Bihar mein No 1 radio station kaunbaa? Aapan Hindustan Unilever ke ‘Kan Khajura Tesan’

04 Mar,2014

By Sagar Malviya


At Gosaidaspur, a village near Ganga river basin in Bihar, people regularly listen to movie songs, dialogues, radio jockey talk, jokes and shayari on their mobile phone. There’s no FM station covering this village 250 km east of Patna; villagers owe this special service to Hindustan Unilever.


The country’s largest consumer goods maker has come up with a free radio-on-demand service to reach out to villagers in remote areas. And it says its lone channel – Kan Khajura Tesan, or ‘centipede station’ – is already the largest radio station in Bihar in terms of subscribers.


This is how it works: any mobile phone user in Bihar can give a missed call to a specific number to immediately get a return call that will play Kan Khajura Tesan for 15 minutes. Besides a series of entertainment programmes, the channel of course plays advertisements of HUL brands.


HUL has Stopped Ads on Radio

“There is a lot of demand for content or entertainment in media-dark villages and mobiles become their only route to that world. So, we thought, can we institutionalise missed calls into an entertainment channel,” said Hemant Bakshi, executive director for home and personal care at HUL.


“For consumers, it’s just like any other free radio station. But the one big difference compared with a radio is that we know who’s listening to our programmes,” he said.


Mr Bakshi said the company has stopped advertising on radio in Bihar because its own channel reaches more people than any radio station. The company has printed the phone number for the channel on some of its product packs and has put up banners outside stores to increase its reach.


It has already acquired more than 5 million subscribers, and interacts with about 1 lakh consumers everyday. That means about 25,000 hours of engagement daily with consumers in Bihar. And the company says it has more than 26 million ad impressions till date.


Buoyed by its success in Bihar, Hindustan Unilever has launched this service in neighbouring Jharkhand and plans to take it to other states including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.


Experts said Hindustan Unilever has reinvented “The notion that more advertising could mean more sales is diminishing. Also, impact of paid media is waning. HUL’s initiative is like a viral which will give much bigger bang for the buck,” said Alpana Parida, president at brand consulting firm DY Works.


So, where did the company get this idea of running a parallel radio station? From a radio campaign for Wheel detergent it ran more than two years ago.


The Active Wheel advertisement on All India Radio in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar asked listeners to give a missed call from their mobiles to a particular number.


When they did so, they promptly got a call back with a recording of actor Salman Khan’s dialogues from his blockbuster film Ek Tha Tiger and his endorsement of Wheel.


HUL got 16 million missed calls in four months and, by the end of the campaign, brand awareness scores for Wheel had increased 25% and its sales jumped three times in the region.


To ensure quality programmes, HUL has roped in several third-party firms to generate content and services for the channel, which it had initially named ‘Mobile Vani’ before opting for a more sticky and colloquial name.


Also, similar to a loyalty card system for retailers, HUL plans to develop strategies once it gets profiles of the listeners over a period. “Content and advertising are becoming more linked with each other than they used to be in the past.


As we go forward and have richer profiles of our listeners, we can leverage the database and plan customised strategies for our brands,” Mr Bakshi said.



Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2014, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Licensed to republish


Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Sanjay Singh, senior journalist and now communications specialist based in Patna, for help with the Bhojpuri headline


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