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Cause Related Marketing: A look at Sani Fresh's campaign for Women's Dignity

By Arshita Bhardwaj , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | February 19, 2015
afaqs! is starting off a new, occasional series on cause related marketing with Dabur's Sani Fresh which took on the immense task of working on toilets for women.

Dabur India, the fourth largest FMCG company in India, with revenues of over Rs. 7,073 crore and market capitalisation of over Rs. 47,000 crore, operates in key consumer products categories like Hair Care, Oral Care, Health Care, Skin Care, Home Care & Foods.

For its toilet cleaner brand Sani Fresh, the company took up the cause of bringing better access to toilets for women. Called '700se7kadam', the campaign urged people to come forward and take steps towards creating better sanitation facilities for women in India, especially in the rural and tier II and III cities.

SaniFresh '700 se 7 kadam' campaign

There is, of course, no doubt about the need for an initiative like this. More than 23 per cent of girls drop out of school after reaching puberty, according to a national survey conducted by AC Nielsen and NGO Plan India in 2012. The 2011 Status of Education Report states that young women between the ages of 12 and 18 miss five days of school every month, or over 50 days each year, because schools don't have sufficient funds to provide students with separate toilets. Absence of acceptable facilities is directly correlated to high dropout rates, illiteracy and a cycle of poor health for women and children.

A study carried out by CRY found that 11 per cent of schools do not have basic facilities. Only 18 per cent have separate toilets for girls and in 24 per cent schools with facilities, the toilets are either in a bad condition or are unusable. These numbers are a clear indication of the sorry state of women health and security in the country, thereby reinforcing the need for immediate attention and action.

Sani Fresh '700se7kadam' campaign

Sani Fresh '700se7kadam' campaign

Sani Fresh '700se7kadam' campaign

Ajay Motwani

Talking about the campaign, Ajay Motwani, head of marketing, Dabur Home Care, said, "Lack of hygienic sanitation facilities in schools has been a major cause of embarrassment for the girl students. As a consequence, they leave school on an average at an earlier age than their male contemporaries. Sani Fresh is committed to improve the hygienic sanitation facilities for girls at schools as a responsible corporate citizen of the country."

The campaign, designed in association with digital agency Ogilvy One, was launched with an interactive website to disseminate information about the cause. 700se7kadam.com urges people to reduce the number of footsteps that a woman has to take, across many places in the country, to reach their toilets.

The main objective of the campaign was to apprise people of the miserable condition of sanitation for women and girls in rural India. Brand Sani Fresh has decided to go beyond its selling proposition of fighting filth and germs, and associate with the idea of dignity for the girl child, with more than just good intent.

Launched in November 2014, the first leg included the launch of a video on YouTube. In order to amplify the reach, it was promoted on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, asking people to show their support and participate.

The brand also undertook projects to maintain toilets and school surroundings in some schools in Delhi. School children were educated on the tenets of cleanliness and were made to take an oath to maintain cleanliness around them. The brand also partnered with Sulabh for the upkeep of Sulabh-run toilets. It is also planning to adopt and maintain a few Sulabh conveniences in Delhi.

The toilet cleaner brand launched a Twitter activity titled #Dignity4Women on January 22, the Girl Child Day. The campaign saw participation from more than 900 participants, generating more than 11,000 conversations and 55 million impressions.

Sanjeev Jasani

The campaign also included a TVC which showed a young girl having to walk 700 steps in the middle of the night to reach a place to relieve herself in the fields. Speaking about the campaign, Sanjeev Jasani, senior vice president and head of Delhi office, OgilvyOne, says, "The client brief was to create the unique positioning of the brand which was not possible around germ fighting, as several big brands are already playing in that place. So, we decided to position it around the creation of toilets in the country, as it is something of prime importance in the country which has more mobile handsets than toilets, especially for women."

He further added that the insight in the campaign is extremely visible throughout the length and breadth of the country. The other legs of the campaign include social media amplification, along with digital influencers promoting it.

Dabur aims to construct 500-1000 toilets across villages through this campaign.

It is worth noting that beyond the sheer challenge of walking a distance for toilets, the lack of toilets has been cited as a factor in crime against women, as well as health issues related to women having to wait for evening or other hours for ablutions.

Is this the right way for brand Sani Fresh? What else could the brand have done? Watch this space for the concluding part of the story.