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Kumbh Mela, The Paradise of Experiential Marketing - A Case Study

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India is a land of cultural activities and festivals.The history of mela marketing is ancient: perhaps older than marketing as we know it today. Kumbh Mela is a big primer on heartland marketing. The Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation of people in the world with the record number of attendees of 150 million people and investments of around ₹2,500+ crore on infrastructure, touristic and cultural activities.

Setting aside the ‘aastha’ of millions at the Kumbh, it is worth noticing how brands are latching on to the moment to engage with the potential consumers at the fair.

Research has shown that the memory recall of the brand is humungous if it has served the needs of a pilgrim or a consumer.
Digitization allows brands the opportunity to amplify their Below the Line (BTL) on-ground activation, which further enhances their emotional TG connectedness.
The whole of the ad world, small and big players helm branding kiosks at the religious gathering, merely not with the purpose of outshining the competition, but to create top of the mind recall. From out and about outdoor advertising to experiential marketing to digital activations, major FMCG players like HUL, Dabur and other categories have their aced their marketing game at the event.

Some stats that will blow your mind.

  • A record over 24 crore people visited Kumbh-2019, more than total tourists in UP in 2014-17.
  • The mela crates approx 6 lac+ jobs across all sectors for each season and in 2019 it generated a revenue of 1.2 lac crore for Uttar Pradesh.
  • The festival is over 2000 years old! The first written evidence of the mela can be found in the accounts of the Chinese traveller Xuanzang, who visited India during the reign of King Harshavardhana.

Brands who have really nailed it at Kumbh.

From umbrellas to ropes, every inch is branded during Kumbh Mela. The Mela provides a unique opportunity for any brand which wants to convey faith. After all, it’s faith that has brought so many people together at one place. Here’s an interesting documentary that captures how the brands have leveraged the world’s biggest gathering of people.

Some of the campaigns we loved

01. Welspun

In an effort to publicise their QUIK DRY towel collection, through its 'Jaldi Sukhe, Jaldi Sukhaye' campaign three thousand Welspun QUIK DRY towels are deployed each day outside women's changing rooms, giving them the first-hand experience of the product.

02. Lifebuoy

The country's largest consumer products firm, along with creative agency Ogilvy, has partnered more than 100 dhabas and hotels at the mela site to serve rotis that are stamped with "Lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya?” (Have you washed your hand with Lifebuoy?).

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03. Wheel

The brand created a unique 'Wheel Wash-o-Cycle' - an innovative device with a drum attached to a bicycle. Pedaling rotates the drum, thus washing the clothes like a washing machine.

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04. Colgate

Using location-based targeting, Colgate created a virtual circle around the pilgrimage site by tagging three nearby cellular towers. When pilgrims entered this circle, their phones were identified and they received a call from Amin Sayani, a legendary Indian radio personality, telling them to visit the Colgate booth for free samples, a chance to win prizes, and entertainment.

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