dhabas (roadside restaurants) as an advertising medium is nothing new for Indian brands. Companies such as PepsiCo or Coca-Cola have used them to increase brand visibility by installing branded umbrellas and other props. Dhabas have even been favourite spots for spreading social awareness, such as campaigns on HIV/AIDS.
The latest to join the bandwagon is Dabur, which is redesigning 150 dhabas on routes originating from Delhi, using Hajmola banners, umbrellas, tables, chairs and wall paintings. However, for Dabur Hajmola, this is not just another exercise to gain visibility.
Rajeev John, senior marketing manager, Dabur India, tells afaqs! that the entire exercise is being done in a bid to reposition Hajmola as a post-meal consumption product, rather than just a digestive product.
John says, "We have been the market leader in this space for very long. However, the post-meal consumption market is a bigger opportunity. Therefore, we are trying to put Hajmola in this category of mints and 'saunf' (fennel seeds). It is to this effect that we are targeting all our efforts."
The campaign involves redesigning the selected dhabas with Hajmola props and then serving the customers free Hajmola sachets along with their meals. The company has also engaged tuck shops near these dhabas to take the initiative forward.
Roping in these 150 dhabas - which are on the roads from Delhi to Jaipur, Chandigarh, Haridwar, Agra and Dehradun - is the first phase of the initiative, which will last till the end of November. The next phase will involve another 1,000 dhabas in the next six to nine months.
With dhabas taking care of the unorganised retail section, Dabur plans to take Hajmola to leading national restaurant chains as well to get a foothold in the organised retail category, too.
In August, the brand did a co-branding exercise with Nirula's in the National Capital Region on the same format. Along with putting Hajmola table tops, danglers, shelf strips, and so on, the company served free Hajmola sachets to the customers with their bills.
Dabur has successfully completed an extensive three day exercise with the Mumbai 'dabbawalas' as well. The activity engaged 5,000 tiffin carriers, who reach different offices and other such places in the city, by putting free Hajmola sachets in the tiffin boxes. The initiative, which was also supported by radio activation, touched a total of 20,000 people across Mumbai.
After this success, Dabur plans to involve professional caterers in their Hajmola repositioning scheme.
Though John agrees that unorganised retail outlets such as dhabas give them more space to highlight their brand, he adds that organised eateries have their own benefits. "The opportunity to display the product is obviously far more in dhabas with umbrellas and all, but it takes time to do all that. With organised chains, the activity is fast track and less time consuming."
Hajmola is reasonably sure that the activity will get it into the desired space of after- meal consumption. After all, as John observes, it is a more hygienic alternative than digging your fingers into who-knows-how-many-days-old 'saunf'.
While the creative duties of the campaign are being handled by Lowe, Hajmola's agency, the brand has utilised the services of Amrus Communications to execute the programme.