Mobile marketing case study: Unilever uses mobile to create a free radio station in India for target consumers

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Unilever created a radio station – with content delivered through mobiles - to connect with consumers in a market where communicating is difficult. They reached a ‘media dark’ audience by developing an innovative way to use mobile. The consumer packaged goods company created a mobile radio channel called Kan Khajura Tesan offering free entertainment as a platform to advertise brands.

Case study summary

An innovative approach to create a media channel, through a mobile radio station that offers free, on demand, always-on entertainment to millions of people.

• Content was free for people to access, creating value for the user, novelty for the media channel, and cut-through because of the personal nature of mobile

• The radio station reached 8 million people in six months, with a highly memorable approach

• Bihar is a key market for Unilever Hindustan, but it is difficult to communicate with people as Bihar is the most “media dark” state in India, with low levels of TV coverage and low literacy rates

• Internationally recognised work, awarded three golds awards for the use of audio, use of mobile and response/real time activity categories

Key mobile tools used

• Mobile messaging, silent voice calls, audio service
• CRM systems and relationship marketing techniques

The Challenge

Bihar is one of the largest states in India and with a population of 104 million it is a key market for Unilever Hindustan. Bihar is the most media dark state in India, with only 20% of TV and print reaching the population; making communicating with customers difficult. Daily power cuts which last between 6-8 hours means locals can’t watch TV, and radio frequency is unreliable. However Bihar does have high mobile phone penetration, 86% of the population have access to a mobile phone.

People everywhere love entertainment, but in this region they are too poor to afford it. Television use is relatively low, magazines and newspapers under-index because of low literacy standards, and experiential marketing is too costly and complex to organize. Yet the vast majority of people have a mobile phone, even if they are very cautious about the cost of using it.

Working with media agency Lowe Lintas, Unilever Hindustan created a new media channel using mobile phones to connect with the people of Bihar.

The Solution

Unilever Hindustan capitalised on the fact that Bihar has a high mobile penetration rate and created an innovative media channel to connect with its customers. In October 2013 Kan Khajura Tesan a free mobile radio station was created. To increase awareness of the new channel banners and posters were put up all over the state, great branding and a catchy jingle made the mobile radio station memorable.

Kan Khajura Tesan works by customers giving a missed call (call and hang up) to the number advertised everywhere and they then receive a call back with 15 minutes of free radio. The mobile radio station offers music, news, jokes and the latest Bollywood content, plus radio adverts for Unilever Hindustan’s mass consumer brands such as Lifebuoy, Ponds and Close Up.

The Results

The mobile radio station has been a huge success in India. After the first two months Kan Khajura Tesan had 4 million unique users, this rose to 8 million after 6 months. Unilever adverts for have been heard more than 70 million times which has led to significant increase in brand awareness. All this has been possible at just under 4 US cents per contact.

Kan Khajura Tesan has also been a huge positive for the local community, taking rural India out of the media darkness and creating what is now the biggest media channel in Bihar.

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