Companies experiment with games to sell products
Mumbai: Kheloge Toh Jeetoge is an interactive voice response system-based board game that can be played on a basic mobile phone. It was created by PHD Media India to promote products for its client Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL).
Unlike door-to-door marketing, which has become monotonous and costly over time, Kheloge Toh Jeetoge which was started in November 2015 in Nagpur can be used to promote products simultaneously.
The user gives a missed call to a number provided on the game board booklet and receives a call back after which the user presses any key to roll the dice and continues to play the game.
Kheloge Toh Jeetoge was born from the idea that “the best way to sell a product is not to sell it” and uses entertainment to convey the brand message. Popular games such as Snakes and Ladders and Housie are used, depending on how well it fits the brand messaging. In the Snakes and Ladders game, for example, snakes are replaced by germs while ladders are replaced by Domex, a disinfectant brand sold by HUL.
Jude Richard Pinto, who works for PHD Media as a media manager in digital and mobility services, came up with the idea after a field visit to Nagpur. PHD Media, which also counts Volkswagen as a client, is a communications planning and media buying agency.
Mumbai-based Pinto travelled to Nagpur to understand how the target audience, women from middle-income households in the age group of 25-40 years, spend their leisure time. It was found that women love to play games such as Snakes and Ladders and Housie for entertainment.
“We realized that housewives have limited entertainment options. The family’s well-being is her ultimate priority in life and she is dependent on her husband for getting talk-time recharges,” said Pinto. Board games were popular for passing time and at family get-togethers, he added.
PHD Media was a finalist in the media and entertainment category at the mBillionth Awards 2016, organized by the Digital Empowerment Foundation.
For Kheloge Toh Jeetoge, a game board booklet is given to the customer which contains guidelines in Hindi and Marathi on how to play the game.
The user has to simply give a missed call. She will then receive a call back, after which she is instructed to press 1 to roll a dice for the variant of the Snakes and Ladders game. To continue the game, she has to press 1 on the phone’s keypad. For the Quiz Up game, the user presses 1 for the right answer and 2 for wrong.
Currently, three products—Comfort fabric conditioner, Domex and Surf Excel Matic detergent—are promoted through Kheloge Toh Jeetoge.
The games are based on the premise that women have limited entertainment options in the afternoon after completing household chores.
They also don’t have enough money to recharge their mobiles and hence the game is absolutely free.
Since very few people in rural areas have smartphones, the idea was to design the game for basic phones.
While playing the game, a customer receives information regarding the product and when all the games are completed, Rs50 talk time is credited to the phone.
On purchase of the product being promoted, an extra Rs20 talk time is credited. For this, the user has to give a missed call to a number, post which she gets a call back. She then gets an option to enter the bar code of the product purchased. After entering the bar code, the system credits the recharge.
The pilot project, which is currently running in Nagpur, has been successful so far. PHD plans to introduce three new products in the next two-three months and aims to cover south India and the rest of Maharashtra too.
Instructions for the games will be available in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. As Pinto points out, products introduced through these games in south India will depend on what users in that region prefer.
In Nagpur, 88% of housewives approached to participate opted to play the game while 34% completed at least one game and 8.12% completed all four games, according to PHD. The average time spent per game was four minutes, ensuring that the brand messages were delivered and games were interesting enough to keep them engaged.
About 5.58% consumers bought products of which 64.11% bought them within five days of playing the games.
The challenge while making Kheloge Toh Jeetoge was to ensure that users feel connected while playing and they understand the rules of the games.
To develop the games, PHD Media hired the services of VivaConnect, a mobile media company. Technology for this is not that expensive and was readily available, according to Pinto.
Mint has a strategic partnership with Digital Empowerment Foundation, which hosts the Manthan and mBillionth awards.