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Hamam Waterproof Saree

Hamam Waterproof Saree | Unilever | Ogilvy
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basics
Industry: Retail & Distribution
Media:Cyber
Style: Minimalism
descriptioncnen
Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

Hamam’s (soap brand) purpose is helping women #GoSafeOutside by sparking societal change and empowering them with means to counter external aggressors.

At Kumbh Mela 2019, (the world’s largest human religious congregation), women were left vulnerable to unsolicited attention in their wet clinging sarees post the holy dip.

Hamam provided them with a simple yet effective solution - Waterproof Sarees! An ideal clothing option for women devotees taking the holy dip.

Intent was to spark conversations around preserving women’s modesty and empowering them at the Kumbh. Hamam put action to intent by refusing to attach any business angle to this initiative.

Background

Hamam wanted to build equity beyond its home turf, Tamil Nadu (state in South India) where the brand is almost a tradition.
The 2019 Kumbh Mela at Allahabad (North India) was a huge opportunity. For 3 months every 12 years, Kumbh becomes the largest congregation in India where crores of women and men come to take a holy dip and wash away their sins.

However, a bigger sin was being committed. On-ground experiences and soft reports in media spoke about women devotees being crassly objectified.
Even a web search on ‘Women at Kumbh’ shows women in wet, transparent sarees unlike images of men in prayer. Women devotees would speak of unsolicited pictures, ogling and more.

The objective was clear – Help women devotees combat unsolicited attention + drive awareness about their right to be viewed dispassionately at such mass gatherings.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Extending its #GoSafeOutside initiative to the Kumbh 2019, Hamam started by sponsoring women-only changing rooms at the Kumbh, but this wasn’t enough as the cotton / nylon sarees worn by these women would become wet, clingy and transparent during the Holy dip.
The distance from the river bed to the changing rooms, left them vulnerable to unsolicited attention and pictures. Giving away ponchos/raincoats would have been the easiest solution.

But the Kumbh Snan (Holy Dip) is a religious ritual and sarees are integral to tradition and culture for Indian women. Why should a woman compromise her beliefs to counter perverts? This rhetoric was the germ of the idea - India’s (and probably, the world’s) first ever ‘Waterproof Saree’.

A charming yellow saree with an invisible layer of waterproofing that made the fabric aqua phobic i.e. water rolls right off the material leaving it dry even after several dips.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

This idea comes from the core of Brand Hamam itself.
In Tamil Nadu Hamam Soap with its superior skin protection is a household name. Since 2017, millions of women there have experienced Hamam’s #GoSafeOutside movement through school-contact programs, packaging, online videos on Self-Defence and CCTV Billboards.

Hamam was launching its presence in rest of India when Kumbh Mela 2019 was held. Assured of its superior delivery on skin protection, Hamam could have easily sponsored sampling and trials to build business.
But the brand decided to first build brand love in a largely undifferentiated category.

Hamam elevated the meaning of protection and safety beyond skin and body and created a differentiated own-able position.

Using Kumbh as a ‘Big Bang’ platform not only brought the #GoSafeOutside movement alive but also got its most important consumers - women; to experience the brand’s philosophy first hand and when they needed it most.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

Hamam started by sponsoring changing rooms in mid-Jan 2019. Waterproof sarees were conceived later with the realisation for additional protection.

The term ‘Waterproof Sarees’ sounds like an awkward plastic parody. After some hilarious fails, we landed a unique waterproofing solution that was double-coated on polyester blend fabric; turning a regular sari aqua-phobic for several dips and washes. A charming yellow, it looks like any Indian sari armed but with an added layer of protection.
The very source of vulnerability was transformed into a shield, a protest!

It was impossible to match the numbers at Kumbh but given budget and time realities we were able to distribute 5000 sarees. To maximise impact, we distributed the sarees on 4 key dates at the festival where the crowd is 5x a regular day.
Larger the gathering, more the risk – also maximum chances for our on-ground teams to educate people through the saree.

List the results (30% of vote)

Through #GoSafeOutside Hamam wants to raise awareness, kick-start conversations and facilitate solutions.

The Waterproof Sarees don’t just help preserve the modesty of female pilgrims, they also reprimand society to be more respectful and discrete about how they view women. Just as men take the Holy dip without worry, society needs to be just as dispassionate and discrete about how they view women.

Our initiatives inspired the Kumbh authorities to make some serious systematic changes. For the first time, taking pictures of people bathing along the banks became a punishable offence that was strictly enforced.

5000 sarees are a minuscule reach in the millions that thronged Kumbh, but every woman protected, and every man impacted counts for a safer future generation.

The ripple effect was felt in the media coverage in national and regional newspapers and prominent news portals helping us reach over 81.9 million people through this initiative.
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awards
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Live Brand Experience or Activation
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Glass: The Lion for Change
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