Colgate: Spreading a Million Smiles Through a Mobile


Client: Colgate 
Brand: Colgate toothpaste
Category: Health & Beauty
Agency: Red Fuse Communications
Country: India
Year: 2015


Campaign Summary

For its ‘Spreading a Million Smiles Through a Mobile’ campaign, Colgate India partnered with the Indian Dental Association to commission Oral Health Month. Its aim was to provide easier access to dental check-ups while also being able to identify and prevent oral health problems like cavities before they become serious.

The task at hand was to dial up the fact that these free check-ups are available in the neighborhood and are easily accessible -- by providing information at the fingertips about 31,000 free dental check-up centres set up during the month by Colgate and the IDA. The entire campaign was created using mobile as the base platform while integrating it with Facebook in order to reach out to larger sections of society because mobile is the only medium consumers always carry on them always and it’s the first thing they look at after getting up every morning.


Objective and Context

A recent survey by marketing research firm GFK Mode revealed that 47 percent of the total population of India have never visited a dentist. Furthermore, 38 percent of those who have visited a dentist did so only when they had a serious dental problem, and 64 percent only approached a dentist after getting a cavity. There is a laid back attitude among average Indians towards dental check-up. They also believe it is expensive. In this survey, 90 percent of respondents agreed that they would avail themselves of a free dental check-up given the chance. The campaign was thus targeted at all age groups to increase awareness about basic oral hygiene.


Creative Strategy

A subscriber base of more than 900 million, and the fact that mobile has a higher penetration than TV, inspired Colgate India to build its strategy around mobile. It put mobile at the core of its media plan to provide a customized solution based on audience behavior.In rural India, consumers are extremely frugal. This frugality even extends to the way in which people use their mobile phones. The practice of “miss call” is widespread. Colgate India’s strategy was divided into four initiatives for different consumer groups:

  • For value-conscious consumers: A “miss call” strategy, so consumers could be in touch with the brand without incurring charges.
  • For social butterflies: “Miss call” functionality embedded in Facebook on feature phones.
  • For the media dark audience: An outbound voice call.
  • For active information seekers:  Mobile search with location extension.

For value conscious consumers, the “miss call” service provided information about free dental check-up centres closeby.  An Oral Health Month helpline number was promoted across mass media such as TV, print and retail to get information about the nearest free dental check-up centres. On giving a “miss call” to this number, the caller would get a call back from an interactive voice response (IVR)  system to take a healthy mouth pledge for the entire family and punch in his or her pin code when prompted. The consumer would then get an SMS with the details of all the free dental check-up centres in the vicinity.

Taking this “miss call” experience to the next level by leveraging the ever-increasing penetration of Facebook in smaller towns in rural India, as well as accessibility of Facebook on feature phones, the “miss call” phenomenon was extended to the Facebook platform. A unique functionality – “click to miss call” -- was built within Facebook newsfeed ads which in turn were targeted at feature phone users. Colgate set up geo-targeted campaigns on Facebook in and around the areas where Colgate and the IDA had established free dental check-up centres. Through the newsfeed ad, consumers were encouraged to take part in Oral Health Month and get a free cavity check-up for their entire family. To get information about the nearest free dental check-up centre, they had to click on the ”miss call” button embedded within the Facebook ad. On giving a miss call, they would then get an SMS with the details of all the free dental check-up centres in the vicinity.

For media dark audiences, who wouldn’t learn about Oral Health Month promotion through mass media, outbound voice calls were made which connected them to an IVR; they could punch in their pin code to get the details about the nearest free dental check-up centres.

Mobile search also played a significant role in the brand’s media solution. Colgate came up with a combination of Google search along with location extension, layered with geo-targeting. On searches pertaining to Oral Health Month, the address of the nearest free dental check-up centre in his/her town or city or pin code would be shown right within the text ad, which appeared at the top of search results page in Google on their mobile device.



Below are the results of the campaign:

  • Colgate managed to perform over 5.4 million free dental check-ups done during this period.
  • The Oral Health Month promotion also accelerated building equity for the Colgate brand, helping it become the most trusted brand for the fourth consecutive year by the Brand Equity Survey commissioned byThe Economics Times.
  • By year-end, Colgate’s market share by volume in India had reached a record breaking 56.7 percent of total share, a new high in 15 years in the hyper-competitive oral care market.


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