Brands at Kumbh: A story in pictures

By Sunit Roy , afaqs!, New Delhi | In OOH News
Published : February 19, 2019 05:37 AM
Here's a look at what brands are doing at ground zero.

The on-going Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad) has become the largest congregation of humankind in the world. People from across the globe have gathered to participate in the spectacle and take a holy dip at the Ghats of Triveni Sangam - the confluence of three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. The Mela is expected to draw tens of millions of pilgrims, especially during the six shahi snaans (royal bathing) being observed on Makar Sankranti, Paush Purnima, Mauni Amavasya, Basant Panchami, Maghi Purnima, and Mahashivratri. Over five crore devotees bathed themselves on the banks of Sangam on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya on February 4.

Elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure the smooth conduct of the event. Blending the grand traditions of Kumbh with the deployment of modern techniques and solutions so that kalpavasis, spiritual gurus, dignitaries, foreign visitors, and other pilgrims have a life emancipating experience, various brands - big and small - are leaving no stone unturned to leverage the grand event.

With an estimation of over 70 million people being a part of the gathering this year, it sets a good platform for brands to showcase their expertise and boost their visibility by enhancing the experience of those who visit.

Here's a list of marketing initiatives and brand activations launched at Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj:-


Hindustan Unilever's (HUL), Lifebuoy, in an effort to encourage people to wash their hands before meals, is using the thalis used to serve food, to trigger the practice. Called the 'Swasthya Chetna Thalis', the stainless steel plates come with an etched message of "Kripaya Pehle Sabun se Haath Dhoyein" (please wash your hands before eating); a very clear call to action.

Lifebuoy also launched Stamp of Hygiene to motivate people to wash their hands after using the toilet. A visual red stamp is marked on to people's hands before they go to toilet by a Lifebuoy representative outside select Akharas. As people try and wash off the stamp with water post using the toilet, the stamp lathers into soap and helps provide superior germ protection.

Reckitt Benckiser

With pilgrims coming to Kumbh from far and wide, Dettol and Harpic also showcased innovative ways to deliver their campaign messages by organising Nukkad Nataks within the Kumbh premises and creating life-size wall paintings across 54 villages surrounding the region.

Dettol has deployed 'Hand Mascots' who will recite the story of the hands coming in contact with germs and educate people on the need of hand washing and its practice. The mascot will share Dettol soaps to encourage personal hygiene.

To create awareness around toilet hygiene, Harpic launched 'Hoga Toilet Vidhi Ka Gyaan, Toh Badhega Kumbh ka Maan'. The campaign motivates visitors to throw water after they use a toilet as a sign of respect to the next person using it.


Colgate-Palmolive launched the 'Kumbh Se Sampoorna Shuddhi, Colgate Vedshakti Se Sampoorna Suraksha' campaign. As part of this, the brand is offering millions of visitors free samples of Colgate Vedshakti toothpaste. The sampling activity is carried out right from the transit points - at 21 highway pit stops, nine key railway junctions and several bus stations - to inside the main Mela grounds including the akharas, rein-baseras, water-point junctions, and Colgate Vedshakti branded brushing stations.

The completely localised initiative is custom-made to provide complete all-round protection to pilgrims through a range of Kumbh-specific activities and utility elements such as:
• Brushing stations
• Oral care importance drives
• Free, large-scale sampling of Colgate Vedshakti
• Suraksha Wristbands for children to wear their emergency contact details
• Sampoorna Suraksha Ropes given to big groups and families to hold on to, to ensure that they walk together without getting lost


Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) rolled out multiple initiatives form its brands such as Goodknight Power Chip, Godrej Protekt Mr. Magic, Godrej No.1, and Godrej Nupur. To strengthen the connect with pilgrims, GCPL's brands created multiple avenues across the city to drive their proposition to visitors at Kumbh.

Over 800 rooms (25 partner hotels across Prayagraj) have the Goodknight Power Chip pre-installed. A promoter team makes weekly visits to these hotels for the refurbishment of the chip and machine. The initiative is also promoted through customised branded collateral like hotel facade branding, reception tent cards and door tags in each room.

GCPL brand zones, managed by a team of promoters, engage consumers heading to snan ghats through brand thematic activities. For Godrej Protekt Mr. Magic hand wash, a wash basin unit has been set-up wherein visitors can wash their hands using the product. Additionally, near the snan ghats, Godrej No.1 and Godrej Nupur Henna-based hair colour have also done branding on female changing rooms.

HUL - Swachhata Ki Sawari

This HUL initiative was created to address the challenge of litter caused by plastic bags used for flowers/garlands and other sources which, unfortunately, end up polluting the river. Swachhata Ki Sawari is an innovative solution where the brand attached two nets to the sides of 100 boats, being used to ferry passengers to and from the Sangam. The nets, which are closed at one end, collect floating garbage during the journey. Once the boat reaches the shore and the passengers disembark, a team of cleaners remove the garbage from the nets and reinstall clean nets. The cleaners then transport the collected waste to the designated garbage area on each ghat. 'Swachhata Ki Sawari' is part of HUL's umbrella campaign 'Start a Little Good'.

Brooke Bond Red Label

Brooke Bond Red Label (BBRL) has set up first-of-their-kind innovative tea vending machines across the Kumbh Mela to encourage people to dispose of waste safely. The device doubles up as a dustbin with a built-in sensor. Every time a pilgrim disposes of garbage, the sensor is activated and releases a cup of hot tea from the slot. Thus, while encouraging cleanliness, these machines reward pilgrims with an effective way to beat the cold.

Wheel 'Wash-o-Cycle'

Simple day-to-day chores such as washing clothes, becomes a daunting challenge for Kalpvasis living on-site for a 30-day period. This is where Wheel - HUL's laundry detergent brand - came to the rescue. The brand created a unique 'Wheel Wash-o-Cycle' - an innovative device with a drum attached to a bicycle. Pedalling rotates the drum, thus washing the clothes like a washing machine. Consumers just have to fill the drum with water, add their clothes and Wheel detergent powder, and after about 10-12 minutes of pedalling, get clean clothes. The Wheel Wash-o-Cycle uses no electricity, saves water, saves devotees the trouble of washing clothes in chilly water, and can be used by everyone. At the end of the Mela, the brand will donate the Wheel Wash-o-Cycles to nearby villages, to take its "Pehno Fresh and Socho Fresh" proposition forward.


LG's installation of multiple water purifiers helped the multitude of visitors with safe and easy access to clean drinking water. The initiative especially benefits those who cannot afford to buy bottled water. The brand has also installed washing machines for pilgrims to clean their garments. LG even distributed hand bands (Suraksha Dhagas) with relevant details, outside of the lost and found centres and other areas so wearers can either contact a guardian or the centre itself in case they got lost.


Staying true to the Nihar Shanti Amla brand philosophy "Dikho Khubsurat Karo Khubsurat" - not only looking good but doing good for society, the brand is giving visitors an opportunity to become agents of change. With every holy dip that devotees take in the Ganga, they can make a donation of Re. 1 towards the cause of children's education. For every Rupee donated, one block on a LED Screen installed near the banks, changes. With daily targets achieved, the installation will showcase an image of a child receiving an education. This is the essence of the campaign - 'Achayi Ki Dubki'. The social initiative is carried out in partnership with the NGO - Educate Girls.

For Mediker, this was an opportunity to create awareness about lice infestation and reinforce the brand proposition as - the most effective solution for lice removal. The brand partnered with Kumbh by distributing towels as reminders to consumers after their holy dip, that 'Lice are just a head away from you' and Mediker is the solution. The brand also tied up with 100 lodges near the MahaKumbh to place Mediker shampoos in washrooms. A life-sized inflatable Lice Character - 'Ju-Raja' is also on-ground to speak to children and their parents about hygiene and getting rid of lice.

ALSO READ: Dettol Ka Dhula Kumbh Mela: A melange of sanitation and salvation

Hamam and Ogilvy

Working with brand partner, Ogilvy India, Hamam created an effective solution for women who enter the water fully clothed - Waterproof Sarees. A simple layer of a waterproofing treatment makes the existing sari fabric aqua phobic an ideal option for women devotees. Through its #GoSafeOutside positioning, the brand wants to help boost the sense of safety claiming that the Waterproof Saree is not just a solution to help preserve a woman's modesty; it is also a shout out to society to be more respectful of women.

Kansai Nerolac

Kansai Nerolac Paints has beautified Indira Bhavan, in sync with the theme of Kumbh. The art-depiction on Indira Bhavan is to commemorate saints, sadhus and pilgrims from all walks of life. Inspired by the social aspect of the Kumbh Mela, the portraiture displays unique elements of life, spirituality, jubilation, and the age-old legacy of human congregation at the MahaKumbh.


This year, the Kumbh Mela welcomed thousands of devotees with a vast number of professional grade LED streetlights (more than 15,000) supplied by Eveready Industries, aiding the administration in their efforts to keep the area well-lit at all times and safe for the general public. The brand also helped the authorities manage the smooth conduct of the Mela through Sangam-bound direction boards, changing rooms for ladies, police watchtowers and tall standing media towers.

HIL's Charminar

Charminar, HIL's flagship roofing solution, installed numerous water kiosks at Kumbh Mela to serve clean drinking water to the masses and devotees. Embarking on the first-of-its-kind association, Charminar also distributed bags/jholas to masses and devotees on key gathering days.

Welspun India

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. Apart from branding 20 changing rooms at the bathing ghat, Welspun has set up a stall at the commercial area of the Mela and also rolled out Geo-targeted notifications for better on-ground interaction.


Airtel announced initiatives to offer a digital Kumbh Mela 2019 experience to customers where they will be able to stream the proceedings - including important Snans and Aartis - on the Airtel TV app via a dedicated channel. The brand has tied up with VR Devotee, India's leading devotional content provider, to bring this exclusive content to its app.

"Kumbh Mela sets a good platform for the brands to showcase their expertise and boost their visibility."


Vodafone, by deploying its globally acknowledged RFID technology, will benefit the large congregating at Prayagraj to ensure their safe and worry-free spiritual experience. The brand is enhancing the experience for visitors on-ground and off-ground via a string of innovations built on digital journeys - such as Vodafone Milaap, Vodafone Location Alerts, Vodafone Centres, Kumbh Darshan Service, and Kumbh on Vodafone Play.

Dabur Red Paste

Dabur Red Paste, the flagship Oral care brand from the House of Dabur, is spreading the message of Oral Hygiene amongst pilgrims visiting Kumbh Mela 2019 with its Dabur Red DantSnan activity. Under this initiative, Dabur has set up dental stations across all Akharas at the mela ground with Dabur Red paste dispensers and spreading the message: "Kumbh me Snanse pehle, Dabur Red Dant Snan". The first-of-its-kind toothpaste dispenser works on the lines of liquid soap dispensers found in most hotels across the country. These toothpaste dispensers squeeze out the adequate amount of Dabur Red Paste on the toothbrush. In addition, these dental stations are also being used to spread the message of oral hygiene among the devotees


Kumbh mela is ridden with a plethora of safety issues. The most important being crowd management, getting injured devotees safely to medical centres and women's safety during and after the holy dip.

Staying true to the CEAT philosophy of 'it helps', banner ads were built and strategically placed so that they could be attached together to create dividers by the Kumbh mela security to direct crowd movement. These banners could also easily be dismantled and turned into cubicles, that provide privacy and safety to women changing their clothes before and after the holy dip in the Ganges.

Too Yumm!

Too Yumm! - a snack brand from the house of Guiltfree Industries (FMCG division of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group) - installed the largest diya as a symbol of its commitment towards good health. Post achieving the Guinness World Records® in Mumbai, the brand conducted the presentation ceremony for the record at the Kumbh Mela where Bollywood actor Sonu Sood set alight the largest oil lamp (diya) and took the pledge for 'good health'. The colossal diya manufactured in Mumbai, Mira Steels measuring 476.5mm in height, and 2390.6mm in diameter is installed at the Ardh Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

ICICI Lombard

In an attempt to help women devotees at Kumbh, ICICI Lombard launched a unique wellness focused initiative #BajaoTaaliSehatWali. Targeted at women pilgrims participating in the ritual of bhajan-kirtan, ICICI Lombard came up with a unique idea of using the 'clapping therapy' as a medium of improving their overall health. To this extent, the insurer designed 'Clapping Gloves', an innovative product equipped with the protrusions on the inside that activated the acupressure points with every clap. Continuous clapping for 20 minutes, using these gloves equipped with protrusions, helps in improving overall blood circulation, digestion, eyesight and other vital organ functions with the help of the acupressure therapy. Additionally the gloves also act as a good cover against the freezing weather at Kumbh.

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