Eco Ganesha

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In the Indian context, the brand’s point of view is that ‘Dirt is good’, only if the child learns something, be it a value or good behaviour. As the brand focuses on mothers and their children, it reassures mothers that however dirty their children’s clothes get, Surf Excel is the best solution. The main thing is that the child is learning and/or exhibiting a value or good behaviour 

However, finding contexts in media for talking to a mum when the child gets ‘dirty’ and learns is very difficult. The context is extremely personal and devoid of media presence. Schools don’t permit brands to enter their premises and the mum and child learning time is largely confined to homes. 

The challenge was to create or leverage contexts where children can learn (and get messy in the process) so as to bring alive “Dirt is Good”. 


A very interesting fact about Indian festivals is that behind the revelry and good food, it provides an unexpected environment for learning. Festivals are occasions that mums leverage to teach their children important lessons in culture, traditions and, most of all, values that define Indian heritage.  

One such festival is Ganesh Chaturthi – the festival of the elephant-headed child-god. He is known for being wise and holds dear the very values that a Surf mum would like to see in her child – sacrifice, empathy and righteousness.  

Ganesh Chaturthi which is celebrated over 10 days to mark the birth of the strongest, wisest and most adorable Indian god – Lord Ganesha. A new Idol of Ganesha is brought home, decorated and worshipped. At the end of festivity, the idol is bid goodbye by immersing it in a water body, representing the cycle of creation and dissolution in nature. 

However, as the production of Ganesh idols on a commercial basis grew, the earthen or natural clay was replaced by Plaster of Paris (POP) and synthetic colours which is man-made and does not dissolve completely in water. Therefore contaminates water and has adverse effects on the environment – a rising concern amongst environmental bodies, government and citizens alike. 

Surf Excel saw an opportunity of helping a child learn important lessons in environmental responsibility involving both mum and child.  

At a workshop organized by Surf Excel, kids created Ganpati idols from environment-friendly materials like clay and vegetable colours while their mothers watched them getting dirty while doing so – reinforcing her belief in learning by doing and bringing Dirt is Good alive for her in the process.  


Eco-Friendly Ganapati making workshops were held across nine cities simultaneously, a week before the main festival. Artists and Mentors guided the Kids in the art of clay modelling and making of Ganpati for the special occasion. “Dirt is Good” proposition in its true sense was displayed as kids created the idols and got themselves dirty while doing so. These idols were coloured and decorated to perfection.  

The most important part, was that these idols, made by the children, were then exhibited to the general public and sold. The proceeds were donated to “India Foundation”, an NGO devoted to environmental consciousness. 

Mass media was used to ensure wide reach and awareness of this activity and solicit participation.  

Call for participation: Advertisements and editorial write-ups were released across 2-3 top publications reaching to 7.79 million people.  

Amplification: Print was used extensively. On each day of the Pre -festival, half page articles were released. They spoke about the importance of the festival and the need to be eco-Friendly. The journey of the kids who were a part of the workshop was also captured.  


 Over 17.2 million people were reached through this process  

 Inspiring kids ‘the catalyst of change’:  

- Nearly 75,000 Kids participated in the workshop and about 3,750 Eco-friendly Ganapati idols were exhibited and sold. 
- Parents / Teachers testified to the success of this initiative. They were happy to see a brand taking efforts to educate young minds about the environment and offered solutions on how to preserve it. 

 Building relevance for Brand stature: Notable improvement in key brand health parameters were observed: 

- Unaided Brand Awareness went up by 600 Basis point  
- Brand recommendation went up by 200 Basis point 
- ‘Believe that children develop best when they're free to get dirty’ improved by 200 Basis point 
- Brand talkability increased by 200 Basis point 
- Surf Excel one of the critical KPI, ‘Removes stains first time’ moved from 79 to 80  

(Source:*Millward Brown Sept ‘15 Maharashtra Data)

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Surf Excel
Brand Owner:
Hindustan Unilever
September - September 2015
Media Channel:
  • FMAs winner
  • FMAs shortlisted

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