OMO uses SMS campaign to drive mobile loyalty in South Africa

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Targeting feature phone users in South Africa, Unilever's laundry detergent brand OMO enforced its ‘Dirt is Good’ message to engage mums, while driving loyalty in a category where price is the main factor of purchase. To reach busy mums, OMO increased brand engagement by going beyond a simple text-and-win mobile campaign to offer rewards for repeat purchases. Using SMS campaigns to drive mobile loyalty, the opt-in consumers received special messages, offers, surveys, and other news via SMS, building an ongoing communication with the brand. Monthly reminders helped drive repeat purchases by 60 percent, and active opt-in rates of 85 percent demonstrated the value consumers gained from the new OMO loyalty program.


While only 16 percent of consumers in South Africa own a smartphone, 75 percent use SMS and USSD regularly. To reach moms everywhere, OMO turned to mobile to deliver custom messages from beloved brand ambassador Nkanyiso through easy-to-use voicemail technologies. Building off the success of their previous short-term mobile promotions, a year-long mobile loyalty program was supported by in-store materials, print, and vernacular radio to drive awareness.

By using an SMS campaign to drive mobile loyalty, the campaign gave moms a chance to engage with the brand and receive relevant rewards for buying and using OMO: the more purchases a mom made, the more rewards she would earn for her family.

After each purchase, moms dialed a toll-free number using a unique code printed inside the detergent container. On first entry, R1 million worth of educational bursaries were up for grabs. After the second purchase, moms received R5 in instant airtime, increasing to R8 after the third purchase. With the fourth and fifth purchases, moms received a mobile voucher for new school socks and shirts from national retailer Ackermans.

In addition to new prizes with each entry, the conversations evolved and increased OMO’s database. Nkanyiso communicated with moms and offered new questions and tips in order to drive repeat purchases.

By allowing consumers to choose from five local languages, OMO ensured everyone could participate, — not a small feat in a country with 11 official languages!


Mobile is now an ongoing priority for the OMO brand, as the next-generation loyalty program continues to engage consumers with the brand in a whole new way.

• 2.7 million entries, with a 30 percent redemption rate
• Hundreds of thousands of school shirts and socks redeemed through mobile coupons
• The majority of moms entered at least three times
• Data reveals a significant increase in purchase volume from loyal OMO households
• More than 20 percent volume increase in OMO over eight months, and a ROI of R3.8 for every R1 spent
• Over one million kids are able to learn, experience, express, grow, and get dirty all over again

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