Leveraging e-Commerce to drive targeted sampling for premium FMCG brands
Mindshare India
Hindustan Unilever
Lakme & Ponds, Vim Liquid, Comfort, Huggies, PureIt
Product sampling is a very powerful way to generate trial, demonstrate product efficacy / value and ultimately drive adoption. However the key is to sharp shoot, ensuring that the right product is sampled to right consumer. Traditional routes used by FMCG brands in India, like Print and Ambient are often wasteful and money intensive. This is more so for premium brands catering to the media savvy & fragmented and affluent Urban India.
Unilever was facing the exact same challenge in sampling its premium beauty (Lakme, Ponds), home (Vim Liquid), fabric (Comfort) & baby care (Huggies) and durables (PureIt) brands.
The answer lies in knowing who your consumer is. And the internet allows for detailed consumer profiling. Added to that is blossoming e-Commerce industry, which delivers not just a profiled consumer, but a profiled shopper who has disposable income to spare and in the state of mind to explore products.
We zeroed in on Diwali, India’s biggest and most widely celebrated festival. Not only does Diwali mark a major shopping period, but categories like beauty and durables see higher penetrations during this festive period, making this a ripe opportunity to drive brand engagement and sampling.
Hence we co-created a platform to drive sampling (by demand) to reduce wastage by tying up with the biggest internet network there is – Google and leveraged the backend of an e-Commerce giant resulting in a win / win partnership:
a.         HUL got to sample its products at really low costs and drive awareness and demand for premium products
b.         Google got massive advertising revenue and free salience across offline media that drove fresh traffic
c.         Amazon – got database of interested consumers who it could target for repeat purchase after sampling and also cross sell other categories
Hence was a born a never done before, industry first - the Grand Diwali Carnival (Mela), India’s first and largest digital brand carnival inviting over 16 Million affluent, educated & always connected consumers.
8 Unilever brands participated – Lakme & Ponds (Premium beauty), Vim Liquid (Home care), Comfort (Premium fabric care), Huggies (Baby care) and PureIt (Durables), with Lakme as the lead sponsor.
Consumers were profiled on the basis of the brands’ core target audiences and directed to the relevant brand stalls where they were delivered tailor-made and curated content e-Commerce was enabled via Amazon’s secure gateway. To drive traffic, we mounted a massive multi-media promotional campaign that reached out to over 50 million consumers.

-       Fastest site to get 5.5 Mn visitors
-       1.5 Lakh targeted samples given away
-       Introduced videogram-ing to present long format content
-       150K daily visitors
-       200K registered & profiled in 3 weeks
-       1 day’s volume on mela = 1 month of e-Commerce transaction for Unilever
-       Sampling and Profiling success in 3 weeks =  P&G’s transactions of YTD Oct 2014

-       100K hours spent
-       MTV@Movies; Lakme’s The Girl In Me, clocked 200K views over the Diwali weekend (81% engagement rate over a 40 minute video)
-       Introduced videogram-ing to present long format content
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