RMAI Awards 2008: Experiential marketing at the rural level

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : December 23, 2008
At the case study presentation, RC&M explained the strategies used for its four award winning initiatives


marketing firm RC&M had four of its seven entries shortlisted for the Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI) Awards 2008, which were held at the JW Marriott hotel in Mumbai on December 22. All four shortlisted entries picked up awards later in the day.

RC&M was shortlisted for Air Flow Technology (Mahindra Bhoomi Putra 235 DI) in the Rural Marketing Initiative category and for Hosh Uda De (Mahindra Arjun Ultra 1) in the Effective Use of Event Marketing category. Both campaigns were for Mahindra tractor models.

The objective for Mahindra Bhoomi Putra 235 DI was to grab the lion's share in the less than 30 HP (horsepower) segment and reposition the competition. The USP of the tractor is the air flow technology it uses, which keeps the engine ventilated. This feature needed to be highlighted.

The target group for the Bhoomi Putra was the marginal and small farmer who owns less than five acres of farming land. The brand also targeted the non-farmer, who needed the tractor for transportation purposes. This target group required a tractor that was high on mileage and low on cost and maintenance. It would also use the tractor as a way of improving its social standing.

An integrated marketing campaign, called Kamai Chakra (Wheel of Earnings), was created. This included events and road shows, out-of-home activities and direct marketing. In the first phase, an experiential air chamber was created, where farmers could access a film educating them about the tractor's features. During the film, the overhead exhaust in the chamber opened up and provided a live experience of the air flow technology.

OOH was utilised in the form of dealer boards, traffic points (around 200 traffic points were used) and billboards in the regions where the activity was carried out. The chamber activity created enquiries, which were then converted into sales by the direct marketing team.

Through this activity, 2,500 farmers were reached in 11 states. Four hundred spot sales were achieved and the market share for the Bhoomi Putra 235 DI went up to 37 per cent in 2006-07 (as claimed by the presenter). Mahindra holds a 13 per cent share of the low horsepower tractor market.

While the Bhoomi Putra was positioned to meet the needs of the smaller farmer, the Arjun Ultra 1 was made for the affluent and rich farmer. To convince the TG in a tactical manner, RC&M created an aerodynamic display unit, where the farmers could view the tractor. An inflatable igloo was created to build curiosity. A high-tech video game showcased the superior engine strength and safety of the tractor. High-traffic dhabas which were frequented by affluent farmers displayed a showcase with the tractor in it.

The buzz created by these activities was strengthened by providing test rides to the farmers. These activities together reached about 1,250 villages in eight states, including Punjab, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The presenter claimed that there was a 60 per cent increase in the market share of the Arjun Ultra 1 in 2006-07.

RC&M's third shortlisted case study was Operation Attack for Castrol CRB Plus. Castrol CRB had been relaunched with a heatproof formula. RC&M designed Operation Attack to enable Castrol to gain market share for the relaunched engine oil. The campaign was rolled out in two phases. The first phase involved a live technical demo of the product and the second was a film called Jai Kisan.

As part of the live demo, two pistons, one with ordinary engine oil and the other with Castrol CRB Plus, were put to work side by side. A thermometer was fitted to measure the temperature within the piston. Ordinary engine oils evaporate when the piston reaches a temperature of 300 degrees, but with Castrol CRB Plus, the piston remained coated with a layer of oil even at that temperature.

The film, Jai Kisan, was screened at various places, after which there was a question and answer session.

Eleven such units were deployed in 17 states in a span of 90 days. The campaign reached 15,000 farmers. The presenter claimed that top of mind awareness for Castrol increased by 12 per cent, and the preference share grew by 3.1 per cent as compared to the previous quarter.

The fourth RC&M case study that made it to the list of finalists was its work on TVS Star City. Star City, the four-stroke bike launched in 2006, had two key features, healthy mileage and strong shock absorbers fit for riding in rural areas. Competition for the brand was in the form of other manufacturers offering upgrades of existing bikes. RC&M had the challenge to motivate and increase footfalls for TVS Star City dealerships.

RC&M's strategy was to create a sports challenge called Dumdaar Chunauti. From its past experience, the agency had learnt that there was a lot of passion and enthusiasm for participation in sports. The challenge of the contest was to get teams to ride the TVS Star City, with the maximum number of people trying to stay on for a stipulated distance for a specified time period. The winning team would win a cash prize. The challenge was supported by service camps. Around 1,000 people participated every day in the contest. Some 15 lakh prospective customers were contacted, including rural youth, traders, milkmen and farmers.

After the sporting challenge, hot prospects were given one-to-one briefings. Dumdaar Chunauti covered four states and 235 sub-dealers, and initiated 95,000 test rides. Around 1,200 spot sales were made. Post the event, a 35 per cent increase in dealership footfalls and an 11 per cent increase in the bike's market share were witnessed (as claimed by the presenter).

The objective of the RMAI Awards is to recognise and reward successful case studies in rural marketing, initiated and put into action between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2008.

Tata Shaktee was the title sponsor of the bi-annual awards event organised by the RMAI and co-sponsored by Impact Communication. Business Line was the media partner and Eventfaqs, the online partner.

First Published : December 23, 2008

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