Horlicks Protein Plus: Horlicks Nurtures Health Consciousness and Brand Penetration


Campaign Summary

The Horlicks Protein Plus campaign aimed to raise awareness about the importance of daily protein consumption among young urban adults in India. With a focus on fitness enthusiasts, the campaign sought to address the prevalence of protein deficiency and engage the target audience through relevant mediums. Leveraging partnerships with leading food delivery and fitness apps, Horlicks Protein Plus strategically communicated its message, emphasizing the benefits of its triple blend formula and offering trials to encourage product adoption. By tapping into the evolving health consciousness and changing lifestyle patterns during the pandemic, the campaign successfully increased brand penetration, generated impressive sales growth, and fostered positive consumer feedback.



Horlicks, a legacy brand in India, launched a portfolio of nutritional products catering to adult and kids. Horlicks Protein Plus, India's first protein supplement with a triple blend formula, was designed to cater to the protein needs of adults. However, as per the Indian Market Research Bureau (ICMR), 73 percent of urban Indians are protein deficient. Horlicks Protein Plus, a relatively newer entrant in the category, aimed to increase brand penetration by raising awareness of the importance of daily protein consumption and engaging fitness enthusiasts through relevant mediums.

Target Audience:

Horlicks Protein Plus targeted young adults between 25 and45 years old who were on a fitness journey and desired to build a good physique. These individuals were unaware of their daily protein requirement, as an average diet does not fulfill the body's protein needs. The campaign aimed to educate them about protein deficiency, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain or loss.

Creative Strategy:

Horlicks Protein Plus had been communicating the need for protein to young adults through traditional mediums. However, two factors were preventing consumers from trying the brand: inertia to try something new and concerns about taste. The campaign identified two significant consumer behavioral shifts during the lockdown: a shift from eating out to ordering healthy meals at home and a shift towards digital fitness routines. Leveraging these trends, Horlicks Protein Plus partnered with leading food delivery and fitness apps to reach the target audience effectively.


Horlicks Protein Plus relied on traditional mediums to communicate the importance of protein requirements to young urban households. However, an average diet provides only 70 percent or lower nutritional needs of a person. With the COVID-19 pandemic resetting priorities, health and wellness became top-of-mind for people. Engaging with consumers during the pandemic posed a significant challenge. Increased screen time usage and the rise of home workouts and deliveries provided an opportunity to educate consumers about daily dietary protein requirements.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Horlicks Protein Plus identified people ordering healthy meals as the primary audience. The brand partnered with Swiggy, India's top food delivery app, and leveraged their Health Hub section to provide trials of the product. This audience was nutrition-conscious, actively seeking healthier food options, and more receptive to nutrition-based messages and product trials. Additionally, Horlicks partnered with HealthifyMe and StepSetGo, leading fitness apps with a large user base, to target fitness enthusiasts who were conscious about their health but lacked the right nutrition. Through these partnerships, Horlicks Protein Plus strategically nudged users at every level of their journey on the respective platforms.

Mobile Execution:

To bring the message of Horlicks Protein Plus to life, the brand leveraged the strengths of each partner by nudging the user at every level through their journey on the respective platforms.


  • To build awareness, contextual banners were placed throughout the user's food order journey on Swiggy. A curated collection of healthy meals was created on the Health Hub section, offering users a variety of healthy meal options to choose from.
  • On HealthifyMe, health coaches were identified to generate awareness about the importance of consuming the right quantity of protein daily. Branded quizzes were created to pique users' curiosity and test their knowledge about protein.
  • With StepSetGo, branded challenges were crafted to engage fitness enthusiasts. Users were targeted with contextual brand ads in between workout sessions, serving as reminders. Increased visibility was achieved through branding level upgrades and turbo time sections.

Enagement and trials:

  • The brand delivered a ready-to-consume pack of Horlicks Protein Plus with every healthy meal ordered via Swiggy in top metro cities.
  • Users who participated in quizzes and challenges were rewarded with ready-to-consume packs of Horlicks Protein Plus upon completing their tasks.

In-app push notifications:

  • Users were nudged with in-app push notifications, acting as reminders to consume the right proportion of proteins as part of their daily diet.


  • Lastly, users were targeted for feedback to understand their intent for future purchases of Horlicks Protein Plus.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Traditionally, Indians relied on milk for their protein requirements, but milk deficiency in certain regions created an opportunity for Horlicks to provide the nutrition of milk through its drink. With improved distribution channels, milk became available nationwide, and moms started using health food drinks (HFDs) like Horlicks as additives to milk, providing better nutrition to their kids. However, protein drinks in India remained highly under-penetrated, with adult HFDs having a low penetration of 21 percent, according to the Indian Market Research Bureau. This data indicated that adults were unaware and not taking action towards their nutritional requirements.

Through strategic partnerships, Horlicks Protein Plus became the go-to protein supplement brand across urban India. The campaign:

  • Increased brand penetration by capturing a 50 percent market share in the adult wellness category.
  • Delivered over 200,000 units of ready-to-consume Horlicks Protein Plus to newbie fitness enthusiasts in top metro cities.
  • Generated a 30 percent growth in sales in areas where sampling was conducted, compared to non-sampled areas.
  • Generated over 16 million impressions across all three platforms.
  • Received 7.2 percent positive feedback, surpassing the industry benchmark of 2-3 percent.
  • Experienced a 500 basis point increase in intent to purchase on StepSetGo.
  • Led to users organically sharing their journey on social media, leveraging their role as app users and micro-influencers.

The campaign successfully broke through the media landscape restrictions during the pandemic by effectively utilizing mobile solutions to reach a fitness newbie audience with little knowledge of dietary protein requirements. The engaging brand communications embedded the brand's message and association, leading to 7.2 percent positive feedback from users who consumed Horlicks Protein Plus. The brand reached and provided samples to 200,000 unique fitness users, resulting in an intent to purchase the brand in the future. Additionally, Horlicks Protein Plus achieved an impressive 30 percent uplift in sales in areas where the sampling activity was conducted, contributing to a 50 percent penetration increment in the adult wellness category.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Lead Generation | Awards: X Bronze Winner