January 16, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

Hi. My name is Delynn (“De – Lynn”) and I head up BuzzCity's Asia sales team. In my contributions to the GammaLife blog, I plan to share examples of how companies conduct branding and marketing exercises on the mobile internet. By the very nature of our business, these cases often extend beyond one particular geographic region and this week's story is no exception.

Emami – an Indian company that specialises in personal care products – aimed to increase brand recognition of a facial cream for men called “Fair and Handsome”. The fast-moving consumer goods business also wanted to survey consumer perceptions. So, Emami turned to a Singapore-based company called Mobiquest that partners with clients to provide mobile application services. Together, Emami and Mobiquest produced a contest-driven mobile campaign in two countries, India and Kenya.

I'm going to dive into a fair bit of detail now, but I think this will be useful for advertisers and publishers alike.

While mobile advertising offers a number of tools to target your campaign – by geography, content channels and mobile device – targeting actually begins with the creative content: the ad banner. Emami wanted to gather information from male consumers. We can't segment a survey by gender, so Emami took a direct approach with the creatives. Its campaign banners read “Are you a man? Click here.” and “Women like fair men. Are you fair?”.

The marketing messages did the trick. In India, where these two banners ran, eighty-nine percent said they were men.

Mobile surfers meanwhile were motivated to take the survey by the chance of winning an iPod Nano.

Through most of the campaign, Emami's banner ads directed participants to a survey. Questions were tailored for the different markets. In India, “Fair & Handsome” was already an established product, so the survey takes a direct approach with questions crafted to promote the product. In Kenya, though, Emami had not yet introduced the product, so the survey was for product research.

Note that two separate, but similar, surveys were run in India. The answers were resoundingly in favor of the product, with almost all respondents saying men should use a fairness cream and 85% saying they will try “Fair & Handsome”. In the second Indian survey, 93% of respondents say they will buy the product and 95% will recommend it to a friend. I'm not sure if the survey takers were a self-selecting audience or if some respondents just lied.

Regardless, more than 80% provided an accurate mobile phone number, which is a great result for Emami's database.

In Kenya, Emami learned that Unilever's competing product has a 57% market share (at least among mobile users) and that most consumers use fairness creams twice a day.

It's quite easy to amend aspects of a mobile ad campaign and Emami made four changes during the course of this campaign.

1. They launched the campaign with both text and graphic banners. However after the first month, online reports showed that the text banners had a higher response rate. So, from the second month, Emami dropped the graphic banners.

2. Emami alternated between directing click-throughs to the mobile survey and to its “Fair & Handsome” mobile site.

3. The end date was changed to extend the campaign by one month.

4. The Indian survey questions were amended.

The “Fair & Handsome” ad campaign ran from April – June and August - December 2007. During this period, Emami's mobile banners were viewed nearly 8 million times in India and 5 million times in Kenya. The banners received an average click-through rate of 2.69%.

Emami bid 1 US cent per click. The eight-month campaign cost about US$4k. That's about US$ 495 per month or US$16.50 a day.

Emami set out to increase awareness of the “Fair & Handsome” brand and to collect consumer contact details. Nearly 1800 mobile surfers completed Emami's surveys; some 1450 provided accurate mobile phone numbers. Not taking into account banner views, increased market knowledge and heightened publicity, that's about 36 US cents per contact.

Prospective clients sometimes say to me, “Delynn, we're interested in trying out mobile advertising, but we're just too busy and don't have the manpower to do it.” This is a common misperception, particularly among companies that are new to the mobile space. These brands believe the process must be tedious, cumbersome and time-consuming.

BuzzCity's online interface is actually very easy to use, though. OK, I've fallen into sales mode, but it's true: our advertiser platform enables businesses to quickly launch a campaign within a specified budget and for as little as US$20 per day. It's also easy to make mid-course corrections and ad-hoc changes to optimise results, as you can see from the example above.

Related Links
  1.  Starting a Campaign With BuzzCity