Hindustan Unilever's PUREIT: Outshout or Outsmart?


Client: Hindustan Unilever
Category: Health & Beauty
Country: India
Year: 2016


Campaign Summary

Many parts of India receive water that is highly contaminated with exceeding levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). Over the past three years, growing awareness on this issue has resulted in higher penetration of water purifiers in the country.

Owing to this growing trend, more branded players are seen entering the category with competitive product offerings that promise improved technology, efficacy claims and even price. Thus, the water purifier category has now become immensely competitive, with unbranded and branded players vying for the consumers’ share of wallet through huge marketing budgets.

In this scenario, the penetration of PUREIT -- Hindustan Unilever’s offering -- with its limited marketing budgets and premium pricing, was stagnating.


Objective and Context

The objective of the campaign was to create awareness and differentiation for PUREIT as a brand with better technology and safety standards. The other objective was to generate leads in the form of signups for a home demo. The brand also wanted to tag competitor advertising, so as to create dissonance in the mind of the consumer, therefore making PUREIT a part of the consideration set.

Gaining consumer mind space was very important, as PUREIT is a relatively new entrant with a modest marketing budget. Kent was the largest advertiser in the category and dominated mind space. The other players were all under its shadow.

The target audience for PUREIT is adults, age 30-plus. Typically the Indian housewife initiates the need for a water purifier -- however, the husband, who is the financier for household purchases and generally more technologically-savvy, is the final decision maker. Hence, the brand needed to communicate to both husbands and wives. The woman is the influencer; the purchaser is the man.


Creative Strategy

To undertake such an audacious task, PUREIT had to outsmart Kent, not outshout it. It did so, by doing the following five things:

  1. Understanding Kent’s media strategy: Kent follows a “high reach” media strategy. Most of its advertising monies are spent on television, and within that, 50 percent is spent on the sports genre, specifically cricket -- the sport of the masses. This is done through sponsorships and premium buys.
  2. Understanding the prevailing consumer trend: Mobile phones have become ubiquitous and have been the main reason for multi-screen content consumption. Per eMarketer, 79 percent of adult Internet users in India use mobile devices simultaneously while watching TV. Out of these, the highest overlap is between smartphones and TV at 49 percent.
  3. Leveraging cricket and conversations:  Marry cricket with social media and the magic unfurls. Sixty perceent of audiences post live updates while watching a match, according to Times Of India Industry Analytics. Conversations on WhatsApp and other chat apps during this period also rise. Traffic on cricket-related sites see an increase of 45 percent during a match, according to ESPN Cricinfo Research.
  4. Focusing on cricket's Indian Premier League: IPL is the single largest tent pole in the cricking calendar. On-line streaming of the IPL matches is now a craze. Interestingly, 90 percent of all viewing is for the live matches and only 10 percent happens on video-on-demand. IPL 2015 saw 200 million views on all video sites carrying IPL, proving it to be a great platform for digital viewing. (Source: Hotstar)
  5. Putting it all together: During IPL, when a Kent ad was aired, a PUREIT ad was served on the mobile phone. A mix of banner ads and video ads were used, and the ads landed the viewer on the brand website. To generate leads, the website had a form where audiences could register for the home demo.

Historically, the brand has used traditional platforms like television and print advertising to reach out to its consumers. PUREIT extended media choices to cover digital, owing to the rapid growth of mobile penetration, which has grown by 45 percent between 2015 and 2016. The smartphone user base is as high as 190 million. When compared to households who own TVs at 167 million, mobile was the obvious choice.

Marrying consumer behaviour with clever messaging made for an interesting and differentiated media strategy.

‘TV to Mobile Fingerprinting Technology’ is a programmatic, cross-device platform used to detect brand ads (including competitor ads) on television and then sync 100 percent unduplicated audiences across all devices.

PUREIT tagged all Kent ads during the IPL, across all channels. These were then synced with PUREIT ads, which were about product superiority. The PUREIT mobile campaign was then launched through real-time syncing with the TV campaign of Kent. A call-to-action --asking users to give a missed call if they wanted a home demo -- was incorporated.

Fifteen percent of the overall marketing budget was allocated to this activity as the brand's key goal was to generate leads for demonstration. This campaign was a mobile-first and only campaign. PUREIT used a relevant and growing consumer behaviour, of multi- screen content consumption, for not just advertising and message delivery, but also for actionable results.



The campaign resulted in the following.

  • Amost six million exposures in just one month.
  • A 45 percent increase in leads generated.
  • A clickthrough rate of 1.10 percent, as compared with an industry benchmark of 0.2 percent.
  • A video engagement rate of 15 percent, five times the industry benchmark.


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