aim was to raise awareness among pilgrims about hygienic practices, especially related to hand-washing. Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation on earth where all big marketers battle to garner eyeballs and boost visibility for their respective brands.

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Strategy and execution:

As part of the campaign, the brand distributed Dettol hand sanitizers and deployed volunteers at strategic locations such as food centres, health centres, bathing areas, eateries, hospitals and bus stations to raise awareness about proper hygienic practices.

Information like ‘"Clean hands mean less diseases, more safety" was disseminated through flyers and Radio channels were extensively used to reiterate the importance of proper hygiene through jingles, which proved effective.

Commenting on the initiative, Nitish Kapoor, Regional Director, RB South Asia, says, "As a global leader in consumer health and hygiene, our purpose is to improve hygiene and sanitation in the daily lives of our consumers. Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation of humans anywhere on earth, which poses a huge challenge for sanitation because of the temporary influx of people in vast numbers. RB is proud to have partnered with Nashik Kumbh to provide expertise on hygiene and behaviour change, with on-ground support of volunteers to raise awareness among pilgrims about the importance of hand-washing."


The campaign which lasted for two months (August/September) successfully targeted 6.7 million pilgrims and saved three million litres of water, thus making Nashik Kumbh Mela truly a ‘Dettol Ka Dhula Kumbh Mela’.

Expert view:

Giving his views on the initiative, Amitava Mitra, Founder & Managing Director, BEE Advertising said, “Dettol has taken a very interesting strategy. It will surely generate a lot of goodwill even though I am not sure about the sales. The best part is they haven’t done it just for the sake of grabbing eyeballs, but it is extremely relevant to the brand. Brands and marketers are always trying to find newer ways to reach a larger audience and what better place than the Kumbh Mela.”

Jagdeep Kapoor, CMD, Samsika Marketing Consultants commented, "The Dettol Kumbh Mela initiative is an excellent initiative, fitting in with the Swachh Bharat campaign. I liked the 'salvation to sanitation' theme. This touches the lives of thousands of people physically (sanitation) and spiritually (salvation). The brand also generates trials and takes it to an evolved level, beyond the commercial aspect. The 'Dettol Ka dulha' brings in a purity which is a combination cleanliness and Godliness. The brand personality gets enhanced and the positioning gets reinforced.”

Previous successful brand initiatives during Kumbh Mela:

In 2013, Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy partnered with more than 100 restaurants and cafés at the Kumbh Mela to raise awareness about proper hand washing habits. For every food order placed, the first roti carried the branded message “Lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya?” (Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?). The words were heat stamped onto the baked roti, without the use of ink, to ensure it was completely edible. It reminded people at the right time (just before having the food) to wash their hands.

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In the same year, Vodafone reached out to people by screening films and providing musical ear-muffs, wired with in-built speakers that played devotional songs. The activation was done by Ogilvy.

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Using location-based targeting, Colgate created a virtual circle (of 3-5km radius) around the pilgrimage site. Local Airtel subscribers or those roaming on Airtel were targeted the moment they entered this virtual circle.Their phones were identified and they received a call from Ameen Sayani, the well-known Indian radio personality, telling them to visit the Colgate booth for free samples.

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