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Unilever’s Kan Khajura Tesan redefines mobile innovation in India

Cracking the mobile code has been a challenge not many have been successful at. Hindustan Unilever turned to mobile innovation to connect with the hard-to-reach audiences in the India’s high growth states of Bihar and Jharkand – largely dominated by rural population.

The Challenge
In a world plagued by constant power cuts, where a viewer’s favourite programmes on TV are cut short regularly, owning even the best LCD television doesn’t help after a point. Infrastructure was proving to be a major problem for Unilever in reaching out to a key section of its target audience in markets such as Bihar and Jharkhand.

PHD India leveraged insights as to how these critical markets obtain entertainment. The creative agency on the project was Lowe Lintas. While TV reached 23 million users, mobile’s reach more than doubled at 54 million. With an 86 per cent mobile ownership, consumers mainly turned to phones as the chosen medium. The battery life of six-eight hours also minimised dependence on electricity, freeing audiences to consume content on the go. However, 80 cents for limited movie clips coupled with the cost of connecting and downloading content from telcos made mobile entertainment an expensive option. Saving talk time was important to this target market.

To plug the famine of entertainment content, ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’ (KKT) was born. The work is also the only one to be shortlisted from India in the Innovation Lions category at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

KKT is the first of its kind, free advertiser-owned entertainment channel accessible through mobile. The user required to give a missed call to a branded number and receive entertainment content interspersed with Unilever adverts, free of cost.

In a media breakthrough for India, PHD brought together telcos and content providers to create a free, always on-demand entertainment that would be available even through the most basic phone. KKT was created out of the situation of a larger mobile reach than traditional media reach. By giving a missed call to the designated number, a practice borrowed from the locals to preserve precious talk time, users would receive a call back with access to an entertainment stream, interspersed with Unilever India advertisements. This opened up an entirely new window of opportunity in reaching millions of consumers with brand messages, in an engaging and relevant environment with free content.

Within a mere six months of the execution, there were over eight million subscribers in the two states – far exceeding initial aims, making KKT the single largest media channel in Bihar and Jharkhand. KKT reaches 60 per cent of the non-TV households in these states. The consumer base is growing swiftly at an average of 35,000 users a day, with one million unique callers engaging per month. As a result, the advertisements for the three targeted brands by Unilever, Wheels, Ponds and Close Up, have been heard more than 20 million times.

Increase in spontaneous awareness for all three brands associated
– Wheel – 20 per cent
– Ponds White Beauty – 56 per cent
– Close Up – 39 per cent
All of this at 4 cents cost per contact.

The success of KKT has paved the way for the channel to expand into other states within India.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.