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Kumbh 2019 — a mega hub for brands to market themselves

The holy event with 100 million visitors is not only a windfall for local traders but for big brands too, which are finding innovative ways to reach out to sadhus, pilgrims and tourists. With its eclectic mix of people from across all walks of life, the Kumbh Mela proves to be the perfect branding ground for them

Mega fair Kumbh Mela, which witnesses over a 100 million footfall every year, has become a hub for brands to market themselves. The 55-day mela, which began on January 15 and is being held in Prayagraj this year, is expected to see 150 million visitors this time. The fair has noticeably caught the interest of marketers of all sorts of brands as it provides a mega opportunity to reach out to people.

More than 80 brands are taking part in Kumbh this year. FMCG brands, banks, mobile handset makers, fixture-fittings and also first-time advertisers such as Welspun and Brooke Bond are promoting their brands and products at the event. Advertising plans include digital and mobile activations, apart from hoardings and sampling activities.

Here’s how brands are reaching out to their targeted groups.

Empowering the boatmen community of the region, Hindustan Unilever Limited joined hands with Kumbh Mela authorities in keeping the Sangam clean this year. Sangam — a confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers— is considered a holy spot; a dip in it is believed to wash off one’s sins. The mechanism involves simply attaching two nets on either side of 100 boats that ferry devotees to and from the Sangam. Once the boat is in the river, the nets, which are closed at one end, collect floating garbage during the journey. Once it reaches the shore to disembark passengers, a team of cleaners remove the waste from the nets and reinstall clean nets. The cleaners transport the collected waste to the designated areas on each ghat.

Eveready Industries India Limited (EIIL) is welcoming devotees with professional grade LED streetlights that lit up Prayagraj in ‘brilliant’ and ‘efficient’ white light, popularly called ‘Dudhiya’ roshani. EIIL bid for tenders floated by the authorities and bagged the order.

With so many pilgrims around, sanitation is bound to be an issue — something brands are cashing on. The marketing team of Parryware has gone all out with focused messaging on hoardings, endorsing cleanliness across Prayagraj. The bathroom fixture brand urged individuals to get the Kumbh to a clean start with the tagline ‘Shudh Shuruwat’ and introduce hygiene and cleanliness in their lives and at the holy place.

Welspun India, the home textile maker, has been handing out towels to women to use in the changing rooms. The company is offering 3,000 free trials of Welspun Quik Dry towels every day through its campaign ‘Jaldi Sukhe, Jaldi Sukhaye’ and expects to reach at least 5 lakh people.

HUL’s Hamam marked the brand’s presence by sponsoring ‘women only’ changing rooms at the ghats. But it soon realised that this is not enough as the walk to the changing room in wet sarees after a dip in the river attracted unsolicited attention. Hamam created special sarees that come with a simple layer of waterproofing treatment. This makes it an ideal clothing option for women taking a dip at the Sangam.  

Godrej Consumer Private Ltd, which in the recent past launched many product innovations that are democratising categories such as household insecticide, hair colours and hand wash not only in urban but also in rural and small towns of India, strengthened its connect with pilgrims by creating multiple avenues across the city to drive its proposition. To break away from the brand clutter in the main commercial area of mela, GCPL expanded its activity avenues to hotels across the city. The presence of its products in rooms gives the brand an opportunity of generating a product experience for consumers. The initiative is also promoted through customised branded collaterals like hotel façade branding, reception tent cards and door tags in each room.

On the path leading to snan ghats, GCPL created dedicated brand zones managed by a team of promoters who engage the consumers through brand thematic activities. In one such zone, a wash basin unit was set up where visitors can wash their hands using Godrej Protekt Mr. Magic hand wash. Near the bath ghats, Godrej No.1 and Godrej Nupur Henna increased their visibility at the female changing rooms.

Motorbike brand Bajaj’s new Platina 110 made a difference by providing free rides to thousands of elderly people. The crowd is a navigation nightmare for the elderly pilgrims and Bajaj Platina came to their rescue.

Hindustan Lever’s Red Label tea brand set up innovative tea vending machines, which also double up as waste bins. The machines have built-in sensors and each time a person throws garbage in it, a sensor gets activated and releases a cup of tea from the vending slot.

Luggage brand Aristocrat has introduced an amazing offer of free bag repair and service to the devotees.

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