There are 600,000 villages in India with almost no access to media, as well as a low interest to washing powder like Tide and shampoo like Head & Shoulders. Brand owner Procter & Gamble wanted to increase penetration of the hygiene essentials of shampoo and detergent.
The women of these rural Indian villages work on the farms and in their houses in excess of 18 hours a day and have limited exposure to brands. However, the men are the purchasers in the village, so P&G needed to educate both the women and the men that the products were of benefit. Without electricity and with much of the population being illiterate, mass media solutions are impossible. The only viable solution was to connect experientially. P&G created a character the women could trust: Sangeeta Bhabhi, who was positioned as an educated sister-in-law from a nearby village. A pair of male communicators, armed with a collapsible kit that included games, signage and product went village to village engaging rural homemakers group by group. These messengers were trained to engage these women very specifically, in their language and dialect, armed with a deep understanding of the cultural considerations for success. Groups of 20-30 households were gathered, entertaining them with lucky prizes/draws to maximize involvement. These communicators were trained to identify the group's leader focusing on involving her in all product demonstrations and fun competitions as she has strong influence in the village. Flipcharts and pictures illustrated the product benefit and introduced the villagers to Tide and Head & Shoulders through storytelling.
The targeted trials delivered sustained growth in sales of 300% & 200% for Tide and Head & Shoulders, respectively. Alongside the penetration & awareness went up by 140% & 88% for Tide and 114% & 38% for Head & Shoulders. The campaign was clearly so successful that the initiative is being rolled out in two phases through 2009 and 2010.