Wheel: One missed call

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Addressing ‘media dark’ markets has been one of the worst challenges for a brand and this was the case for India’s most popular detergent brand Wheel. The brand needed to reach the media dark states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in order to push brand awareness, sales and market share up. PHD used their resources wisely and was not the spendthrift kind. This had to be tied to the fact that Wheel gave consumers more washes at a lesser cost.


Research showed that mobile penetration was as high as 40% in the two states and was growing at 18-20% per year in rural India. But very few people in UP and Bihar read texts and a majority were ignorant about GPRS. The TG (men & women above 15 years of age) made optimum use of their phones.

The frugality of the audiences led to the key consumer insight of ‘giving a missed call’ which was the cornerstone of the media strategy for this campaign. Since this audience recharged their pre-paid cards with minimum talk-time balance, the mobile became the most effective medium to reach them.


PHD decided to link the act of giving a missed call and being clever with saving money with the brand. The idea was that Wheel actually gave you more washes at a lower cost. So every time consumers gave a missed call, they would get a call back from their favourite movie star Salman Khan who would share a laugh with them, all brought to them by Wheel. Leveraging their frugal behaviour coupled with Bollywood stardom and humorous call back massages, Wheel connected and engaged with a lot of consumers. 30 pieces of unique content personalised in the dialects of the locations were created and distributed via mobiles.

To participate in this campaign, a user had to give a missed call (an incomplete call where a person hangs up after one or two rings on dialling a number) on the toll-free number. The system would recognise the telecom circle where the call is coming from. A call would go back to the consumer with content customised as per the language of the telecom circle. The consumer got to listen to the joke in his/her language. The call ended with a brand salutation and the audience was told to call again if they wanted to listen to more jokes.

The toll-free number was promoted through POS, print, a tie-up with shows like ‘Khushiyon Ki Doli’, All India Radio (AIR) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, out-bound calls to the TG and text messages containing the toll-free number.


The ‘one missed call’ campaign delivered huge results: it generated 14.7 million missed calls. This campaign reached around 1.5 million of the rural population. Also, there was a 300% increase in brand sales in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar due to this campaign.

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Brand Owner:
Hindustan Unilever
March - August 2012
Media Channel:
Direct Marketing,Mobile,Print,Radio,Retail/POS
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