Unilever India's newly acquired Swedish air purifier brand, Blueair, wanted to build awareness and consideration in India.
Objective and Context:
In India, air purifiers are perceived as luxury devices because of their high installation and maintenance costs. Over recent years, however, there has been a considerable surge in demand fueled by the metros' rapidly degrading air.
Unilever India's newly acquired Swedish air purifier brand, Blueair, wanted to build awareness and consideration in India. Launched in the latter half of 2019, Blueairwas a late entrant into the market. While category awareness in the country was low, the category was quickly cluttered with cheaper and inferior air purifiers and a few substantial key players, such as Phillips, Honeywell, and Aquaguard with 80 percent market share. These competitors had seven times the marketing budget compared to the new and premium Blueair, whose launch price point was twice that of its competitors.
While Blueair was launched nationally via e-commerce, the defined target audience of the brand had to be hand-picked given the novelty of its launch and budgetary constraints.
To do so, Blueair started by identifying the national capital region of the country, Delhi NCR, also known as the "Smog Capital" of the world. Whilst vehicular and industrial activities were responsible for the situation, the region was hit every year with a grim extra wallop of smog due to crop-burning activities in some of the neighboring cities that devastated Delhi. On the other hand, this city is also known for its rich and the famous. For a premium brand like Blueair, the relevant audience was fragmented across this national capital region. Blueair reached out to conscious rich families who could afford an expensive gadget for the betterment of their loved ones indoors, and Delhi boasted approximately three million such families.
Despite the toxic grey smog that lingers for many months at a stretch, Delhiites consistently underestimate the impact of both short- and long-term exposure to polluted air. The lack of awareness also rests on the fact that, scientifically, the air quality indoors is two to five times worse than outside. Household air pollution is, thus, a significant but relatively unnoticed threat.
Delhiites, like everyone else, believed that staying indoors would provide protection from the pollution outside. They were unaffected by what they could not see at home. Residents of Delhi NCR across the region of less than 22 thousand square miles knew the situation was dire. Blueair's focus was to let the niche premium audience know how bad the air quality was exactly, in their location. Hence, the company devised a unique Pollution Alert System (PAS) — a real-time, geo-targeted tech innovation that triggered the premium target audience with health warnings based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) at home. Blueair also devised an immersive and dynamic rich media creative asset that featured a bedroom filling up with smoke. The asset featured a real-time update on the AQI of that particular locality popping up along a moving color-coded meter that demarcated levels of severity: poor, unhealthy, and hazardous. The creative was supported by a click-through feature to allow users to know more about the air purifier and eventually purchase it through e-commerce. The real-time visibility of AQI in their own locality hooked the audiences to the creative and built the desire to know more.
Overall Campaign Execution:
India's smartphone penetration among urban consumers is formidable at more than 290 million, of which Delhi has the highest mobile and internet penetration. Mobile was chosen as the singular channel for this campaign. With a low budget of 10,000 USD (10 percent of which was targeted toward mobile), Blueair delivered its alerts through more than 100,000 top daily apps and contextualized in areas where the AQIs continued to fluctuate beyond 50. At a high frequency, PAS was flexibly deployed using the mobile-tech partner InMobi's efficiencies.
Personalized, dynamic, and real-time messages were ultimately served on Blueair's only media channel: mobile. These dynamic real-time messages were served to 3.3 million residents across more than 100,000 top mobile apps in New Delhi.
Execution of the program consisted of the following steps:
With such precision, Blueair's alerts were delivered four times to its defined target audience, not only to warn but also to remind them of this silent killer in the air.
The Indian market was new to the idea of air purifiers. In the midst of a health emergency, well-established consumer durable brands from related categories like water purifiers and air conditioners took advantage of their saliency and captured substantial share. Blueair had the dual challenge of creating relevance for the category and driving preference for Blueair against dominant players in the marketplace.
The company's job was to maximize the efficiency of every penny spent. This is where precise targeting to the high-income, upper-class cohort proved crucial. Blueair followed the techniques of precision marketing at a high frequency. With PAS, efficiency from the media perspective was certain since it only targeted those geographical locations where there was a genuine need for an air purifier.
Unilever's principle of reach came handy and the results were impressive:
While the category of air purifiers was at a nascent stage, the air quality problem Blueair solved was "the need of the hour." With the power of precision targeting, coupled with mobile tactics in a set location of Delhi, Blueair deployed an exceptionally efficient campaign with the following results:
The Pollution Alert System now allows Blueair the opportunity to forecast warnings to every heavily polluted metropolitan city.